Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Hub bids invited through to next round

Supplementary content information

Eight bids to establish research Hubs to drive and accelerate the translation of fundamental science in robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems for use in extreme and challenging environments, have been invited to prepare full proposals.

A call for expressions of interest in establishing up to four use-inspired Hubs took place earlier this year.

The Hubs form part of a programme to develop robotics and AI that can be deployed in extreme environments, that has been identified as a key area of the Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF is a strategic element of the Government's Industrial Strategy that aims to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the best places in the world for research and innovation.

The Government has committed £93 million of funding for the robotics and AI in extreme environments programme through the ISCF, which was announced in the Budget of April 2017.

A key element of this investment is the £42 million research Hub competition, which is being managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

EPSRC recently invited expressions of interest from the research community which were assessed by an international panel of experts. Eight bids have been invited to prepare a full proposal by 24 August 2017.

Hubs will develop robotic solutions to enable safer working environments in the thematic areas of off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining, and open up new cross disciplinary opportunities which are not currently available.

As a strategic investment these will be national Hubs delivering internationally leading research and we would encourage any potential partners to contact the relevant bid directors directly to discuss opportunities as they develop their full proposals.

Summaries of the bids invited to prepare full proposals:

(Projects are listed alphabetically by Principal Investigator's surname)

PI Institution Title
Prof Yang Gao University of Surrey Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE)
Dr Mirko Kovac Imperial College London The UK HERO Hub, the UK Hub for Hazardous Environments
Prof David Lane Heriot-Watt UK Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Hub for Offshore Energy Asset Integrity Management
Prof Barry Lennox University of Manchester Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN)
Prof Matthew Mowlem National Oceanography Centre The Aquarius Hub - Robotic Capability in Extreme Aquatic Environments
Prof Samia Nefti-Meziani University of Salford National Hub in Resilient and Intelligent Robotics for the Nuclear Sector (NURIR)
Dr Tracy Shimmield British Geographical Survey The UK Deep-Sea Mining RAI Research and Innovation Hub
Prof Rustam Stolkin University of Birmingham National Centre for Nuclear Robotics (NCNR)

Reference: PN 42-17