Past Events

IEEE/RJS IROS 2021 Standardised Software Frameworks for Robotics in Nuclear


Releasing Robots into the Wild: Experiences and Challenges of Undertaking Field Robotics Simon Watson, University of Manchester, Nick Hawes, Oxford Robotics Institute and Tom Scott, University of Bristol, from RAIN were presented. 

Standardised Software Frameworks for Robotics in Nuclear Ipek Caliskanelli, RACE UKAEA, Rob Skilton, RACE UKAEA and Matthew Goodliffe, RACE UKAEA from RAIN were presented.

RAIN Reddit Ask Me Anything

24th June 2021, online.  

Members of the RAIN team will be hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything session.  You can view the AMA here.

Robot Lab Live, UK Festival of Robotics

23rd June 2021, online.  

As part of the UK Festival of Robotics, The University of Manchester RAIN team will be taking part in the Robot Lab Live event showcasing ‘Human Robot Interaction – VR and Digital Twin Based Teleoperation of Robotic Arm’. 

RAIN Standardisation Working Group – HMI Workshop

3rd June 2021, online.  

The Standardisation working group aims to develop standards for control systems and relevant complementary technologies used in the nuclear industry that would address concerns associated with HMIs and quality assurance from a performance, software assurance and software security perspective.  

RACE has been developing cross-cutting technologies such as CorteX (i.e. interoperable control systems framework), RHOVR (i.e. VR Visualisation), and OMS (i.e. Operations Management System) tailored for remote handling operations in nuclear. RACE has been working with a high level of TRL’s and has extensive experience in deploying software at JET fusion reactor. However, these custom-built software technologies follow varied HMIs styles and guidelines, with limited quality assurance. Our intention is to bring academics, technology providers, operators, and challenge owners to discuss key concerns, extract knowledge, and help establishing baseline standards. For this purpose, we would like to carry out a series of workshops to explore the required HMI standards, software assurance, and software security standards for deployment of these cross-cutting technologies in nuclear facilities. These topics would represent strands of research and demonstration in the RAIN programme with findings shared with our community.

Our first workshop within the RAIN Standardisation working group will be on the 3rd June on HMI standardisation. Within RACE, HMI standardisation has already started and Dr Ioannis Zoulias as subject matter expert has been developing HMI guidelines for RHSME (next generation control system software that will be deployed at JET). This workshop will not only give us the opportunity to inform the RACE HMI guidelines based on our discussions during the workshop, but it will also help us disseminate this knowledge and experience RACE has with our colleagues in RAIN.  


  • Brief introduction
  • Justin Thomas – JET RH ops presents HMI challenges + demo
  • Dr Ioannis Zoulias – Importance of HMI guidelines
  • Case Studies
  • Discussion
  • Overall questions • Where can Academia contribute? • Human factor experiments?

Seminar series: Making the unknown knowable

29 April – 27 May 2021, online.  

The Beam nuclear and social science network at The University of Manchester invites you to join a new online seminar series ‘Making the unknown knowable’, taking place 29 April – 27 May 2021, in conjunction with the RAIN Hub.

Making the unknown knowable has always been located at the heart of scientific activity. This seminar series will explore the ways in which the unknown is rendered knowable by a wide range of actors in a multitude of contexts. It aspires to generate a fruitful discussion among three concerned groups; those who produce knowledge on the unknown, such as scientists and engineers, those who seek the limits of the known be extended to undertake policy action, such as policymakers, and those who study how the unknown is made knowable, including anthropologists, historians, sociologists and philosophers of science.

Click here to read the full abstract for the series


25th – 27th May 2021, online.  

The RAIN hub will be at the KTN Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Industry Showcase 2021 from 25-27th May, the UK’s largest showcase of industrial Robotics and AI technologies.

Hub Director Barry Lennox will be joining the ‘Robots for Safer Nuclear Operations and Decommissioning’ session on Tuesday 25th May from 10:15am where you will be able to see an overview of some of the projects we have developed in collaboration with industry and take part in a Q&A.

Members of the RAIN team will also be available to answer any queries you have about the hub and discuss our work during the Exhibitor Virtual Booth Open Sessions (times below) so please come along and say hello.

  • Tuesday 25 May, 12:15-13:45 – Nottingham RAIN team will be presenting ‘RAIN-Hex: From a Reconfigurable Parallel Kinematic Manipulator to an Advanced Walking Machine Centre’ and ‘RAIN-Snake: Snake-like robots and their nuclear applications
  • Wednesday 26 May, 12:15-13:45
  • Thursday 27 May, 12:45-15:45


13th May 2021, online.  

