In past issues the President, Vice Presidents and members of the Executive Team have each given personal perspectives about their role and the evolution of euRobotics. This month the association’s Treasurer, Geoff Pegman shares his personal perspective.
Q. In your own words, how would you describe your role as a member of the euRobotics Executive team?
The EXT brings together a group of individuals with wide experience in research, development and exploitation of robotics who collectively utilise this experience to help steer euRobotics to be the key organisation within Europe for robotics organisations and individuals. I bring my near 35 years’ experience of developing and selling advanced robot systems across many sectors to critically assessing what are our key priorities. As Treasurer, I am also charged with maintaining the financial stability of the organisation while also ensuring that our funds our best spent to the benefit of our members and providing maximum financial transparency.
Q. In your opinion, in what ways do you bring your personal experience and background to your role?
As someone who was hooked on robots years before George Devol even made his first patent application for a “Programmed Article Transfer Machine”, I bring an enthusiasm for robots and robot technology to find ever greater application in society. This translates into a strong desire to see the development of a Europe-wide supply network capable of answering the needs of virtually all application areas with cost effective solutions that will change the way businesses operate to the benefit of European citizens. I am also very keen to foster greater collaboration between robot developers and ultimate end users through ever greater use of Open Innovation techniques and programmes.
Q. What do you most enjoy about your ExT role? Please mention a personal highlight.
The thing that gives me the most satisfaction in my role on the ExT is when we get the opportunity to enhance the prospects for new and up and coming business ventures that are breaking new barriers, whether this is by persuading the Commission to include more opportunities for researchers to take their ideas to market or by creating direct support mechanisms for startups. I have been particularly pleased to have helped, with colleagues, the Entrepreneurship Topic Group get started and to get activities such as the Entrepreneurship Awards to become established.
Q. Finally, how do you see the future unfolding for euRobotics and/or the European robotics sector?
I think events over the last two years, including very recent developments, have reinforced the need for greater resilience in all our services and systems. Resilience, at least in part, implies greater flexibility. And flexibility is a key attribute of robotics. I therefore think that the prospects for robotics in Europe are very strong, particularly given the unique attributes that European culture can bring to the ethics and application of robotics. My one regret is that the UK, where I am based, will not be able to fully participate in this community effort for at least the foreseeable future.