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The design of supplementary damping controllers to mitigate the effects of electromechanical oscillations in power systems is a highly complex and time-consuming process, which requires a significant amount of knowledge from the part of the designer. In this study, the authors propose an automatic technique that takes the burden of tuning the controller parameters away from the power engineer and places it on the computer. Unlike other approaches that do the same based on robust control theories or evolutionary computing techniques, our proposed procedure uses an optimisation algorithm that works over a formulation of the classical tuning problem in terms of bilinear matrix inequalities. Using this formulation, it is possible to apply linear matrix inequality solvers to find a solution to the tuning problem via an iterative process, with the advantage that these solvers are widely available and have well-known convergence properties. The proposed algorithm is applied to tune the parameters of supplementary controllers for thyristor controlled series capacitors placed in the New England/New York benchmark test system, aiming at the improvement of the damping factor of inter-area modes, under several different operating conditions. The results of the linear analysis are validated by non-linear simulation and demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed procedure.