Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani

Contact Details

Newton Building Room UG11

Please email for an appointment.

Current positions

Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Biography

Professor Nefti-Meziani holds a Doctorat D’etat from ParisXI in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. She is an international leading expert with 25 years’ experience in the development of concepts, mechanisms and algorithms in the areas of both hard and soft robotics, automation and autonomous systems. She has a well-established track record and has published extensively in the aforementioned areas which have appeared in very high impact factor journals and the most prestigious international publications in robotics, computer science and engineering. She has made fundamental contributions in low cost robotics technologies and has developed wider practical cross-sectorial technologies including force augmentation exoskeletons, haptic gloves, soft sensors, dextrous and novel end-effectors and pioneered their use in many sectors including Food, Agriculture, Nuclear, Transport, Aerospace and Healthcare through several projects.

Prototypes have been provided to research and commercial centres/UKRI programmes including CAV project Synergy funded by InnovateUK and Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning project funded by the NDA, Innovate UK and BEIS (to Phase I, Phase II and now progress to demonstrating their solutions in one of Sellafield’s radioactive facilities). In addition, the application value of her research and technologies developed are evident from the nomination and prizes for best paper award and Patents. Her research has attracted significant national media coverage on Sky, the BBC, ITV and Granada, in addition to print and , online media and including her invitation as a guest speaker at the prestigious Global Shangh’AI lectures https://tube.switch.ch/videos/c51840b1.

She is the Founder and Head of the Centre for Autonomous Systems & Advanced Robotics (ASAR), and Chair in Robotics at the University of Salford. Her centre has been at the forefront of robotics research in Autonomous Systems and Advanced robotics. ASAR is a spoke for the EPSRC National Hub in Robotics and Future AI (FAIR-SPACE) and more recently become a centre of excellence in Intelligent Automation and Robotics. In this role, she leads a multidisciplinary team in automation, machine learning, robot/machine design, dexterous end effectors, legged robots, soft robotics, biologically inspired robots, haptics/telepresence, physical human-robot interaction, rehabilitation robotics, cognitive robotics and uninhabited autonomous systems. She is currently the director of the largest international industrial sponsored postgraduate programmes in Robotics and Automation in the UK (around 90 PG students). She is the former Vice Chairman of IEEE Robotics and Automation UK & RI, Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems and she is serving as an Advisory board member for the RGP, the Asian council and the EPSRC centre for innovative manufacturing and Member of the Engineering. She is also a member of the Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College and reviewer for UKRI, Netherland research funding body and for the EC on FET, Cost and other innovation programmes.

Leading and Managing large complex research grants

Professor Nefti-Meziani is a proven strategic leader of multi-national, multi-sector, multifaceted and complex Robotics & Artificial Intelligence research programmes. She has in-depth, cross sectorial PI, Co-I and application expertise within the Nuclear, Food, Rail, Agriculture, Aerospace & Defence, Healthcare and Automotive sectors through numerous commercial and research projects funded by EU, EPSRC, Innovate UK and RGF. She is renowned for her extensive experience of leading and managing large scale multidisciplinary research projects, funded by EU, involving multiple academic and industrial partners. Examples include the research and training programme SMART-E (€4m) in robotics for suitable manufacturing , for which she is the PI and which included 20 partners, RobotCub (€8.5m), NovelQ (€11.3m), ASTRAEA (£32m) and ASCE2 (£16m). She has also managed and delivered other projects funded by Innovate UK and EPSRC as PI and Co-I. In her role as an expert in robotics, she has worked very closely with food, aerospace and nuclear supply chain to deliver proof of concept and innovative low-cost robotics solutions for these programmes. This includes the GAMMA (£9m), where she was responsible for delivering a big work package on Autonomous systems which involves the nuclear sector (NNL) and Aerospace (BAE systems and NWAA), a 4 years funded programme that engaged 50 SMEs with 46 research proposals. In recognition of her leadership in the area of Robotics, She was appointed as the academic lead for the delivery of a large programme initiative (Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence (ASCE2)), coordinated by the North West Aerospace Alliance, which is aiming to develop innovation in the North West aerospace and supply chain companies through collaboration with HE institutions.

She was also heavily involved in the management and delivery of the North West Centre in Food Automation) (£5m), which was established to help food companies across the Northern Way to embrace automation. The support provided ranged from on-site audits and reports through to the full design and build of proof of concept machinery. Over its duration the centre helped more than 50 food companies, mostly SME to automate their processes.

She is also the PI from Salford on the 36m of the EPSRC FAIR-SPACE. The Hub was launched in November 2017, as part of the government’s £84m R&D funding on “robotics and AI for extreme environments” through the Industry Strategic Challenge Fund (ISCF). More recently she has led the development of the new multi-million pounds Robotics Maturation Centre. This centre will act as a hub for researchers, engineers and SMEs to develop the UK’s intelligent automation and robotics industry.

