Medical Robotics for Contagious Diseases Challenge 2020

The UK-RAS Network is pleased to announce a new Medical Robotics Challenge for Contagious Diseases.

The outbreak of novel coronavirus has sparked a global health crisis and the robotics research and innovation communities form an integral part of our response. 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. In the case of clinical care, areas of specific importance include disease prevention, diagnosis and screening, and patient care and disease management.

The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to galvanize medical robot technologies, as they play an increasingly major role in combating contagious diseases.

This new international challenge is aimed at entries that could offer solutions as part of a multi-faceted response to this and future global pandemics. 

Call for Entries

Given the current crisis we are running this international challenge online.

All applicants are asked to send a 2-minute video demo of their entry. This is to be submitted via the online form on our website.

Key Deadlines

– Submission of video entries:  30th September

– Review and acceptance: 16th October

– Final Video, Presentation & Project Description: 30th October

– Online Presentation and Award Ceremony: TBC

We are aware that some of you may not have access to your laboratories, so we are happy to be flexible. 

Check our FAQs section to see answers to commonly asked questions.

Judging Panel

Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham

Co-Director of IGHI, Professor of Surgery

Imperial College London, UK

Simon Di Maio

Director, Research

Intuitive Surgical, USA

Prof. Russell H. Taylor

John C. Malone Professor

John’s Hopkins University, USA

Dr. Thomas Neff

Manager Software Medical Robotics

KUKA Deutschland  GmbH, De


Does the competition have a particular focus, such as testing, sterilisation or awareness?

There is no special focus – we are looking for any innovation that helps to fight the virus or lessen its impact.

Will entries be judged primarily on execution or innovation?

Entries will be judged on innovation, relevant clinical application, and good engineering practice.

Does the entry have to be an entirely new system, or will adaptations of existing systems be accepted? 

There should be some newly developed aspect to your entry, but it can be based on an existing idea.

Are entries expected to be final working prototypes, or would designs and plans be accepted?

A working prototype is preferable, however given that the Covid-19 outbreak may make construction of a prototype impossible, the judging panel will consider designs and plans.

Do entrants have to be associated with an academic organisation to enter?

Yes. We are happy to accept entries from industry, however these must be in partnership with an academic institution. We ask that the academic partner makes the application to enter.

Can international teams apply?

Yes. We welcome entries from research groups around the world.

Please contact us to discuss any further questions or issues you may have.


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