The National Robotarium has marked a major milestone with the appointment of its first chief executive officer.
Stewart Miller, former chief technology officer at Innovate UK, has been confirmed as chief executive and brings with him a wealth of experience in aerospace technology development.
In his new role, Miller will be tasked with building the National Robotarium into a globally recognised centre of excellence for AI and Robotics, working directly with business to accelerate innovation and drive value from the centre’s research.
The National Robotarium, a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, is one of five innovation hubs supported by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.
Commenting on the appointment, Miller said: “It’s a huge honour to take up this role, helping set the direction of the National Robotarium which has enormous potential to transform lives.
“It is clear to me that this role presents an extraordinary opportunity to build productive global partnerships, creating economic, environmental and societal benefits.
“I look forward to working with research teams, students, and partners across industries and governments as we grow the National Robotarium’s influence and impact.”
Miller’s appointment comes after the UK Government’s Innovation Strategy identified Robotics and AI as two critical ‘technologies of the future’.
The market for Robotics and Autonomous Systems is forecast to reach almost £3.5 billion by 2030.
The development of the National Robotarium will help position Scotland as a world leading centre for innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework.
Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “I offer my warmest congratulations to Stewart Miller on being appointed to this exciting role. His extensive experience of both the public and private sectors will be a real asset to the National Robotarium, and have a direct impact on our world-leading manufacturing industries.”
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A host of National Robotarium research projects are already underway. Last year, researchers launched the world’s first remote access assisted living lab to develop smart tech solutions for vulnerable people.
Research exploring work in hazardous environments is also gathering pace, with projects ranging from self-building robotic scaffolding to aid nuclear decommissioning and disaster recovery to the use of SPOT robots, created by US-based company Boston Dynamics, which will be deployed on construction sites to improve safety and efficiency.
Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, commented: “Stewart’s appointment is a significant moment as we drive forward our collective research and education strengths to lead innovation in this area and to ensure, working with partners, we catalyse the talent pipeline needed to serve this fast-growing sector.”