Guidance for Applicants


Application Criteria

  1. Applications should be made by a research group or department within one of the UK-RAS Network member institutions, or by a single EPSRC-funded Hub.
  2. A maximum of two applications per institution (teams applying from the same institution should be from different departments and focus on distinctly different areas of robotics research).
  3. Teams that took part in Robot Lab Live 2021 are eligible to apply, but their demo should be sufficiently developed or different from their 2021 contribution.
  4. Teams must be available to take part in a dress rehearsal on 1st June 2022, and the livestream event on 22nd June 2022. To minimise the likelihood of technical issues on the day, teams that do not take part in the dress rehearsal will not be allowed to move forward to the live event.

Information Webinar

Please watch the recording of our information webinar below for more information about Robot Lab Live 2022. The presentation slides are available to download as a pdf here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a detailed demo plan to apply?

No! You only need to have a starting idea for a demo to submit an application. Successful teams will receive training and help to elaborate on their initial idea and develop a detailed plan for the live demo.

Can more than one team from the same institution apply?

Yes! We will accept up to two applications per institution. Teams must be in different departments and focus on distinctly different areas of robotics research.

Note: If we receive many more high-quality applications than we can accommodate in the live event, our team selection process will aim to maximise representation of different UK-RAS Network members and give priority to Institutions and teams that didn’t take part in 2021.

Is there a maximum team size?

There is no maximum team size, but you’ll want to make sure everyone in your team has a clear role – on or off camera. Don’t forget to include people who can take on behind-the-scenes rolls such as running the livestream, trouble-shooting technical issues or reading out audience comments.

I took part in Robot Lab Live 2021; can I apply again this year?

Yes! We welcome applications from previous Robot Lab Live teams, but please propose a new or improved demo idea this year. We will not consider applications that repeat a 2021 demo verbatim.

Note: If we receive many more high-quality applications than we can accommodate in the live event, priority will be given to Institutions and teams that didn’t take part in 2021.

I don’t have any equipment to livestream; can I still apply?

Yes! The UK-RAS Network will provide equipment to allow you to film and broadcast your demo live – all you need is a stable internet connection.

I’ve never done a livestream before; can I still apply?

Yes! The UK-RAS Network will provide all teams with training and consultation with Dr Steve Cross, public engagement and communication consultant, trainer, and strategist, on how to design, rehearse and deliver a livestream demo to a public audience. We will also provide bespoke advice on how to use the equipment and livestreaming software.

When you finalise your demo details in March, you’ll need to nominate one member of your team to act as the livestream manager – they’ll be responsible for managing what the audience sees by bringing in different camera and audio streams along with comments, banners, and holding slides.

Each member of my research group has a different demo they’d like to show; is that OK?

No. We’re looking for each team to deliver a single, coherent demo focussed on a particular research topic or robot. There may be different aspects of the project you want to highlight in your demo, but each part must clearly link together as part of a larger story.

My demo idea is ambitious and might not work; is that OK?

We welcome unusual and ambitious demo ideas! However, we appreciate it can be frustrating for the audience if nothing in your demo works at all, so we would advise including at least one component that you are confident about.

Where will the live demo take place?

The location you livestream from is up to you – it could be your research lab, a testing facility, or even the middle of a field! You’ll ideally need to find a place that is as quiet as possible to deliver the spoken parts of your demo. If you use a shared research space, you’ll need to ensure that the entire space will be free while the livestream is taking place. Also consider whether you can ensure a stable internet connection from your chosen livestreaming site.

Can two teams livestream from the same research space?

No. It’s really important that the location(s) you choose to livestream from have no other voices competing with the demonstrators’ voices. Robotic noises and normal background noise in your research space is absolutely fine – it can even add to your demo! But other competing voices can make it hard for the audience to hear your presentation, so please ensure the space you choose will be closed to anyone not participating in your demo.

Note: if your chosen location is very noisy, consider whether you can deliver the spoken aspects of your demo from a quieter location and then hand-over to team members who will present the physical demo from the noisy environment.  

How will people be able to watch my demo?

Audience members will watch and engage with your demo via YouTube. Audience members can submit comments, questions, and requests via the YouTube chat functionality (this will be moderated). During the event, all teams’ demos will be livestreaming simultaneously through the UK-RAS Network website and our YouTube channel, and we hope audience members will move between different demos during the 2-hour event.

Can we have visitors interact with the demo in person as well?

No, we’d like our teams to give their YouTube audiences their full attention, so we would ask that you don’t invite an in-person audience as well.

Note: If you’d like to repeat the demo for live audiences again after Robot Lab Live, let us know and we’d love to promote it! (But please don’t perform your demo before the 23rd June!)

