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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S021795/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Autonomous Robotic Systems (FARSCOPE-TU: Towards Ubiquity)
Principal Investigator: Richards, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Pipe, Professor A Rossiter, Professor JM Melhuish, Professor C
Giuliani, Professor M Liu, Professor W
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AECOM Limited (UK) Aimsun Atkins Global (UK)
BT Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL Designability
Five AI Limited National Nuclear Laboratory Network Rail
Ordnance Survey React AI Roke Manor Research Ltd
Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hosp Shadow Robot Company Ltd Test and Verification Solutions Ltd
Thales Ltd Toshiba UK Atomic Energy Authority
University Hospitals Bristol NHS F T
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2028 Value (£): 4,846,104
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Control Engineering
Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel A – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
FARSCOPE-TU (Towards Ubiquity) will train a new generation of "T-shaped roboticists" in the priority area of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). T-shaping means graduates will combine the depth of individual PhD research experience with broad awareness of the priority area, including technical tools and topics spanning multiple disciplines. Breadth will be enhanced by strong understanding of the industrial and societal context in which future RAS will operate. These graduates will meet the need for future innovators in RAS, evidenced by industrial partner demand and growing research investment, to deliver potential UK global leadership in the RAS area. That need spans many applications and technologies, so FARSCOPE-TU adopts a broad and ambitious vision of RAS ubiquity, motivating the research challenge to make RAS that are significantly more interactive with their environments.

The FARSCOPE-TU training experience has been carefully designed to support T-shaping by bringing in students from many disciplines and upskilling them through an integrated programme of individual research and cohort activities, which mix together throughout the four years of study. The FARSCOPE-TU research challenge necessitates multidisciplinary thinking, as the enabling technologies of computer science and engineering interface with questions of psychology, biology, policy, ethics, law and more. Students from this diverse range of backgrounds will be recruited, with reskilling supported through fundamental training and peer learning at the outset. The first year will be organized as a formal programme of study, equivalent to a Masters degree. The remaining three years will focus on PhD research, punctuated by mandatory cohort-based training to refresh first year content and all subject to annual progress monitoring. Topics will include responsible innovation, enterprise, public engagement, and industrial context.

FARSCOPE-TU has formed partnerships with 19 organizations who share its vision, have helped co-create the training programme, and span technologies and applications that align with the CDT's broad interpretation of RAS. Partner engagement will be central to covering industrial context training. Partners and the FARSCOPE-TU team have also co-created a flexible programme of engagement mechanisms, designed to support a diverse set of partner sizes and interests, to allow collaborations to evolve, and to be responsive to potential new partners. The programme includes mentoring, mutual training by and for partners, collaboration on research and industry projects, sponsorship and leveraged funding opportunities. Partners have committed £2.5M in leverage to support FARSCOPE-TU including 15 studentships from the hosts and 12 sponsored places from industry.

FARSCOPE-TU will promote equality, diversity and inclusion both internally and, since the vision includes robots interacting with society, in its research. For example, FARSCOPE-TU could consider how training data bias would affect equality of interaction between humans and home assistance robots. FARSCOPE-TU will instigate a high-profile Single Equality Scheme named "Inclusive Robotics" that combines operational initiatives, including explicit targets, with events and training, linked to responsible innovation and human interaction.

FARSCOPE-TU will deliver a joint PhD award, badged by partners University of Bristol and University of the West of England. The CDT will be run through their established Bristol Robotics Lab partnership, providing over 4,500sqm dedicated RAS laboratory space and a community of over 50 supervisors. BRL's existing FARSCOPE CDT provides the security of a strong track record, with 46 students recruited in four cohorts so far and an approved joint programme. FARSCOPE-TU builds on that experience with a revised first year to support diverse intake and early partner engagement, enhanced contextual training, the new T-shape concept and the wider ubiquity vision.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk