Robocademy Course Week and Project Review in Edinburgh
Prof. David Lane and Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa had a meeting with their Robocademy students for the NT1 and NT9 course. The Robocademy PMB successfully presented the network towards the EU Project Officer and a reviewer.
Within the first week of February 2016, the Robocademy Network had the Mid-Term Review in Edinburgh, UK. The review was combined with a course week in order to keep overview of the ESRs individual progress and discuss latest results.
The course week started on Tuesday with the NT-1 Advanced principles of robotics course, given by the host of the course week, Prof. David Lane (Heriot-Watt University). The objective of this course was to obtain a deeper understanding of some underpinning fundamentals in the Robocademy themes of fellows’ choice, including skills in their use in some application exemplars of varying complexity. During the first day, each Robocademy fellow presented the progress of his research, during the first period of Robocademy. The students received a feedback from Prof. Lane and were able to improve their presentations, as well as their presentation skills.
The second course day started Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa's (Technical University of Tallinn) NT-9 Research Paper Reading Circle course. Within the last months the Reading Circle course took place within the Robocademy Adobe Connect Virtual Meeting Room, where the Fellows discussed one research paper proposed by Prof. Kruusmaa and one paper chosen by a different fellow, each week. The focus of the physical meeting in Edinburgh was ethical writing and publishing. On basis of practical experiences in her adademic career Prof. Kruusmaa discussed several important points with the students, like what does it mean to be a main-author? Which medium is the right one for my research paper? After the session in ethical writings, the lecture closed with an open question round. The rest of the day was used for the preparation of the Mid-Term Review on the next day.
The Mid-Term Review took place in the same place, like the previous days within the Heriot-Watt University. The meeting started with a short introduction by Robocademy Coordinator Dr. Thomas Vögele, who introduced the EU Project Officer Dr. Olivier Delaunoy and the external reviewer Prof. Dr Zoran Miljkovic. After a short coffee break, Dr. Thomas Vögele presented the Coordinators Report towards the audience.
After this overview of the Robocademy activities within the first two years of the project, the main part of the review began: the Robocademy fellow's individual presentations. Every presentation was rounded up by a discussion between the fellow and the project officer and the reviewer. After the first bulk of presentations and discussions, the local Robocademy fellows presented the labs and facilities of the Ocean Systems Lab within the Heriot-Watt University.
The lab tour, led by Prof. David Lane and his Robocademy students included several demonstrations, as well as hand-on experiences. During the tour, visitors were able to remotely control vehicles in the Ocean System Labs basin and see a manipulator arm in action. ESR Mariia Dmitrieva gave the audience an overview about the sonar system she used during trials for her thesis and Mariela De Lucas showed the other ESRs the hardware components of the deconstructed Nessie AUV (picture above).
Following the lab tour, the presentations continued and closed with the last presentation by Youssef Essaouari. After the last presentation the Robocademy Consortium had a short coffee break, before splitting up in two seperate groups. Dr. Olivier Delaunoy and Prof. Miljkovic had a confidentional meeting, where ESRs where given the chance to discuss issues and ideas with the project officer without having their supervisors around. Meanwhile the supvervisors and the coordinators were moving to another room and used the chance to start planning the second course year of the Robocademy program.
The official part of the Mid-Term-Review was ending with a feedback from PO Dr. Olivier Delaunoy and an open discussion. The general feedback was good and the Robocademy Consortium agreed to keep the good way and will improve the network even more in the future.
In the evening, Prof. David Lane invited all MTR participants for a Dinner and Whisky Tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. A whisky embassador was leading the Robocademy Consortium through three different Whiskys and a delicious three-course Dinner. The dinner was much appreciated and was an excellent opportunity in order to bring people closer together and discuss ideas.
On Friday morning the Progression Board met again and finished the discussions from the previous day in order to plan the second course year for the Robocademy. After this last meeting, the course week was over and participants were heading towards home.