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The paper describes a new tool for the design of robust control systems for HVDC and FACTS controllers that combines electromagnetic transient simulation with a nonlinear optimization algorithm. The design objectives are formulated into an optimization objective function, whose minimization yields an optimized parameter set. The paper applies the method to the controller design for a 200 MW back-to-back HVDC system connected to a weak AC network. Parameters are selected to ensure acceptable transient response over the full range of operation for network configurations with widely varying short circuit ratios.