Speakers will include Trudy Harrison (MP for Copeland), Rebecca Weston (Chief Operating Officer, Sellafield Ltd), Rav Chunilal (Head of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Sellafield Ltd), Barry Lennox (Director of RAIN Hub, Professor of Applied Control, University of Manchester), Steve Shackleford (Head of Capability for Nuclear Operations, National Nuclear Laboratory), Rob Buckingham (UK Atomic Energy Authority; Director, Head of RACE).

Talks will be followed by a Q&A session. Essential reading RAICo Lab SoN.

Copeland Vision 2040

Copeland Vision 2040

Cumbria Nuclear Prospectus

Sellafield Enterprise Strategy 2020

Copeland RAI CoE


5th and 6th May 2021, online.  

Over the last 3 years, the RAIN working groups have helped facilitate the combination of academic research with expert guidance from industry and end users into real-world demonstration-ready robotic platforms.

RAIN has engaged extensively with industry during this period and as we move into Phase 2 we are looking to expand the working groups to 5 key areas: Remote Handling, Remote Inspection, HRI, Autonomy & Verification and Standardisation.

RAIN invites you to engage with Phase 2 and help refresh and focus these working groups. We will run two online workshops on the 5th and 6th of May for the current Remote Handling (RHWG) and Remote Inspection (RIWG) working groups. How HRI, Autonomy & Verification and Standardisation fit into each of these areas will be discussed to allow the formation of the new working groups.


13TH JAN 2021, online.  

This workshop brings together key stakeholders interested in the verification and regulation challenges faced when using robotic systems for remote inspection. A variety of speakers, from across industry, regulatory organisations, and academia, will present their views on this important topic. The workshop is divided into three sessions covering: Applications; Regulation & Verification; and Future Challenges. Each session will have short talks with a discussion and Q&A opportunity for audience members.

This workshop is organised across ORCA and RAIN ISCF RAI Hubs and the Assuring Autonomy International Programme, by:


28th Sept, 29th Sept and 1st October, online.  

This set of workshops will bring stakeholders together to discuss how humans interact with robots now and in the future. Optimising the way humans and robots interact is fundamental to their usage and effectiveness in nuclear environments. In all research areas of the RAIN Hub feedback and discussion with industry stakeholders is invaluable. This is our first session focusing on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). Over two days (Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th September) we will host 7 separate online sessions, each diving into 1 of 7 research themes. 

The event aims to:

  • Strengthen existing, and create new, links between industry and academia
  • Create a HRI network for the UK’s Nuclear industry
  • Talk to industry about the current ongoing research across UK universities
  • Improve our understanding of the current industrial challenges, informing future research


31st August 2020, Royal Continent Hotel and Meeting Centre, Naples, Italy

The 2nd workshop at RO-MAN 2020, will once again bring those communities together, focusing on the development of test methods and metrics for evaluating interactions with remotely located robotic systems, which could be deployed in environments such as nuclear inspection and decommissioning, offshore energy activity and maintenance, space exploration, and deep mining etc. This shall be achieved in line with the RO-MAN 2020 conference theme of Robots with Heart, Mind and Soul, by exploring the development of test methods and metrics with user experience in mind: industrial applications need to build solutions rooted in deeper analysis of the user-experience as they interact with and use robotics. Thus, we will focus on methods and metrics that place the human as central to the human-robot interaction.


4th November – IROS 2019 – The Venetian Macao, Macau

The workshop will bring together individuals from the broad field of Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction research, to discuss the future of Human-Machine Interfaces in telerobotics. The focus is to discuss the legacy issues that occur in telerobotics and to draw on innovative approaches that might be introduced. The workshop aims to encourage discussion of new methods and technologies for disrupting existing legacy systems in telerobotics. Examples of established systems from research and industrial applications will be reviewed to identify the lessons learned, and considered alongside areas that have high levels of innovation. The workshop invites participation across industry, academia and throughout all applications in telerobotics.


14th October 2019 – A Workshop in Conjuction with IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive  Communication (IEEE RO-MAN, 2019)

The goal of the workshop is to enable a cross fertilisation of ideas and solutions for issues encountered when attempting to generate complex models of interaction between robots and humans, that can be used in extreme environments. Similarly through this workshop, we aim to better understand the limitations and benefits of different interaction scenarios, when robotic are subjected to extreme and harsh environments.


