About Us

Co-Chairs

David Lane

Entrepreneur and founding director of Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

Professor and Founding Director in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, a £120M joint venture between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities training 100 PhDs in the EPSRC ROBOTARIUM national equipment facility. Previously he established Heriot-Watt’s Ocean Systems Laboratory with an international reputation in marine robotics, publishing nearly 300 cited publications with international funding from the UK, EU, US and Japan.  
Alongside being a ‘serial entrepreneur’ David sits on a range of advisory boards and has been elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Institution of Engineering and Technology, Society of Underwater Technology and Royal Geographical Society. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to Engineering in the 2016 Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Paul Clarke

CTO, Ocado

Chief Technology Officer at Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer. Ocado Technology, with its 1,300 software engineers and other IT specialists, is responsible for building all the software and IT infrastructure that powers Ocado’s end-to-end e-commerce, fulfilment and logistics platform. 
Paul read Physics at Oxford University and has worked in software engineering, consultancy, interim management and a number of software start-ups. In what little spare time he has alongside his work and family, Paul loves to invent and build stuff, design printed circuit boards, write software and generally tinker.  

Members

David Bisset

Robotics consultant

Career roboticist, Chair of KTN’s RAI SIG Advisory Board since 2015. Co-author of 2014 RAS strategy. Formerly head of mobile robotics research at the University of Kent. With Dyson 1998-2002 before setting up as a consultant in robotics and embedded systems, assistive technology and technology transfer. Regular speaker and leader of European robotics programmes (EUROP, Horizon 2020, SPARC, RockEU and RockEU2). Co-author of authoritative 2018 RAS Foresight report for Lloyds Register Foundation.

Rob Buckingham


RACE, UKAEA

Director of the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Culham and Head of the testing and handling facility for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments. Co-chair of the RAS Special Interest Group that developed the 2014 UK RAS strategy. Rob co-founded OC Robotics in 1997 and led commercialisation of snake-arm robots for confined and hazardous spaces. OC Robotics won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for the LaserSnake programme. Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, IET and Visiting Professor at University of Manchester.

Sabine Hauert


Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Robohub

Senior Lecturer at University of Bristol, specialising in swarm intelligence, robotics, nanomedicine and cancer. Founder of Robohub not-for-profit international robotics collaboration network and Hauert lab on swarm engineering. Her work has featured in BBC, CNN, Guardian, Economist, TEDx, Wired and New Scientist.
Previously worked in the USA at MIT and Carnegie Mellon and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

James Kell

Rolls Royce

Robotics innovator, tech specialist and industrial end user. James’ expertise spans across technology applications, advocating and developing new technologies for real world application. He is a regular collaborator across academia and business community, including with the National Robotics Network, and recently leading a collaboration with Nottingham University and other parties to rethink maintenance solutions and developed remote repair tools, swarm technologies and snake robots.

Samia Nefti-Meziani

Salford University and National Robotics Network

Academic and media thought leader. Director of the Centre for Autonomous Systems and Advanced Robotics at Salford University, developing practical tools for applications in Nuclear, Food, Health and Aerospace. Runs a number large UK and European research programmes, regularly appears on TV and radio and published extensively. Cofounder of the Northern (now National) Robotics Network.

Paul Newman

Oxford Robotics Institute – Oxbotica Ltd

Academic, technologist and entrepreneur. Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute, Founder of Oxbotica and BP Professor of Information Engineering at Oxford University. Leading thinker in robotic spatial awareness. Published over 200 papers and continues to extend the reach and endurance of mobile robotics. Oxbotica is a fast growing autonomy company based in the UK which raised £14m in 2018 that supplies autonomy software to vehicle manufactures around the world.

Rob Richardson

Leeds University – Head of RAS Network

Academic and network owner. Director of Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation and Director of £4m Leeds University robotics facility. Current focus on surgical, wellbeing, safety and security applications. Former UK MOD Grand Challenge finalist 2008 and won prizes for use of robotic technology in Great Pyramid discover in Giza in 2011. Took over as head of RAS Network in 2019.
Professor of Robotics and a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Julia Sutcliffe

BAE Systems

Technology developer end user. Chief Technologist and Head of Engineering Strategy. Numerous technical and leadership roles since joining BAE in 1996. Leads collaborations across disciplines, such as with Williams Advanced Engineering, Reaction Engines and SMEs to develop new solutions in cockpit design and flight simulation, hypersonic rockets, and solar powered air vehicles.
Active in supporting STEM skills and women in engineering.

Rebecca Weston

Sellafield

Technology developer and end user. COO of Sellafield, responsible for overall delivery and performance one of the world’s most complex nuclear and industrial sites, employing over 10,000 staff. Role includes all aspects of retrieval and legacy clean-up, spent fuel and special nuclear material management, as well as nuclear waste management, decommissioning and remediation. She has leadership experience across large and small manufacturing. Chartered Physicist and Engineer, MBA and non-executive and volunteer roles across a range of economic development and learning orgs, including the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

Elaine Whyte

PA Consulting

Driven to accelerate technology advancements that impact positively on society, Elaine is a thought leader in RAS application for business and is focused on rapidly pulling technology from R&D through into the users hands. Having served for 20 years in the Royal Air Force as an aerospace engineer, Elaine began her journey with RAS by taking drones to business and identifying how aerial collected data could support them in making better decisions. Now a consultant with PA Consulting where the purpose, bringing ingenuity to life to build a positive human future, is at the heart of what Elaine aspires to deliver.    

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