The University's global campaign 'Year of Robotics 2017' has been shortlisted for two major awards. In the Heist Awards, Heriot-Watt has been shortlisted for 'Marketing Initiative to Promote Research Excellence' and in the Herald Higher Education Awards, the yearlong celebration is one of three finalists for the coveted title of 'Campaign of the Year'.
Highlighting the University's contribution to the development of robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Year of Robotics spanned schools, the public, academia, industry collaborators, funders and policy makers. Involving academics, professional services staff and students from all five campuses, Year of Robotics allowed Heriot-Watt to communicate its world-leading expertise to a global audience.
Capitalising on major dates including the European Robotics Forum, a full calendar of public engagement events was created while inaugural lectures, debates and open days were given a robotic theme. From two highly successful parliamentary receptions to transporting robots to surprising locations ranging from BBC's Carfest to Ikea, the campaign reached more than 25 million people through media coverage. 13,000 members of the public were engaged with face to face and over 40 MSPs, MPs and peers met a robot in person. 150 industry representatives participated in Year of Robotics with 1,800 school pupils visiting Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh campus to enjoy taster sessions and robotic themed workshops.
Pepper, one of the University's humanoid robots, helped to present an episode of Blue Peter, introducing thousands of children across the UK to social interaction robotics while answering their questions on the CBBC website.
The campaign also supported several major funding successes including the launch of the ORCA hub, a £36m collaboration between five universities and 31 industry partners to develop offshore energy robotics, A.I. research and innovation.
“Our incredibly committed staff and students travelled the length and breadth of the country to bring people face-to-face with robots; demonstrating how they can revolutionise manufacturing, healthcare, offshore energy, construction, environmental monitoring and defence, with an approach sensitive to the social implications of the technology.”
This year, the University is celebrating its Year of the Sea 2018, offering many opportunities for individuals of all ages to get involved.