Supergen ORE HUb and ORCA logos with EPSRC and UKRI logo

Workshop details

  • Date: 23rd February 2021
  • Time: 14:00 – 16:30 (GMT)
  • Location: Online Zoom meeting (the link and password to the online workshop will be made available only to those delegates who have completed the Well-Sorted survey. This will be sent on 11th February 2021).

Registrations will be limited to ensure effective discussions and collaborations can be made during breakout room sessions.


Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) are one of the fastest engineering developments, driven by increased capabilities in machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensing and remote operating capabilities. There is great potential for the Offshore Renewable Energy sector to reduce both human exposure risk and cost if technologies are suitably tailored and integrated into current and future practices. There are isolated examples (e.g. use of drones for blade inspection; autonomous seabed surveys), but there is large potential for future applications.

Current and future research challenges for RAS in the sector span a range of disciplines. The Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub and the ORCA Hub have come together to hold a virtual cross-discipline workshop, bringing together Academics, Researchers, Practitioners and companies to explore the common challenges, synergies and opportunities with a goal to achieving step changes towards fully automated offshore renewable energy field; operated, inspected and maintained from the safety of onshore. More information regarding the Hubs involved can be found at the end of this webpage.

The scope of this workshop will examine the gaps that exist within current robotic systems used offshore as well gaps in current research and development that will help realise the full potential of robotics in this environment. The workshop will draw on the full range of expertise and benefit from synergies within the cross-disciplined group of attendees. See links below to find out more regarding each Hub’s expertise.

Competitive seedcorn funding will be made available to fund specific projects seeking solutions and pathways for the prioritised challenges identified within the cross-discipline workshop. The intention is to fund cross-discipline collaborations that carry out feasibility projects to enable new and adventurous research, ultimately leading to further grant applications through existing funding bodies.

A total of £30,000 is available to fund up to three feasibility projects resulting from this workshop. Further details regarding the funding and the process for applying for seedcorn funding will be made available during and after the workshop. However, applications to the seedcorn funding must be led by a UKRI eligible researcher, and any proposal must include an attendee, either as Principal or Co-Investigator. Further details will be made available in the seedcorn funding call document.

Workshop registration and process for submitting research topics for discussion

We are using the online platform, Well Sorted, to facilitate both the scope and submission of topics in advance of the workshop. All workshop attendees must complete a Well-sorted submission in order to be eligible to attend and subsequently submit a proposal to the seedcorn funding. This will enable topic ideas to be submitted and prioritised by delegates in advance, so that the workshop can be split into relevant breakout rooms by topic theme with a focus on further developing topic ideas and identifying potential collaborators.

To enable this to happen delegates are required to follow a 2-step process (which must be completed in the order provided below):

Step 1

Each delegate to submit a maximum of two ideas/ topics within well-sorted that are of importance for this workshop theme, highlighting where you can offer either expertise from your particular research area, or where you see research expertise being required from another area, particularly through either of the other Hub disciplines.

To submit your two ideas/topics you can access the Well-Sorted survey here:

You will be able to provide a topic title and a descriptor outlining each idea, your expertise and where you feel cross-discipline collaboration would be beneficial (A word limit will be imposed so please be concise in your submissions)

Step 2

The survey for topics / ideas within Well Sorted will close at 5pm (GMT) on Wednesday 10th February 2021. Following this you will receive an email to request you log back into the survey in order to provide your ranking/prioritisation of the topics submitted by you and other delegates. Once logged into Well-Sorted, you will able to see all submitted items for sorting. Instructions on how to rank/prioritise topics can be found on the Well Sorted website. These will also be included in the email request to you. The deadline for sorting the topics is 5pm (GMT) Wednesday 17th February 2021.

Once all of the submitted topics have been ranked/prioritised the Well-Sorted software will automatically produce a suggested grouping of topics which, following review by the Hub programmes to ensure an even number of delegates/expertise per topic area, will form the basis of the breakout rooms in the Workshop held on Tuesday 23rd February 2021 at 2pm (GMT)

Once the Well Sorted survey is completed and you have submitted your ideas (as per Step 1 above), you will be sent the Zoom webinar calendar invite with the relevant meeting link to join the workshop on 23rd February 2021 at 2pm (GMT)

Workshop Agenda

23 February 2021 – 2pm to 4.30pm (Conducted via Zoom)

  • 14:00: Welcome & overview
  • 14:05: An introduction/scene-setting through a Hub representative / company / invited speaker
  • 14:25: Brief review of well-sorted topic groupings and allocation to breakout discussion topics/rooms
  • 14:35: Moderated Breakout rooms – Personal introductions & initial discussion of challenge topic ideas submitted by breakout room delegates (Number and automatic allocation of breakout rooms will be made clear during the workshop)
  • 15.20: Comfort Break
  • 15:30: Moderated Breakout Rooms 2 – Developing ‘Topic sketch’ ideas further – looking for cross-discipline collaborations and development of topic sketch ideas.
  • 16:10: Plenum session – High level feedback on discussions from each breakout room to all delegates
  • 16:20: Briefing further steps and proposal applications / funding process
  • 16:30: Summary and Close

The workshop plenum sessions will be recorded for audit purposes. Delegates will be requested to indicate if they agree to share their contact information with all other delegates attending the workshop. This is to ensure that discussions and development of feasibility projects can continue post-workshop.

About the workshop organisers

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub

The Supergen ORE Hub is a £9m research consortium which looks for synergies between wind, wave and tidal technologies, and builds on current research in each area. It is one of three Hubs and two Networks funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) designed to deliver sustained and coordinated research on sustainable power generation and supply. The University of Plymouth leads the Supergen ORE Hub, with Co-Directors from the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, Strathclyde, and Warwick.

Find out more about the Supergen ORE Hub including an overview of the Hub expertise.


The Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) hub is 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. In early 2020 an additional 8 institutes joined the Hub through our Partnership resource Fund projects (University of York, National Oceanography Centre, University of Exeter, Edinburgh Napier University, Newcastle University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Glasgow and University College London) 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.

Find out more about the ORCA Hub

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