19th September 2019, Energus, Cumbria

This event will demonstrate the current use of robotics at Sellafield, invite Sellafield’s workforce to help shape the future role of robotics in decommissioning, showcase next-generation robotic developments, present the progress of the RAIN Hub, stimulate ideas, discussion and future innovation. The event will also be used to highlight specific challenges for which robotic solutions are currently being sought by Sellafield through the Game Changers programme. Funding and technical support will be available for innovative ideas which can demonstrate the potential to meet Sellafield’s robotic needs.

The event will be used to launch Sellafield’s robotic call for innovation, which will involve three specific challenges:

  • Deployment techniques to allow remote working at height in high hazardous areas,
  • Autonomous removal of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) packages from a store to a transport container for export,
  • Remote inspection of SNM packages.


12th April 2019, Manchester

This workshop will explore the challenges of certifying nuclear robotic systems. Groups of attendees will examine realistic nuclear robotic case studies, discussing how the introduction of autonomy, machine learning, or long-term use will impact the verification techniques and evidence required for certification. Representatives from the Office for Nuclear Regulation will be at the workshop to provide their feedback certification for robotics with higher levels of autonomy.


26th March 2019, Manchester

We invite you to Manchester for an update on the progress of the RAIN Hub. There will be a range of technical demonstrations, updates on the progress of the working groups, and the working group Grand Challenges. During the afternoon we will be welcoming input and feedback from you, to help us keep moving our research in the right direction. 

Registration is free via our eventbrite and open to anyone from industry, academia, or government, with an interest in robotics, autonomy, AI, and safety.


11th of September 2018, Manchester

Organised by the Universities of Liverpool and York, with the Office for Nuclear Regulation, this workshop introduces the current certification processes, highlights some of the issues as we move towards more sophisticated Robotics and AI solutions, and discusses the way forward.

We will have talks by representatives from the Universities of Liverpool and York, and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Registration is free via our eventbrite and open to anyone from industry, academia, or government, with an interest in robotics, autonomy, AI, safety, assurance, and certification, and specifically those involved in EPSRC/ISCF activities such as the RAIN Hub, the NCNR Hub, or the Robotics for Nuclear Environments and Assuring Autonomy programmes


June 21st 2018, Liverpool, UK

As part of the international business festival, there will be an international robotics showcase. We will be present with some of our robotics platforms. Come and say hello!

This also raises some fundamental questions: while the robots are ready to share control, what is the optimal trade-off between autonomy and control that we are comfortable with? Domains where this debate is relevant include self-driving cars, offshore asset inspection and maintenance, deep sea and autonomous mining, shared manufacturing, exoskeletons/prosthetics for rehabilitation as well as smart cities to list a few.



June 18th 2018
Victoria Gallery & Museum
Ashton Street
L69 3DR

The next generation of robots are going to work much more closely with humans, other robots and interact significantly with the environment around it. As a result, the key paradigms are shifting from isolated decision making systems to one that involves shared control — with significant autonomy devolved to the robot platform; and end-users in the loop making only high level decisions. This talk will introduce powerful machine learning technologies ranging from robust multi-modal sensing, shared representations, scalable real-time learning and adaptation and optimal scheduling of compliant actuation that are enabling us to reap the benefits of increased autonomy while still feeling securely in control.

This also raises some fundamental questions: while the robots are ready to share control, what is the optimal trade-off between autonomy and control that we are comfortable with? Domains where this debate is relevant include self-driving cars, offshore asset inspection and maintenance, deep sea and autonomous mining, shared manufacturing, exoskeletons/prosthetics for rehabilitation as well as smart cities to list a few.


Upcoming are 2 user focused events: explaining the relevant ongoing research at RAIN, and aiming to better understand the key priorities for the near future within the nuclear industry.

June 5th 2018: Remote Handling

Location: Nuclear AMRC, Rotherham
For SME’s and end users interested in remote handling

June 8th 2018: Remote Inspection

Location: RACE, Abingdon
For SME’s and end users interested in remote inspection


Simon Watson will present within “Robot Revolution” evening May 14th 2018. Are Robots just Spanners or Evil Overlords in Waiting?.

Are we going to wake up in 10 years’ time and find that we now have a supreme robot overlord or are the robots of the future just going to be tools that help make our lives better? Khris Kababbe will present within the “Extreme Engineering” evening May 15th. Drones in a Dirty, Dull and Dangerous world.

Autonomous robots are destined for Dirty, Dull, and Dangerous missions. But what about the humans that have to operate these on site? Khris Kabbabe will talk about operating Drones in Dirty (Landfil sites), Dull (offshore renewable energy), and Dangerous (Volcanoes and Rain Forest) places, and why drones are essential to our understanding of these environments.

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