Bristol Robotics Lab to help train next generation of engineers and scientists

Issue date: 02 December 2013

UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol will be hosting a new joint Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) that will train at least 50 PhD engineering and science students over the next eight years.

The new Centre in Future Autonomous and Robotic Systems, known as FARSCOPE, will be led by Dr Arthur Richards of the University of Bristol and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The new Centre will be based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), an existing joint venture between the two Universities.

UWE project lead Professor Tony Pipe said, “The robotics and autonomous systems sector has been identified as one of the eight great technologies that will drive future growth in the UK. The FARSCOPE Centre will directly address the needs of industry through the delivery of the first generation of innovators trained specifically to work in this sector.

“Through the highest quality teaching, research training and personal mentoring the FARSCOPE Centre will take the brightest young minds and cultivate their innovation, creativity and problem solving skills so that they can, upon graduation, immediately and significantly contribute to UK robotics and autonomous systems research and industry.”

The Centre is one of seventy announced recently by the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts. The Centres will be funded by a £350 million investment from the EPSRC to train tomorrow's engineers and scientists, targeted at areas vital to economic growth. The funding is spread over 24 UK universities and will train over 3,500 postgraduate students.

David Willetts said, “Scientists and engineers are vital to our economy and society. It is their talent and imagination, as well as their knowledge and skills that inspire innovation and drive growth across a range of sectors, from manufacturing to financial services.

“I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.”

Professor Chris Melhuish, director of BRL said, “This is a major achievement and we welcome this strategic partnership with the University of Bristol. Much of the activity around this new CDT will take place at BRL.

“In future, robots and autonomous systems will be more involved in our lives. They will support our independence as we age, work closely alongside us, and operate in emergency situations while we keep safely away. These new roles demand much more intelligent interaction between robots and their surroundings and people. In short, they must be more adaptable, and this is the theme of the FARSCOPE CDT.”

More information on the FARSCOPE programme can be found on the BRL website.

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