University of Lincoln Awarded EPSRC funding to Improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the Research Sector

The University of Lincoln has been awarded £509,901 funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within engineering and physical sciences.

The project forms part of a broader programme of eleven projects within EPSRC’s Inclusion Matters initiative, launched as part of the collective approach by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to promote EDI.

The Advanced Strategic Platform for Inclusive Research Environments (ASPIRE) project will take place at the University of Lincoln’s Eleanor Glanville Centre, a dedicated EDI unit. It will offer an innovative approach to improving EDI within the sector, with a primary focus on long term behavioural and cultural change.

The project will draw together expertise from academics from across the University’s Schools of Chemistry, Social and Political Sciences, Computer Science and the Research and Enterprise Office. It will develop an evidence-based online toolkit to connect best practice with improved ways to measure, monitor and implement EDI initiatives for maximum impact.

The project is being run by the University of Lincoln in collaboration with Vitae, Oxford Brookes University, the Lisbon Council, Emerald Publishing, University of Sheffield, University of Kent University of Trento, Aston University, Coventry University and Towards Vision.

Professor Belinda Colston, ASPIRE Programme Director, said: The research sector has been striving for fully inclusive environments in science and engineering related disciplines for over 30 years. Despite substantial investment, however, broad under-representation and inequalities are still widespread. Reasons for this are complex and often system-wide, but ultimately reflect deep-rooted cultures and attitudes in the workplace.

“ASPIRE will develop a new and more comprehensive impact framework to extend simple metrics-based evaluation and measure genuine and meaningful changes in ED&I attitude and behaviour.”

Vicky Williams, CEO of Emerald Publishing, added: “We are excited to play a role in this project, both from the perspective of Emerald’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity in the workplace as well as our role as a publisher participating and communicating the results of international research collaborations.

“We established an internal group, called STRIDE, in 2015 to create positive change in the inclusivity and diverse leadership of the company. We will be using STRIDE to pilot the ASPIRE platform and really embed change. This tangible action is in line with our mission to support the real impact of research.”

Speaking of the wider Inclusion Matters initiative, Professor Jennifer Rubin, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Executive Champion for equality, diversity and inclusion, said: “UK Research and Innovation is committed to furthering equality, diversity and inclusion for both our staff and for the research and innovation sector more widely.

“The Inclusion Matters initiative illustrates the ambitious, evidence-based approach that we will take across UKRI to strengthen equality, diversity and inclusion across the sector.”

The ASPIRE project will begin in late 2018 and runs for three years.

New App Brings Lincolnshire’s Iconic Vulcan Back to the Skies

Bomber County’s iconic Vulcan Bomber will return to the skies over Lincolnshire this weekend (11th– 12th August) in an augmented reality app as part of the city of Lincoln’s RAF100 celebrations.

In addition to the various activities taking place, which will include aviation displays and a fireworks display on the Brayford, those celebrating the RAF’s centenary will now also be able to witness the legendary aircraft in action wherever they are using the newly launched RAF100Flypast app.

The Vulcan is the latest aircraft to be added to the app which allows users to create their own flypasts, capture and collect aircraft, view them in scaled augmented reality, and learn more about their technical specifications and history. The Buccaneer, Canberra and Lightning F1 are also being added.

The RAF created the free to download app in a military first this summer, working in partnership with the University of Lincoln’s School of Design, School of Computer Science and Lincoln International Business School to bring the realistic 3D planes to life.

Working collaboratively, academics from across the schools came together to develop the concept, game mechanics and design. They were supported by students from the schools who gained valuable experience in helping to come up with ideas, developing prototypes for user experiences and collating historical information.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, Julian Free, said: “The iconic Vulcan has long been associated with Bomber County and it’s wonderful that this app will now allow people to enjoy seeing it in the skies once more.

Image credit: RAF MOD
Image credit: RAF MOD

“The team at Lincoln has combined their respective expertise to deliver a first class product for the RAF, and the project demonstrates the University’s commitment to its Student as Producer ethos, engaging students in real-world briefs.

