Revolutionising Asset Integrity Management in the offshore energy sector.

The ORCA Hub is a £36M programme aimed at addressing the offshore energy industry's vision for a completely autonomous offshore energy field. 

Launched in October 2017, ORCA Hub is part of the government’s £93m R&D funding on “Robotics and AI for Extreme Environments” through the Industry Strategic Challenge Fund (ISCF). The fund is delivered by UK Research and Innovation, and managed by EPSRC.

Industrial Strategy / UKRI Logo

Led by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh), in collaboration with Imperial College London and the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool, ORCA Hub brings together internationally leading experts with over 30 industry partners to create a multi-disciplinary consortium with unique expertise in:

• Subsea, ground and aerial robotics
• Human-machine Interaction
• Innovative sensors for Non Destructive Evaluation and low-cost sensor networks
• Asset management and certification


EMS was founded in mid-1985 and quickly established itself as the leading supplier of high quality precision small DC motors and linear actuators. We are sole UK distributors for the FAULHABER Group as well as MPS and Piezomotor; manufacturers and suppliers of precision micro-drives, including DC motors; brushless motors; stepper motors; linear motors and associated gearheads and encoders. Complimentary products include iron-core DC motors from KAG, stepper motors and brushed DC motors from Nidec Servo and brushed and brushless gear motors from Nidec Motors & Actuators. In addition we distribute high quality linear actuators and telescopic columns from SKF and Mingardi, used extensively in medical; healthcare; agriculture; building automation and many other industries.

In 1990 we established our own manufacturing facility specialising in the design and manufacture of bespoke drive systems. Growth has been maintained with repeated expansion and capital investment to the point where we now have a modern 3,000m² facility. We have a large capacity machine shop equipped with the latest CNC machine tools and a dedicated gear cutting suite, as well as substantial assembly area. EMS offers design engineers a complete service; our scope of supply stretches from the supply of proprietary motors, gearheads, encoders and actuation systems, right the way through to added value in the way of pinions and wiring looms, to bespoke design and manufacture of complete drive systems to meet your exact applications needs.

RAIN – Robotics and AI in Nuclear Research Hub

The nuclear industry has some of the most extreme environments in the world, with radiation levels and extremely harsh conditions restraining human access to many facilities. To date, robotic systems have had very little impact on the industry, even though it is clear that they offer major opportunities for improving productivity and significantly reducing risks to human health.

The RAIN initiative has been created to address these issues by developing the advanced robotics and artificial intelligence that will be essential for future nuclear operations. Their adoption will have the potential to completely transform the nuclear industry globally.

The reliable, functional robotic systems that are the programme’s goal will also have important applications in other sectors. These will extend beyond extreme environments such as space exploration, in-orbit satellite design, offshore operations and mining to include less challenging areas where RAIN research will be highly relevant, such as healthcare and autonomous vehicles.

The programme’s overall objectives are to lower costs within the nuclear industry, reduce timescales, reduce risk, improve safety, promote remote inspection and reduce the chances of human exposure to radiation and other hazards. Once developed, the technologies that will help to realise these objectives are to form the foundation of a world-leading robotic and AI research and innovation ecosystem.


The Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE) Hub brings together leading experts from academia, industry and governments, and aims at pushing the boundary of AI robotics for future space utilization and exploration. In the immediate term, the Hub will help advance knowledge and technologies in orbital manipulation, extra-terrestrial vehicles, and robotic support for astronaut missions. These directly address technical priorities in the space sector worldwide. In the long term, the Hub will help transfer the field to a new era by achieving long-lived robotic operations in space.

National Centre for Nuclear Robotics (NCNR)

Leading a consortium of eight universities, the NCNR tackles the major challenge of how to safely clean up nuclear waste.

The UK has 4.9 million tonnes of legacy nuclear waste. Cleaning this up is the largest and most complex environmental remediation task in Europe. Much of this work must be carried out by robots because the materials are too hazardous for humans. However, the robotic solutions required just do not yet exist.

The NCNR will be at the forefront of developing these technologies. Its researchers will lead the way in world-leading robotics and AI, and training the next generation of nuclear roboticists. 


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation.

Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.

EPSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. For more information visit UK Research and Innovation.

For more information about what we do, our priorities and how we implement our strategy, please read through our Strategy and Delivery Plan section.

For specific information about the research and training we support, please read through the our portfolio section.

Sheffield Robotics

The world is standing on the verge of a revolution in robotics.  The kind of life-changing innovations we’ve been dreaming about for decades are now only steps away.  Sheffield is taking those steps: through responsible, ethical research, we are pioneering new products and processes that will transform the world by changing manufacturing, healthcare, infrastructure and our understanding of the human condition.

The age of academics working in isolation is over. To make amazing things happen, we have  to work together in teams that cross traditional boundaries.  Our interdisciplinary approach makes us faster, more flexible, and better informed.  Our research involved investigators in every faculty  at both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

We want to give ambitious people a platform to develop their ideas.  We want this revolution to benefit everyone, to drive economic growth, to create jobs and improve lives. Robotics, Autonomy, Artificial Intelligence: all for a better future.

Registration Costs:

Early Bird: £120 (Student: £60)
31st May 2019
Full Price: £155 (Student: £95)
26th June 2019

Showcase Registration