CDT students host joint Robotics CDT conference

Students from the Centre successfully hosted the third annual student conference held jointly with the EPSRC CDTs in Bristol, Edinburgh and Oxford on the 3rd and 4th June. Fellow students from Bristol and Oxford arrived in Edinburgh on the Sunday evening and had the opportunity to join on a bus tour of the beautiful city.
The first day of the conference started in earnest at 9am at the University of Edinburgh  with coffee and welcome, followed by a keynote from Dr Ali Eslami of DeepMind.  This was followed by presentations from students, poster sessions and tours of the Centre's world class lab facilities. Proceedings were then concluded by a second excellent keynote from Dr Margarita Chli, of ETH Zurich.
Networking continued into the evening with dinner at Vittoria on the Bridges with some hardy students summoning up energy to climb Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s extinct volcano.
Heriot-Watt University hosted the second day of the conference with delegates able to choose from three workshop streams.  These included a workshop to discuss the main issues encountered by women in robotics, led by the Women in Robotics Edinburgh team and female academics from the Centre; a session on effective public outreach and education; and tutorials on ROS, Graph Networks and Deep Learning. 
The day also included a Dragons’ Den style competition where students could pitch a business idea to a panel of ‘Dragons’.  The panel also gave presentations, with Dr Sandy McKinnon from Pentech Ventures advising participants ‘How to think like a VC’, and Paul Clark from Ocado, and Simon Watt from Karakuri talking about how robotics and AI are influencing their business processes. Also on the panel was Dr Sandy Enoch, Founder and CEO of Robotical, an Edinburgh Centre for Robotics spin-out producing Marty, a robot who makes learning about Computer Science, Engineering and teamwork fun for children of all ages. Sandy spoke about his experiences as an entrepreneur.
All agreed that the conference was a great success and plans are already underway for the 2020 conference in Oxford.