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Research Team

Prof. Nefti-Meziani holds Doctorat D’etat in robotics and artificial intelligence and is Director of the Centre for Autonomous Systems & Advanced Robotics, and Chair of Robotics at the University of Salford. In this role, she leads a multidisciplinary team of 6 academics and 12 researchers  in automation, robot/machine design, dexterous end effectors, legged robots, soft robotics, biologically-inspired robots, haptics/telepresence, physical human-robot interaction, rehabilitation robotics, cognitive robotics, uninhabited autonomous systems. She is an internationally leading researcher in  embodied intelligence and cognition. She has 25 years’ experience in advanced theoretical research in the areas of embodied intelligence, advanced robotics where the focus of her contribution is in the development of concepts, mechanisms and algorithms. She has pioneered the first application of  Soft Robotics in manufacturing.

She has published extensively in the above areas and the rigorous quality of her publications in AI and Robotics is evidenced by their high impact factors in Journals. The application value of her research has attracted significant national media coverage on Sky, the BBC, ITV, Granada, in addition to  print and on-line media. She has wider practical cross sectorial technologies including Nuclear Food, Agriculture, Nuclear, Aerospace & Defence, and Healthcare through several projects.

She has also extensive leadership experience as a former Director of the Doctoral School of the 6* IRIS Research Institute (2005-08). She has been responsible for 150 doctoral students and all postgraduate research provision across various departments, and has nurtured a strong research culture and  environment, which received the highest award for research environment (4*) in the 2008 (RAE). She has successfully supervised and graduated more than 30 PhD students and has extensive experience running very successful industrial sponsored robotics PG programmes at national and international level which  attract more than 100 post-graduate students every year.

Prof. Nefti-Meziani is a proven strategic leader of multi-national, multi-sector, multi-faceted and complex Robotics & Artificial Intelligence research programmes. She is renowned for her extensive experience of leading and managing large scale multi-disciplinary research projects, funded by EU,  involving multiple academic and industrial partners. Examples include the research and training programme SMART-E (€4m), for which she is the PI and which included 20 partners, comprising 7 academics and 13 companies, RobotCub (€8.5m), NovelQ (€11.3m) and ASTRAEA(£32m) and also the GAMMA (£9m) project  that engaged 50 SMEs with 46 research proposals. She was also heavily involved in the management and delivery of CENFRA (£5m) and ASCEII(£16m. Through these programmes, and 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. She has also managed and delivered other projects funded by innovateUK and EPSRC as PI and Co-I.

She is co-founder of the Northern Robotics Network (NRN), which is an associate partner of the RAS-SIG. Its membership includes a range of leading nuclear sector organizations. She has worked seamlessly with the partners of the NRN’s industrially led Extreme Environment Cluster across a wide cross-section  of industry sectors. This work has been part of the consultation discussion with EPSRC and innovate UK, which has helped inform the area of focus of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. She is Vice Chairman of IEEE Robotics and Automation UK & RI, Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy  Systems, served as Advisory board member for Chamber of commerce in France, the Asian council and the EPSRC centre for innovative manufacturing and Member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College.

Research Grants

Project name: KinectING FRAILTY

Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept (CiC) ROUND 4 2016: Full application, £ 91,021

Start date: 01/01/2017

Project name: MIHome

Salford Royal Trust and SallixHome

Capital funding scheme, £ 352,586

Start date: 01/10/2016

Project name: Marie Curie-Fellow

EC (Framework), £70.000

Principal Investigator: S Nefti-Meziani

Start date: 06/2017

Project name: Robotics and Autonomous systems “In Touch”

In Touch Ltd, £60,000.00.

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

Start date: 08/2016

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

Minister of Defence, £36,916.00.

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

Start date: 02/2016

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

EPSRC, £49,924.00.

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

Start date: 05/2015

Project name: KTP with HellermannTyton Ltd

Technology Strategy Board, £152,176.00.

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, £312,137.00.

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, £345,887.00.

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

Start date: 02/2010

Project name: ASTRAEA T7

BAE Systems, £20,000.00.

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, £71,725.00.

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, £125,000.00.

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), £136,106.00.