Links and collaboration with the industry

In 2015 Professor Samia with the support from Sellafield, NDA and the Autonomous Intelligent systems partnerships (AISP) established the National Robotics Network (NRN) which is an associate partner of the UK RAS-SIG as a forum to promote Robotics and Autonomous systems in different sectors. Its membership includes a range of leading nuclear sector organizations and other sectors involving Oil and Gas, Offshore, Space, Transport, etc. She has worked seamlessly with the partners in providing underpinning technical expertise to guide the NRN strategy, delivery model and the roadmap. This work has been part of the consultation discussion with EPSRC and Innovate UK, which has helped inform the RAI thematic priority of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Areas of research

Artificial Intelligence, Soft Robotics, Autonomous Systems, Cognitive Robotics, Machine Learning

Teaching

  • Mobile Robotics
  • Advanced Robotics
  • Artificial intelligence

Projects

  • EPSRC Hub - FAIR SPACE

2017 – Present

  • Project name Research Fellowship (ESTIA)

Sep 2019 – Sep 2024

  • Project name Synergy Project (Innovate UK)

Mar 2019 – May 2021

  • Project name An intelligent robotic adaptive gripper for demonstration purposes (Wood Nuclear Limited)

Jan 2019 – Feb 2019

  • Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning

Oct 2017 – Dec 2017

  • Project name Sustainable Manufacturing through Robotics Training in Europe (SMART-E)

Nov 2011 – Nov 2017

  • Project name Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning (Amec Foster Wheeler Nuclear UK Ltd)

May 2017 – Jul 2017

 

Project name: KinectING FRAILTY

Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept (CiC) ROUND 4 2016:

Start date: 01/01/2017

Project name: MIHome

Salford Royal Trust and SallixHome

Capital funding scheme

Start date: 01/10/2016

Project name: Marie Curie-Fellow

EC (Framework),

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani

Start date: 06/2017

Project name: Robotics and Autonomous systems “In Touch”

In Touch Ltd,

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (100%).

Start date: 08/2016

Project name: Autonomous Swarm-Based Mission Planning and Management System

Minister of Defence,

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (100%).

Start date: 02/2016

Project name: EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation - Feasibility Study

EPSRC,

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (50%). Co-Investigator: S Davis (50%).

Start date: 05/2015

Project name: KTP with HellermannTyton Ltd

Technology Strategy Board,

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (50%). Co-Investigator: S Davis (50%).

Start date: 05/2014

Project name: Sustainable Manufacturing through Robotics Training in Europe (SMART-E)

EC (Framework), €4M.

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (83%). Co-Investigators: S Davis (10%), P Scarf (7%).

Start date: 10/2013

Project name: GAMMA: Growing Autonomous System Mission Management Applications (£9M)

Regional Growth Fund,

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani

Start date: 01/2012

Project name: The Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence (ASCE) 2 Programme ( £16M)

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani

Start date: 06/2012

Project name: Challenging established rules for train control through a fault tolerance approach

EPSRC,

Principal Investigator: T Mei (66%). Co-Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (34%).

Start date: 02/2010

Project name: ASTRAEA T7

BAE Systems,

Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (100%).

Start date: 08/2008

Project name: NovelQ - Novel processing methods for the production and distribution of high quality and safe foods

EU,

Investigators: S Nefti-Meziani (35%), J Gray (50%), D Caldwell (15%).

Start date: 03/2008

Project name: Academic Fellowship 2004 (Virtual Environments and Future Workspaces Research Centres)

EPSRC,

Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani (100%).

Start date: 06/2007

Project name: The portal for projects and communities in the virtual organisation domain (VE-Forum)

EC (Framework),

Investigators: S Nefti-Meziani (30%), G Cooper (30%), Y Rezgui (40%).

Start date: 01/2005

Qualifications and Memberships

Qualifications

  • Ingenieur d’Etat (MEng) in Control and Industrial informatics
  • MSC (DEA) in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, University of Paris XII, France. Awarded (ATER). Academic fellowship from the French Government for four years.
  • Doctorate (Doctorat) in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics,

Memberships

  • Vice chairman of the IEEE Robotics and Automation UK and Republic of Ireland chapter,
  • Chartered Member of British Computing society
  • Member of the advisory board of the National UK EPSRC’s centre in innovative manufacturing for intelligent automation
  • The lead academic in robotics for the UK aerospace companies on the ASCEE programme
  • Member, Autonomous Systems Expert Group, North-West Science Council, since 2007.
  • Invited in 2009 to join the core Group of the prestigious Shangh’AI consortium in artificial intelligence and Robotics https://cast.switch.ch/vod/clips/1vxh2ndrz7
  • Member of European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems.
  • Organized and chaired a European workshops CogSys’08 in Munich, June 2008.
  • Associate Editor of ICRA
  • Associate Editor of IROS
  • Member of the prestigious IEEE Technical Committee on Fuzzy Systems,
  • Organizer and the chair the first UK Conference on Cognitive Robotics and Learning October 2011 http://ieee-ukri.org/
  • Programme chair and organizer of an international conference DC Paris in June 2007 (www.nldb.org)
  • Member of an advisory editorial board of Bentham Science Publishers which is a leading international publisher of high quality scientific journals and books (see http://www.bentham.org/cseng/EBM.htm).
  • Chairing a session in IEEE International Conference on E-Commerce Technology, ‘Fuzzy Trust Model for E-Commerce’, Munich, Germany .on 12 July 2005, in July 2005.
  • Chairing two sessions on “Fuzzy application” in IEEE International Conference on SMC, in September 2002 and moIs this meant to say something else too?
  • Chairing a session in UKACC’2008.
  • Member of the IPC IROS’2011 and ICRA 2011
  • Member of the IPC IFSA’2009, 2010 / EUSFLAT’2009,2010
  • Member of the ITC of IEEE IJCNN 2008, 2009,2010
  • Member of the ITC FUZZ-IEEE 2008, 2009,2010
  • Member of the ITC IEEE CEC 2008,2009,2010
  • International Conference on Control (UKACC) 2008
  • Member of IPC of the twelfth ICANL I( - To Date 2007 Paris,France).
  • Member of the IPC of the 4th International Conference on Innovation in Information Technology, Dubai November 18-20 2007, Computing and Information Systems.
  • Member of the IPC of the 2004 International Conference on Algorithmic Mathematics and Computer Science (AMCS’04), IC-AI AAS, IKE, METMBS, AMCS