“The app has been a fantastic collaborative project between the University of Lincoln, the RAF, and Harmony Studios, driven by the ideas and creative designs of our academics and students as part of their courses. It is a great example of how younger audiences can be engaged with through the use of digital heritage, augmented reality and hand-held devices.”
Lydia Rusling, Chief Executive of Visit Lincoln, said: “RAF100 Weekend is one of the biggest events for the region this summer. Visitors will experience an unforgettable programme of events, with activities in 13 different parts of Lincoln from the Cathedral down to the Brayford Waterfront. Lincoln’s uphill will be transformed for the popular 1940s weekend, re-enactments will be taking place across the city, along with music, markets and plenty to see and do for the family. To have the addition of University’s augmented reality app, alongside flypasts over the weekend, is the icing on the cake and will be an exciting and innovative addition.”

Air Commodore Chris Jones added: “The RAF100Flypast app allows users to experience the wonders of RAF aircraft in augmented reality, which is really exciting. The app is a fun way to showcase how the RAF has grown through innovation and technology, and we hope it will inspire the next generation of aerospace pioneers. Users are able to collect planes and find out about their history through the app, as well as being able to create their own flypasts. With the Vulcan now added to the app alongside the Red Arrows, Typhoon, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Sentry, we hope there are plenty of favourites to get the young and old of Lincolnshire excited.”

The RAF100Flypast app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.

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Research Seminar Series: Orchard Robotics 28/06/18 4pm

Orchard Robotics

  • Place: DCB1102
  • Date/Time: 28/06/2018 16:00-17:00

 

 

The Lincoln School of Computer Science and the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems are hosting a team of agricultural roboticists from New Zealand.

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Prof Bruce MacDonald

The group will be represented by Prof. Bruce MacDonald and Dr Pau Medrano-Gràcia from The University of Auckland and Prof. Mike Duke from the University of Waikato. The seminar will summarize their research partnership to create robotics technology for kiwifruit and apple orchards, with the Universities of Auckland and Waikato, New Zealand’s Plant and Food Research Institute, and New Zealand company Robotics Plus. This includes an autonomous mobile robot, a targeted pollination system for kiwifruit flowers, a four-arm harvester for kiwifruit, and a prototype apple harvester.

SoCS Seminar Series: Task Planning for Long-Term Autonomy in Mobile Service Robots

The Lincoln School of Computer Science and the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems are excited to host Prof Nick Hawes (University of Oxford, Oxford Robotics Institute) in their research seminar series:

Task Planning for Long-Term Autonomy in Mobile Service Robots

Place and Time

  • Place: DCB1102
  • Date/Time: 13/7/2018 10am
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Abstract

The performance of autonomous robots, i.e. robots that can make their own decisions and choose their own actions, is becoming increasingly impressive, but most of them are still constrained to labs, or controlled environments. In addition to this, these robots are typically only able to do intelligent things for a short period of time, before either crashing (physically or digitally) or running out of things to do. In order to go beyond these limitations, and to deliver the kind of autonomous service robots required by society, we must conquer the challenge of combining artificial intelligence and robotics to develop systems capable of long-term autonomy in everyday environments. This talk will present recent progress in this direction, focussing on the mobile robots for security and care domains developed by the EU-funded STRANDS project (http://strands-project.eu) which have so far completed over 106 days of autonomy in real service environments. In particular the presentation will cover our approach which combines probabilistic verification and machine learning to produce a planning system which controls how the robots select and execute their tasks over these extended periods of autonomy.

Speaker bio

Nick Hawes is an Associate Professor of Engineering Science in the Oxford Robotics Institute at the University of Oxford. His research applies techniques from artificial intelligence to allow robots to perform useful tasks for, or with, humans in everyday environments (from moving goods in warehouses to supporting nursing staff in a care home). He is particularly interested in how robots can understand the world around them and how it changes over time (e.g. where objects usually appear, how people move through buildings etc.), and how robots can exploit this knowledge to perform tasks more efficiently and intelligently.

University of Lincoln, UK