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

Start date: 01/2005

Dr Steve Davis graduated from the University of Salford with a degree in Robotic and Electronic Engineering in 1998 and an MSc in Advanced Robotics in 2000. He then became a Research Fellow gaining his PhD in 2005 before moving to the Italian Institute of Technology in 2008 as a Team Leader. He returned  to Salford in 2012 as a Lecturer in Manufacturing Automation and Robotics.  His research interests include soft robotics, actuators, biologically inspired systems, biomimetics, humanoid robots, end-effectors and dexterous hands, industrial automation and automation for the food industry. He  has published extensively with more than 63 publications, many in high impact factor journals such as SoRo. He has also co-authored chapters in two books on automation and has two patent. In addition he contributed to the UK-RAS White Paper “Agricultural Robotics: the Future of Robotic Agriculture”  and has produced 40+ confidential reports for food, and other, companies highlighting to them potential areas of automation. These companies have ranged from small family businesses through SMEs to large multinational organisations. Dr Davis has been associate editor at several IEEE conferences and was  Guest Editor of special editions of the journal Actuators. He has experience of attracting research funding, most notably the €3,948,470 Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) SMART-E (Sustainable Manufacturing through Advanced Robotics Training in Europe).

Research Grants

  • GAMMA: Growing Autonomous System Mission Management Applications, Regional Growth Fund, 12/10/2012  
  • Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN). Co-I Sustainable Manufacturing through Advanced Robotics Training in Europe. November 2013 – October 2017. €3,948,470.  
  • KTP – Hellerman Tyton. TSB. £169,502, November 2013.  
  • Soft, safe and variable stiffness continuum manipulators. EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing, May 2014, £50,000.
  • ntegrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning. Innovate UK. December 2017. £121,278.
  • Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIRSPACE) Hub. EPSRC. November 2017. ~£700,000
  • See Dr Steve Davis' research profile on SEEK
  • See Dr Steve Davis' publications on USIR

Dr Theo Theodoridis holds a PhD degree on crime recognition surveillance robots from the University of Essex, UK. He worked as a postdoctoral research officer (EPSRC grand) on multimodal human-robot interfaces, visual guidance as well as pattern recognition control methods at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Currently he is working as a lecturer in robotics, mechatronics and advanced embedded systems in the school of CSE at Salford University in Manchester, UK, and he is an active researcher and a supervisor of several PhD students. He has been a principal and co-investigator of several research grants and attracted funding at a national level (Regional Growth Fund: CO-I, £312K, Medical Research Council: CO-I, £91K, Innovate UK: CO-I, £50K, BBC RDF-TV: PI-I, £10K, and CST RDF Fund: PI-I, £6K). He is also a honorary visiting professor in Mechatronics at Manipal University – Dubai, and the inventor of the home service robot Carebot that has participated in a BBC documentary attracting significant national media coverage. Also, Dr Theodoridis is a reviewer and author of several leading journals of the field such as the IEEE transactions on Systems Man and Cybernetics, Human-Machine Systems, and Evolutionary Computation.

Research Grants

Dr Saber Mahboubi received the bachelor’s degree in power engineering from the University of Rajaee, Tehran, Iran, and the M.Sc. degree in mechatronics from the University
of Tabriz, Iran. Before his Ph.D., he worked as a researcher fellow with the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Germany.  He then became a Marie Curie research fellow gaining his PhD in Robotics from the University of Salford, UK. He is currently
a post-doctoral research fellow at the centre of Autonomous System and Robotics, University of Salford.Saber’s research interests include biologically inspired systems, variable impedance mechanisms, robust control, Robotic manipulation and artificial intelligence.

Dr Majeed Soufian (MIEEE) has a history of successful research collaboration and funding alongside a commitment to teaching and development of young researchers and PhD students. His research collaborations include both academic, industrial and government agency partners. He obtained his degrees from UMIT (University of Manchester), MMU and University of Oxford.  Dr Soufian has published with others over 70 research articles in international conferences and journals with a research interest in eSystem engineering, robotics, machine learning and AI, computer science and software with applications in modelling, control, autonomous vehicle navigation, IoT, data science, pharmaceutical, medical microbiology, health, nuclear, Cybersecurity of industrial automation and autonomous systems especially CAV (Connected and Autonomous Vehicle) and so on. He has reviewed articles for many scientific publications for Chapman & Hall, SAGE, Elsevier, ACS publication, Sciedu press and sits on the International Editorial Review Board of Artificial Intelligence Research (AIR), and International Programme and Steering Committees of "Developments in eSystems Engineering (DeSE)". He has had and been involved in a grant portfolio of over £1.3M funded by major research councils, DTI, industrial partners and universities.

His industrial experience also includes establishing and managing an industrial R&D group for design and development of an electro-optic sensor and semi-automatic navigation system of an autonomous mobile object, and over four years in Numerical Algorithms Group where his expertise were utilised in the development and porting of numerical algorithms (the .Net optimisation routines that can be used for machine learning) with some HPC (High Performance Computing) practices. He has also worked as a visiting scientist in STFC (Science and Technology Facility Council), Daresbury Laboratories toward a feasibility study of multiscale modelling and developing a distributed system software for it.