Robotics centre opens

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

Photo of Sethu Vijayakumar, Professor of Robotics

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.

Postgraduate training

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 VijayakumarSchool of Informatics

Alongside a facility for robotics research and knowledge exchange, the collaboration will support a Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

This will enable talented graduates to pursue postgraduate studies, combining their university-based research with input from industrial partners.

The Centre will seek to develop robotics expertise for a range of markets.

These will include renewable energy, healthcare and assisted living, transport, and manufacturing.

Sector challenges

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

Professor David LaneHeriot-Watt University

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.

The Centre’s co-directors, Professor David Lane, Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, and Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Professor of Robotics at the University of Edinburgh, also spoke at the launch.

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.

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 NelsonChief Executive, Engineering and Physical Science Research Council

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