The EPSRC UK-RAS Network has been developed to pull together the UK’s core academic capabilities in robotics; encouraging academic and industrial collaboration that will accelerate the development and adoption of robotics and autonomous systems inline with the RAS2020 roadmap.
The UK-RAS Network was unveiled on the 24th of June and has already fostered sizable traction and strong support from major industrial partners – The Royal Academy of Engineering, IET and the institution of Mechanical Engineers to name a few. The network is expected to expand rapidly over 2015 to include a broader range of stakeholders including key national labs in the UK as well as leading international collaborators in both academia and industry.
Commenting on the launch, science minister, Jo Johnson said: “Robotics and autonomous systems have huge growth potential for the UK as one of our Eight Great Technologies. To get it right we need to draw on the expertise of the UK’s research base and the ambition of industry. By working collaboratively, this network will only help to accelerate growth of a high-tech sector and pave the way for new high-value, skilled jobs – a win-win scenario for the UK.”
Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, director and co-founder of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery at Imperial College London and chairman of the UK-RAS Network commented: “Robotics and Autonomous Systems are set to play an increasing vital role in the growth of the UK economy across all sectors of industry, from transport and healthcare to manufacturing and unmanned systems. This dedicated network provides a focus for the UK’s research and engineering excellence for the first time, ensuring that the UK can maintain its competitive edge in RAS innovation.”
The engineering and physical sciences research council is the funding body behind the UK-RAS network, developing a clear vision and strategy that acts on the shortcomings in the robotics industry outlined by the RAS2020 special interest group:
- To provide academic leadership in UK robotics and autonomous systems.
- Create collaborative partnerships between industry and academia.
- And to facilitate activities at eight EPSRC funded RAS centers across the UK.
Kedar Pandya, head of the Engineering Theme for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: “Robotics and Autonomous Systems are one of the Eight Great Technologies in which the UK is set to be a global leader, and the technology being developed at these EPSRC-funded RAS facilities will deliver a significant impact on the research landscape, and attract the kind of industrial investment that will maximise the UK’s stake in the worldwide robotics market.”
The Network has a wide range of activities planned, including networking and strategic roadmap events such as the UK Robotics conference, symposia and focused workshops, public engagement and exhibitions.
For Tharsus the formation, development and projected growth of this special interest group is great news as we move towards strengthening our foothold in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems market through building strategic collaborative partnerships with pioneering academics and other like-minded industry specialists.
The founding network members are Imperial College London, Bristol Robotics Lab, University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Loughborough University, University of Oxford, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University College London, and University of Warwick.