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Oxford Robotics Institute attends prestigious events to celebrate Queen’s Anniversary Prize Award

Members of ORI and the University of Oxford attended the Prize-winners’ Dinner in Guildhall and the Award Ceremony at Buckingham Palace this week to celebrate the award for innovation in autonomous robotic technologies.

On Wednesday 21 February, following months of anticipation, academics, staff and researchers from the Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) accompanied the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford to celebrate winning the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Price Award at the Prize-winners’ Dinner in Guildhall. The following day, ORI staff and students joined other prize-winners at Buckingham Palace to watch as the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Professor Paul Newman (CBE) received the Prize award from Her Majesty The Queen. 

Attendees from the ORI described the ceremony at Buckingham Palace as 'amazing' and 'a wonderful occasion'. Laura O’Mahony, ORI Administrator, noted that “it was a very special experience to be able to take time to celebrate the institute and its peoples’ achievements”. 

Her Majesty Queen Camilla shakes hands with Professor Irene Tracey. Professor Paul Newman accepts a rolled certificate in the background.

This year’s winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, the highest national honour available to university and further education colleges across the UK, were announced in November at a reception at St James’s Palace.

The Prizes recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which demonstrate excellence and innovation and deliver real benefits to the wider world. First awarded in 1994, the Prizes are granted every two years by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister following an independent review process carried out by the Royal Anniversary Trust, an independent charity. 




Addressing the prize-winners by letter, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote “I want to say a huge congratulations to the winners of the 2022 -2024 Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education. I know this year’s honours will be particularly special as we remember the late Queen Elizabeth II and her long -standing support for these awards, and for the tremendous good that education can bring.”

“As your work shows, there is some extraordinary work taking place in British colleges and universities today – and it is being conducted in a spirit of inquiry, public good and a quest for knowledge”.

Following the announcement of the award, Professor Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said, "I am thrilled that the Oxford Robotics Institute has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. Their work is a fantastic example of our researchers collaborating with industry to come up with cutting-edge solutions to the world’s challenges, from supporting sustainability in agriculture to improving safety in manufacturing. Congratulations to all those involved!".

Notable achievements from the ORI that were highlighted in the prize include:

  • Producing RobotCar, the first autonomous vehicle permitted on public roads in the UK , with support from EPSRC and Nissan;
  • Developing navigation technology that will fly on ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover;
  • Influencing Sellafield and the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s robotics strategies for safer, cleaner nuclear energy;
  • Driving innovation in hardware, perception, control and decision making for robotics in extreme environments, as a major participant in the UKRI Industry Strategy Challenge Fund Robots for a Safer World programme.
  • Validating the safety and capability of robotics technologies in over 380 field trials in locations as diverse as Icelandic volcanoes, the Atacama Desert, mines in Wiltshire and Kentucky, Loch Ness; and the surroundings of the JET fusion reactor;
  • Partnering in DigiForest, a Horizon Europe project developing innovative robotics and analytics technology to enable sustainable forestry (including supporting quantification of a forest's carbon sequestration);
  • Publishing over 900 papers and raising over £40M of funding from research councils, companies, and donors;
  • Generating at least 22 patents, 70 Intellectual Property licences and four start-ups;
  • Developing the next generation of AI and robotics researchers by training over 120 PhDs, 40 postdoctoral researchers, and at least 60 Masters students.

Further information about the Awards can be found on the Queen's Anniversary Trust website.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Irene Tracey and Professor Paul Newman accept the Queen's Anniversary prize on behalf of the Oxford Robotics Institute