Pump Priming Call
The EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems network wishes to fund pump priming activities that aim to deliver impact in robotics and autonomous systems on one or more of the following:
- identifying research gaps and challenges;
- developing scoping projects to explore wider research collaboration;
- devising roadmaps or strategic solutions via:
- the production of white papers;
- organising robotics challenges, workshops, symposia and conferences;
- promoting academia-industry liaison;
- addressing barriers to robotics entrepreneurship in the UK;
- creating public engagement activities, such as:
Please note, the pump priming activities should not undertake academic research directly (for example, research work that leads to academic research papers) – please see EPSRC website for funding opportunities for direct research.
- The future of Sensing and Measurement for robot proving grounds.
Autonomous robotic systems are under development in broad application domains such as inspection/repair of infrastructure, nuclear decommissioning, agriculture and medical devices. There are many unsolved questions around how we can understand, quantify and produce standards for the performance of these devices when operating in artificial ‘test beds’ or in the real world. External or internal sensing technologies can measure aspects of robot performance. But what parameters are key to robot performance? What are the limitations of current sensors for performance measurement? What are new research directions in sensing systems that will transform our understanding of the operation of ‘real world’ autonomous robots?
- Research challenges in remote operation for robot proving grounds.
Measuring and understanding the performance of robots and autonomous systems in the real world is critical to the development of effective, safe, and reliable systems. Robotic proving grounds are physical spaces where robots can be tested in representative real world environments using rigorous experimental protocols. However, travelling to the physical location of proving grounds maybe inconvenient and sometimes impossible. The ability to operate and evaluate RAS remotely would be transformative. But what is the current technological state of the art in this area? What are new research directions to provide the UK with world leading research in this area? What new approaches are required to ensure rigour in experimental methods to drive regulation and meet certification? What are the challenges to maintaining health and safety during remote operation? What are the digital tools that can develop approaches and methods prior to robot deployment? How can access to physical experiments be effectively managed to ensure equal and fair access to all?
We also invite applications for pump priming on any theme /topic that has the potential to deliver impact in RAS.
Each application must include at least one network member organisation and each application requires a minimum of 3 partner institutions; applications that include partners outside the network are encouraged.
Individual applications must not exceed £35k (100% fEC), but we expect applicants to be efficient in the use of resources; so the majority of applications would request significantly less than the upper limit. We ask you bid for the essential resources required to deliver your vision. We hope to allocate up to £140K (100% fEC).
- Applications must include at least three partner institutions, including at least one UK-RAS Network member.
- Individual applications must not exceed £35k (100% fEC).
- Any project activities that link to the Robotics Proving Ground Business Case are expected to provide initial deliverables by the start of June 2022.
- Applications will not be considered where significant overlap exists with existing Strategic Task Groups
- All activities should be costed at 100% fEC and will be awarded at 80% fEC.
- Reasonable administrative support may be requested but we are unable to fund any investigator or research time as part of this call as the projects are not intended to directly deliver research.
- Successful applications will be required to complete a declaration form at the start of the funding period, detailing their planned activities and use of the allocated budget.
- Pump priming groups will be required to provide light touch monthly progress updates to the UK-RAS Network Manager including details of:
- Plans for future events and activities as they develop
- Attendance and outcomes from any events hosted
- Progress on any planned outputs (e.g. White Papers)
- 1 month prior to the end of the funding period, Groups must report any underspend on the grant.
- At the end of the funding period, Groups will be required to complete a one page ‘End of Grant Report’ summarising their achievements and evaluating the project.
Deadline for Applications: Sunday 27th March 2022, 23:59 BST
Applicants will be notified by Friday 1st April 2022.
Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the call.
If you have any queries about the programme or would like to discuss your application, please contact UK-RAS Network Manager, Marianne Knight.
Terms and Conditions
- Successful Groups must acknowledge the UK-RAS Network and the EPSRC and display their respective logos in all publicity and related outputs, both in print and online.