Franziska Kirstein has joined the Board of Directors of euRobotics. Here she gives a personal statement by way of introduction. 

I am really grateful to have received the opportunity to become a member of the euRobotics Board of Directors – and very excited for all tasks that come along with my new role. As my work combines the robotics industry with academic research in international collaborations and EU-funded projects, I consider my most important role as strengthening euRobotics as a place of interdisciplinary collaboration between academia, large industry, and SMEs. 

 My background is in Human Robot Interaction. At Blue Ocean Robotics, I have worked with the design, development, implementation, and commercialization of robots. As the demand for robots increased, I became interested in how robots themselves can be manufactured in a sustainable way and how they can generally be used to support sustainability. These questions also guide the activities in the Topic Group ‘Robotics for Sustainability’ that I am co-leading. In 2021, I joined the Program Committee for the European Robotics Forum to increase the focus on sustainability at the event. In my role as Director, I hope to strengthen sustainability aspects and practices in euRobotics, including increasing the involvement of women in activities and lead roles. 

 euRobotics has been an important place to grow my professional network and advance my career since my first attendance at the ERF 2016 – I am sure many euRobotics members have had a similar experience. Hence, I would like to support the activities of the BoD to maintain successful activities while at the same time finding new, contemporary ways for euRobotics to provide value to its members. 

As an active member of several Topic Groups (Robotics for Sustainability, Entrepreneurship,  Socially Intelligent Robotics and Societal Applications), I have gained insights into how the Topic Groups operate and how euRobotics can best support them. As a member of the BoD, I plan to actively support the coordination, communication and exchange of results, experiences, and best practices within the Topic Groups to intensify the members’ network and impact of the Topic Groups. 

 euRobotics is initiating and reviving several exciting activities and events, and I am very much looking forward to working with the Board of Directors to support these efforts. 

Franziska Kirstein is Senior Scientific Domain Lead at Blue Ocean Robotics. She received her MA in International Business Communication and Communication Design from University of Southern Denmark in 2014. Since then, she has worked in interdisciplinary teams in the field of Human-Robot Interaction. Her work combines robotics industry (development and commercialization of robots) with academic research in international collaborations and EU-funded projects. In 2021, Franziska was selected for the NGI Explorers program with a funded research visit at Washington University in Saint Louis, McKelvey School of Engineering. Her work received the “Best Social Innovation Impact” award.