Industry engagement with control research: Perspective and messages

Tariq Samad, Margret Bauer, Scott Bortoff, Stefano Di Cairano, Lorenzo Fagiano, Peter Fogh Odgaard, R. Russell Rhinehart, Ricardo Sánchez-Peña, Atanas Serbezov, Finn Ankersen, Philippe Goupil, Benyamin Grosman, Marcel Heertjes, Iven Mareels, Raye Sosseh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite the enormous benefit that has accrued to society from control technology and the continued vitality of control science as a research field, there is broad consensus that the practitioners of control and the academic research community are insufficiently engaged with each other. We explore this concern with reference to the oft-cited theory/practice gap but also from an industry perspective. The core of this article is comprised of ten “messages,” intended primarily for researchers interested in the practical impact of their work, that we hope shed insight on the industry mindset. Results from surveys and other data are cited to underpin the points. Some educational synergies between industry and academia are also noted. To highlight the continuing relevance of control science to industry, several recent examples of successful, deployed advanced control solutions are presented. The authors of this article are members of the IFAC Industry Committee, formally established in 2017 with objectives that include (per the updated IFAC Constitution) “increasing industry participation in and impact from IFAC activities.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAnnual Reviews in Control
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Katharina Willixhofer of the IFAC Secretariat for her invaluable assistance to the Industry Committee, including with surveys and compiling data for this article. Our thanks are also due to many other members of the Industry Committee who provided comments: Daniel Abramovitch, Ankur Ganguli, Carlos Guardiola, Vladimir Havlena, Arthur Kordon, Zdzis?aw Kowalczuk, Michael Lees, Bran Selic, Takashi Yamaguchi, and Georg Weichart. We also acknowledge the help of the members of the Industry Committee's Executive Subcommittee?within which group additional discussions about this article occurred?who are not listed as authors: Kevin Brooks, Roger Goodall, Steve Kahne, Silvia Mastellone, Carlos Pereira, and Alex van Delft. Comments from an anonymous reviewer helped improve this article. Finally, the first author would like to thank Rolf Findeisen, for an advance count of the 2020 World Congress accepted papers for Fig. 1, and Fran?oise Lamnabhi-Lagarrigue for suggesting this article and for providing valuable feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Advanced control
  • Aerospace control
  • Automotive control
  • Biomedical control
  • Control education
  • IFAC Industry Committee
  • Industrial applications
  • Process control
  • Theory/practice gap

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