European Robotics Week (ERW) has been completed for another year. Taking place between 18th-27th November, ERW was celebrated in schools, labs and other venues across Europe. One of the key focus points was Hannover, where the curtain-raising Central Event took place at the north German city’s renowned Leibniz University on Thursday 17th November.  

In collaboration with local event partners Robospace and Roboterfabrik, a small team from euRobotics took part in a short but varied afternoon event to mark the start of the Week. Adopting a hybrid format that reflected both confidence and caution, the event took place in front of both a live audience of guests and supporters in Hannover and a geographically dispersed virtual audience who followed proceedings simultaneously on the euRobotics YouTube channel. Hosting the ceremony for euRobotics from the stage of Leibniz University’s impressive Lichthof atrium, Steve Doswell opened proceedings and welcomed  euRobotics President Bernd Liepert, who joined via Zoom and formally opened ERW 2022  from the screen.  Words of welcome followed from Ina May, founder and managing partner of both Robospace and Roboterfabrik, who had played a key role in making the Central Event possible in Hannover, and also from Professor Wolfgang Nejdl, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. With contributions delivered in a mix of languages, event co-host Reinhard Lafrenz, euRobotics’ Secretary-General added interpreting to his list of demonstrated skills by providing an English summary of points made by German speakers. 

A keynote address from professor and entrepreneur Tobias Ortmaier brought the worlds of robotics research and application neatly together and by now the Central Event was cruising. A varied panel discussion followed, with contributions from Leibniz University Professor Bernardo Wagner, Dr. Alexander Georgiadis from Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Building and Digitalization, Heike Bickmann from the same regional authority’s Ministry of Education and Sebastian Blankemeyer, robotics researcher at the university.  

With the event half-way through, it was time to skip a generation (or in some cases, two) and hear from members of the Hannover-based i-Rob team, school students who had been successful in recent European and World Robotics Championships. 

Next up were short recorded video-clips from some of the National Coordinators of European Robotics Week, who champion robotics education and public awareness in their own countries.  

There then followed a brief showcase for the European Robotics Forum (ERF), with short presentations from Jesus Fernandez Lozano who joined the event back on the big screen live from the University of Málaga, scene of the 2020 ERF, and Stefano Stramigioli, euRobotics Vice President Research, who led the team that delivered this year’s ERF so capably in Rotterdam. A timing hitch prevented the presenters of next year’s ERF from linking to the event live from Odense. However, they have recorded a message which was later added to a recording of the Hannover event. A photo gallery of images from the Central Event can also be found on the euRobotics website.

Meanwhile, ERW National Coordinators delivered a range of activities in their home countries across Europe. This followed months of hard work spent creating interesting events to engage young people and non-specialist audiences alike with an interest in robotics. Details of events planned so far are shown on the ERW 2022 events page of the euRobotics website (scroll down the map to get the full picture).