School of Informatics

New Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

University experts have met to mark the launch of a new Centre aimed at developing the next generation of robots.

Researchers, students and representatives from industry gathered at the opening of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

The collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University brings together dozens of scientists and engineers from both institutions, together with about 40 partners from industry.

The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics aims to help the country realise its industrial potential by producing a new generation of highly skilled researchers … to create and lead the UK’s innovation pipeline. This will be supported through a major EPSRC investment in world class infrastructure and robotic platforms.

Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, FRSEDirector of the Centre and Professor of Robotics at the University of Edinburgh

The Centre will seek to develop robotics expertise for a range of markets. These will include defense, renewable energy, healthcare and assisted living, oil and gas, transport, and manufacturing.

The launch event included a keynote lecture by Professor Andrew Blake, Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research, who outlined some of the current challenges and areas of interest in robotics. This was followed by an introduction to the Centre’s

The Centre and its Doctoral Training programme were funded by a total of £13.2 million from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, combined with industry support.

Robots acting independently of human control, robots which can learn, adapt and take decisions, will revolutionise our economy and society over the next 20 years.

Professor David Lane, FREng FRSECo- Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering at Heriot-Watt University

The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics harnesses the potential of 30 world leading investigators from 12 cross disciplinary research groups and Institutes across the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences and The Department of Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University and the Schools of Informatics and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

The Centre’s research focuses on the interactions amongst robots, people, environments and autonomous systems, designed and integrated for different applications, scales and modalities. We aim to apply fundamental theoretical methods to real-world problems on real robots solving pressing commercial and societal needs.

By supporting the training of new academic talent and providing the right environment and tools needed to drive progress in this exciting field, EPSRC, and our industrial partners, are helping Robotics and Autonomous Systems to flourish and deliver the benefits it promises as one of the eight great technologies.

Professor Philip Nelson FREngEPSRC's Chief Executive

The Robotarium was funded £7.2m from the EPSRC and industry capital.

The Centre also offers a four year PhD programme through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. An individually tailored MRes course and project portfolio provides a strong general grounding in current theory, methods and applications, followed by three years of specialised PhD research with additional training in creativity, ethics and enterprise skills. The CDT was funded by £6m from the EPSRC and by £9m in cash and in-kind contributions from almost 30 industry supporters.

Fantastic centres like this show how our world-class universities are helping to secure economic growth. The Government funding will help bridge the gap between research and production. Not only does this help keep Britain at the forefront of international research, but it lays the foundations for high-tech job creation across the UK.

Greg ClarkUniversities and Science Minister