IROS 2011  workshop:

"European Efforts in Strengthening the Academia-Industry Collaboration"

in cooperation with ECHORD and euRobotics


Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, 8:30-17:00, Room 4

San Francisco, California


Agenda PDF

Proceedings PDF


Results Questionnaire PDF



Several key projects funded by the European Commission emphasize the need for a tighter cooperation between academia and industry in robotics.

euRobotics is a Coordination Action involving stakeholders of well-known European initiatives, namely EURON ( and EUROP ( euRobotics has two main objectives:

   1. Improvement of cooperation between robotics stakeholders in academia and industry
   2. Promotion of European robotics

Furthermore, euRobotics aims at strengthening the European robotics community across all robotics sectors (industrial, professional service, domestic service, security and space robotics).

ECHORD (European Clearing House for Open Robotics Development) is an innovative framework aiming at intensifying the collaboration between scientific research and industry in robotics. After the set-up phase, where approx. 50 small projects, so-called experiments were selected based on independently evaluated proposals, ECHORD has the unique opportunity to accompany these projects scientifically by the mechanism of a “structured dialogue” and thus to gain additional knowledge for the whole community. ECHORD is funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme, Challenge 2: Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics (FP7-ICT-231143,

The IROS workshop will present background information and early results of the mentioned projects targeted to an international audience and welcoming brief presentations of similar worldwide initiatives.


Alois Knoll, Reinhard Lafrenz, Florian Röhrbein

Technische Universität München
Boltzmannstr. 3 
85748 Garching

Phone: +49-89-289-18136

Bruno Siciliano

Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Dipartimento di Informatica e Sistemistica
Via Claudio 21
80125 Napoli

Phone: +39-08176-831-79

Rainer Bischoff

KUKA Laboratories GmbH
Zugspitzstr. 140,
86165 Augsburg

Phone: +49 821 797-3244


Anne Wendel

EUnited RoboticsEuropean Robotics Association
Sector Group of EUnited AISBL
Diamant Building, Boulevard A. Reyers 80
1030 Brussels

Phone: +32/2/706-8222


Motivation and objectives

There has been a long history of outstanding research and development in both robot manufacturers and research institutes. However, finding common ground between manufacturers and the research community, especially when it comes to defining the future direction of robotics research, has proven difficult in the past. This is one of the recurring themes on both sides, and a new level of cooperation is long overdue. The goal of the proposed workshop is to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and experience between scientists and practitioners and to inspire the robotics community to form new types of cooperation.

The workshop will comprise two parts. The first part focuses on an overview of the exisiting European robotics networks EURON and EUROP and projects such as euRobotics with their scientific direction and the activities intended to transfer the knowledge:
•    EUROP is an industry-driven framework for the main stakeholders in robotics to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in robotics R&D and global markets. EUROP is one of several European Technology Platforms (ETPs) supported by the European Commission (
•    EURON is a community of more than 220 academic and industrial groups in Europe with a common interest in advanced research in the field of robotics. The network was founded in 2000 and was supported by the European Commission for 8 years (
•    The euRobotics Coordination Action targets two main objectives: the improvement of cooperation between industry and academia and the enhancement of public perception of (European) robotics. The euRobotics Coordination Action is funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme, Challenge 2: Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics (FP7-ICT-244852; 01/2010 – 12/2013) (

The second part will use the pool of ECHORD experiments to exemplarily point out ideas and first results in different industrial relevant scenarios: "human-robot co-worker", "hyper-flexible manufacturing cells", and the "cognitive factory". Within these scenarios, different research foci ("human-robot interfacing & safety", "robot hands & complex manipulation", "mobile manipulators & cooperation" and "networked robots") allow to categorize the work and to streamline the “structured dialogue”. A systematic overview of the ECHORD experiments will be given by the coordinating partners of ECHORD (i.e. Alois Knoll and/or Bruno Siciliano), based on a systematic analysis of the experiments with respect to the above mentioned categories and taking further different types of experiments (i.e., Joint enabling technology development by academia and industry, application development, and feasibility demonstration) into account.

In addition to this general overview, selected experiments will have the opportunity to present their results and discuss them with the participants. The main focus of these presentations and discussions will be on practical use of the scientific work and knowledge transfer aspects.

Presentations of similar worldwide initiatives are welcome to foster the dialogue within the robotics community.



In addition to invited speakers, ECHORD experimenting partners will be invited to present and discuss their work.
Furthermore, representatives of similar worldwide initiatives will be asked to present their networks.
The intended audience comprises scientists and industrial practitioners in the relevant fields.


List of topics

•    Academia-industry collaboration
•    euRobotics
•    Overview of ECHORD experiments
•    Knowledge transfer opportunities for academia and industry in the context of ECHORD experiments
•    Other initiatives  to foster the dialogue within the robotics community

The following non-exclusive list of scientific and application areas (taken from the ECHORD calls)  shows the wide range of topics with regards to content:
•    human-robot interfacing & safety
•    robot hands & complex manipulation
•    mobile manipulators & cooperation
•    hyper-flexible manufacturing cells
•    cognitive factory
•    networked robots