Statement from the Chairman about Covid-19

Statement from the Chairman about Covid-19

Dear UK robotics researchers and industrialists,

These are challenging and unprecedented times for all of society in the UK and indeed the world. The ongoing coronavirus crisis has significantly impacted upon our research and innovation communities and this will continue over the coming months. Within the UK, we have made the right decision to postpone or cancel many of the exciting and inspiring robotics events we have worked hard to create. Many of us, for the time being, cannot access our research labs with our teams geographically separated, in some cases now in different countries.

The outbreak of novel coronavirus has sparked a global health crisis and the research and innovation communities form an integral part of our response. This is the time when we all need to come together, utilising our collective wisdom in our battle with this epidemic. Now more than ever, it is evident that robotics has a key role to play. Across the world, robots and drones are being repurposed and deployed as part of the COVID-19 response. There are robots disinfecting hospitals; automated systems supporting the testing of millions of people quickly and reliably; robots undertaking infection control and operating on patients; and robotic platforms delivering medical supplies and food to the most vulnerable.

The strength of the UK robotics community is demonstrated in the crucial response to these challenges and many others facing society. We will find new ways of working to bring our world-class research forward to make a difference. The UK-RAS network will support these endeavours in anyway it can, and we would be delighted to promote new online initiatives and activities. Please let us know how we can help you.

Personally, and on behalf of the UK-RAS network, I wish you all to stay safe and well and find ways to overcome these challenges. I look forward to spending time with you virtually and in person in the future.

With best wishes,

Prof Robert Richardson
Chair of the EPSRC UK-RAS Network