Can I pre-record my demo?

No. The Robot Lab Live event is intended to be just that – live! So we are looking for demos that can be delivered live, not pre-recorded content. However, if you have a short video you would like to share with the audience to support or emphasise your live demo, that’s absolutely fine!

Note: all of the dress rehearsals will be recorded to provide a safety net. If you have a serious technical issue on the day, we will play these recordings back in place of your live demo.

You’re asking for 15-minute demos ideas, why is the livestream 2 hours long?

Good question! During the 2-hour livestream, each team will be asked to present their demo 4 times, with 10-15 minutes in between each demo for audience questions (and to take a refreshment break, or to reset the equipment if applicable).

For most teams, the schedule will look something like this:

3.55pm – Start of livestream – holding slide
4.00pm – First presentation of demo
4.15pm – Audience questions / interaction
4.25pm – Break – holding slide
4.30pm – Second presentation of demo
4.45pm – Audience questions / interaction
4.55pm – Break – holding slide
5.05pm – Third presentation of demo
5.20pm – Audience questions / interaction
5.30pm – Break – holding slide
5.35pm – Fourth presentation of demo
5.50pm – Audience questions / interaction
6.00pm – Event ends

We realise that for some highly interactive demos, it makes more sense to run the demo continuously for longer periods of time, so we are open to applications from teams that do not fit this pattern.

The only constraints are that your livestream must begin by 4pm and end no earlier than 5.55pm (and we’d advise you plan at least one break!).

I’d like to run one demo continuously for the 2-hour livestream; is that OK?

Yes! We expect most teams will use the suggested format, however we are open to demo ideas that do not fit this pattern. For example, we understand that some demo ideas work best as a single continuous demo, rather than discrete 15-minute run-throughs. The only constraints are that your livestream must begin by 4pm and end no earlier than 5.55pm, and we’d advise you plan at least one break!)

When would we have to finalise our demo plans?

For your application you need to provide an outline of their demo idea, but we understand these may not be fully formed yet! Successful teams will have six weeks to develop and finalise their demo plans with help from Dr Steve Cross, public engagement and communication consultant, trainer, and strategist.

The deadline to confirm the details of your demo and provide information for promotional materials is 12pm on the 18th March 2022.

When will the equipment arrive?

When teams confirm their demo details in March they will be asked to request the equipment they require from our list. Equipment will then be posted out to teams in April, allowing at least 6 weeks to test it out before the dress rehearsal at the start of June.

You mentioned a filming visit – what’s that all about?

One way in which the UK-RAS Network will promote the live event is with trailer videos – one main trailer for the whole event, and one trailer for each team – filmed by Will Westaway, Creative Director of the RoketHouse film production company. Successful teams will be asked to facilitate a filming visit (approx. 1 hr) in March / April, for Will to capture short interviews with team members and general footage of the team working. These videos will be released in May and June in the run-up to the live event.

How will you promote the event?

The UK-RAS Network will promote Robot Lab Live in the following ways:

  • A dedicated press release
  • Newsletters to our 6000+ mailing list
  • Social media posts to our 7000+ followers
  • An event trailer, released on YouTube and promoted in all of the above. Filmed and edited by Will Westaway, Creative Director of the RoketHouse film production company.
  • A team trailer video for each team, released on YouTube and promoted on social media. Filmed and edited by Will Westaway.

Will we get a chance to review the trailer before it is published?

Yes. Each team will be given the opportunity to watch a draft cut of the main trailer and their individual team trailer and submit revisions prior to publication.

Is the dress rehearsal compulsory?

Yes. It’s important that each team complete their dress rehearsal with Claire Asher on the 1st June to ensure the team is ready for the live event and minimise the chance of technical failures. Unforunately, teams that do not complete a dress rehearsal at least two weeks before the event will not be allowed to move forward with the livestream.

What will the dress rehearsal involve?

Each team has a 20-minute dress rehearsal slot in which to complete one run-through of their 15-minute demo and interact with the private audience (members of the UK-RAS committee). You should deliver your demo exactly as you intend to on the day, and all teams members should be present. The dress rehearsals will be recorded to provide a safety net incase of serious technical problems during the live event.

What time does the livestream start?

Robot Lab Live will take place from 4pm – 6pm on the 22nd June 2022. Teams will be asked to start up their livestream at 3:55pm with a count-down holding slide to allow the audience to build up before the first demo begins at 4pm.

Additional Questions

If your question was not answered above, please contact Karina Zakri Aashamar (k.aashamar@imperial.ac.uk).