Professor David Howard

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Professor David Howard

Contact Details

New SEE Building - Room 03.22

Please email for an appointment.

Current positions

Professor of Biomedical Engineering


I am a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and have been a research lead in the engineering aspects of Human Movement and Rehabilitation for over 20 years. My work is inter-disciplinary and I have led successful international research with colleagues in the School of Health & Society. With Prof Laurence Kenney, I lead work on the functional electrical stimulation (FES) of muscles for those with partial paralysis following neurological damage after, for example, a stroke. My research also includes work on prosthetics for both upper-limb and lower-limb amputees, in close collaboration with Dr John Head, Dr Martin Twiste and Prof Kenney. I also work closely with Dr Sibylle Thies and Prof Kenney on the biomechanics of walking aids.

I began my career as an Engineering Apprentice with Hawker Siddeley Aviation and then with Lawrence, Scott and Electromotors, who later sponsored my undergraduate studies. I graduated in 1980 with first class honours in Mechanical and Production Engineering from Brunel University. After graduating, I worked as a Control Engineer with ICI Plastics, and then as a Research Officer at the University of Bath, developing control systems for advanced Diesel engines, and completing my PhD in 1987.  I then worked as a Systems and Control Engineer with the Water Research Centre, undertaking research on the automatic control and management of water distribution networks. In 1989, I moved to an academic appointment at the University of Salford and, up until the mid-1990s, my research interests were in the areas of robotics, theoretical mechanics and design. However, since then, I have focused on Biomedical Engineering and Biomechanics as described above.


Areas of research

Biomedical Engineering, Rehabilitation Technologies, Prosthetics, Biomechanics, Human Movement

Areas of supervision

Biomedical Engineering, Rehabilitation Technologies, Prosthetics, Biomechanics, Human Movement


  • Dynamics
  • Control and Automation
  • Robotics
  • Design

Research Interests

  • Functional electrical stimulation (FES) of muscles for those with partial paralysis
  • Prosthetics for upper-limb and lower-limb amputees
  • Biomechanics of the foot and lower limb
  • Computational modelling of neuro-musculo-skeletal systems
  • Gait simulation in the design of assistive devices (e.g. prostheses)
  • Real-world monitoring of patients using assistive devices

Qualifications and Memberships

  • BSc Mechanical and Production Engineering, 1st class honours, Brunel University.
  • PhD Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, “The Design of Control Systems for Diesel Engines”.
  • Chartered Engineer, Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.