Dear Members, For the second year in a row, the pandemic has us firmly in its grip. Our ERF 2021 could only be held virtually and we continue to meet friends, supporters and colleagues virtually. Contrary to our fears, the Forum was a complete success with almost the same number of participants as in Malaga the year before, one of the last big physical meetings before the pandemic. Therefore my special thanks go to all those who made the virtual ERF 2021 a success on this scale.
Great appreciation is also due to the personal commitment of our directors in all their efforts this year, and to those directors who “fly the flag” of robotics on the Board of Adra, ensuring our values are fully represented, especially the equality of Academia and Industry. After a good start in the summer, Adra can now also look back on a successful launch of the PPP with the EC and we look forward to engaging with Adra to set the European agenda for robotics.
Looking beyond Adra, we will also strengthen our connections to other associations and initiatives and strive for new ones to keep European robotics high on the agenda.
The announced Topic Groups Summit took place in October, even if only virtually. All the more pleasing was the large participation, valuable contributions on topic setting and prioritisation and the extensive feedback from the participants. The TG Summit is a new brand under the euRobotics umbrella. The feedback we received from it provided a lot of confirmation of its added value and also provided many suggestions for our future direction as an association representing all of you. I would particularly like to thank all the TG coordinators who have given their time to us and enriched our eco-system with their enthusiasm. The result of this work will be a robotics roadmap that sets the tone for the next decade.
Unfortunately ERW does not do so well as a virtual event, it relies on thousands of people across Europe, including many school children, visiting labs and attending events. Even if they are permitted to take place, planning those events needs certainty, which is difficult in the pandemic. Perhaps we should now consider how to create a virtual ERW with the same reach – this is something we will look into. Nevertheless, our warmest thanks go to the organisers from Bologna, who hosted a wonderful virtual central event with great commitment and shared their exciting topics with us.
After these events, our attention has returned to our transition to euRobotics 2.0. The EXT and the entire board meet tirelessly once a week and once a month to accompany our office in this development with all our supporters. This is a commitment that cannot be taken for granted and deserves recognition. First successes such as a regular newsletter with its new layout are already visible. More will follow until the planned conclusion at the ERF 2022 in Rotterdam.
We will increasingly involve our members and set up workshops for academia and industry as well as across the board, all this in close cooperation with our TGs. Creating added value for our members is the motto. I look forward to discussing the result at the next TG Summit with you all.
In this context, I would also like to mention our increased commitment to the European Robotics League as an umbrella brand for various competition-based activities. I will report here in detail in due course on how we are planning to take this forward in 2022 and, as I mentioned above, we are considering a new format for ERW 2022. However, all these resolutions can only be put into practice in close cooperation with you, our members. We need your support and are grateful for any advice and suggestions you can offer.
Unfortunately, Covid is still affecting our lives and has also forced us to make the decision to postpone the ERF in Rotterdam to 28-30 June with the General Assembly held on 27 June 2022. I hope that we will finally meet again in person during these days and that we will be able to cultivate not only exciting topics but meet up as friends and enjoy time together again.
Until then, I wish you all a good start to a successful 2022. Please stay healthy!