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Call for Applicants: Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics at ERF 2024

Updated: Feb 16

We are pleased to invite researchers, academics, industry professionals, end-users and beyond to submit their application to the “Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics” session, which will be held in conjunction with the 15th edition of the European Robotics Forum, to be held from 13-15 March 2024 in Rimini, Italy.


Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics

We are excited to announce the launch of the “Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics” session at the European Robotics Forum 2024, recognizing and celebrating innovations in robotics that contribute significantly to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. This session aims to honour organisations and teams that have developed and implemented robotic solutions with a strong commitment to sustainability.


Robots show a high potential to aid sustainability. They have power to catalyse positive change across multiple sectors, from combating climate change to enhancing recycling efforts, reducing manufacturing waste, and even transforming social applications. As the demand for robotics increases, it becomes imperative to ensure that the production and disposal of robots align with sustainable principles. Yet, addressing the sustainability aspect of robotics is no small feat. The journey to design, develop, manufacture, and integrate robots into daily workflows is filled with complexities.


The urgency to assess the long-term sustainability of robotic technologies is undeniable. We must ensure that the use of robots does not inadvertently outweigh their positive impact on our planet. It falls upon the robotics community to define their role in addressing sustainability challenges and strive for a positive impact. 


To catalyse this transformative journey,  the “Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics” has been brought to life. The session aims to acknowledge prioritisation of sustainability in the robotics community and inspire others to do the same.



"Recognizing and celebrating innovations in robotics that contribute significantly to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. "

Sustainability

Sustainability is a broad concept with the semantic meaning referring to the ability to continue over a long period of time. As such, sustainability can be represented in various areas. The concept of global sustainable development was first introduced by the World Commission on Environment and Development, the Brundtland Report from 1987. The report highlights two very important points. Firstly, it emphasised the importance of intergenerational equity, meaning the current generation, through its resource use, today, should not lower potential living standards of future generations. This is also often referred to as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. Secondly, the Brundtland Report argued that for sustainable development to be achieved, it is necessary to balance three core elements: economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies. In essence, economic sustainability refers to practices that support long-term economic growth of an organisation or nation without negatively impacting social, environmental, and cultural aspects of the community. Environmental sustainability requires that the human demand for resources is maintained within the global supply of these resources to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality. Finally, social sustainability demands that human rights are respected, poverty is reduced and prosperity is shared. In general, opportunities and inclusiveness should be expanded for all people today and tomorrow. In 2016, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, social and economic challenges facing our world.


Application Process

The “Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics” celebrates efforts in the robotics community by various actors and highlights their stories and motivations to inspire others on how to work towards sustainability. 


The focus is on two key topics:

  • Robots for Sustainability: How can we use/deploy robots to support sustainability?

  • Sustainability of Robots: How can we make (and use) robots themselves sustainably?


The “Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics” will not choose a single winner. Instead, among all applicants, a set of candidates will be shortlisted to acknowledge their efforts within robotics and sustainability. 


Interested applicants can submit a proposal, which will be evaluated by a jury with experts from the areas of robotics and sustainability. The candidates shortlisted by the jury will get the chance to present their sustainability journey at an ERF workshop. All applicants will be represented in a short video played at the beginning of the workshop.


Who can participate?

Candidates can apply if at least one of the following is fulfilled:


  • They  are developing robots to support sustainability.

  • They use robots to support sustainability.

  • They have a specific focus or dedicated activities on developing/manufacturing robots more sustainable.

  • They support sustainability in robotics through a specific initiative e.g. at the workplace or in a local community.


The focus of the application should be on a specific effort or project reflecting the applicant's work towards sustainability. More information on how to submit a proposal, see application guidelines.


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Organisations, teams, and individuals from within the EU are invited to apply.

  • The submitted applications must demonstrate a clear commitment to sustainability.

  • Applicants can come from different organisations as long as they fulfil the above criteria:

  • SMEs, start-ups 

  • EU-funded Projects

  • Research organisations

  • Large industry

  • End-user 


Benefits from participation

The European Robotics Forum (ERF) is one of the most influential events for the robotics and artificial intelligence community in Europe with over 1000 participants. It is the meeting point for engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, as well as end-users and policy makers in the field of robotics from all over Europe and beyond.


The shortlisted candidates will receive the opportunity to present at an ERF 2024 workshop session and thus become a role model for others to work towards sustainability. All applicants will be represented in a summary video at the beginning of the workshop. 


The shortlisted candidates will additionally receive extended coverage on ERF channels (newsletter article, social media posts) and receive a certificate from the euRobotics Topic Group “Robotics for Sustainability”.


All qualified entrants will receive feedback on their submission from the screening committee. 


In summary, they will receive Wide Recognition, Global Experts Feedback and Unique Networking Opportunity!


Application Deadline

The deadline for submitting applications is February 25 (23:00 CET). Notifications of acceptance will be sent out on March 4. 


Application Form

To be considered for the “Sustainability Leadership Recognition in Robotics”, please complete the online application form. The form can be accessed here.


Application Guidelines

The application form covers the following key areas:

  • About the Project

  •  Title

  • Overview

  • Motivation for application

  • Focus area

  • Applicant information

  • Supporting Documentation (webpage, video, etc.)

  • PDF Attachment


The PDF Attachment should include a pitch presentation. In order to address the confidentiality issue, it is suggested that presentations be kept to information that can be displayed to the public domain.


Your presentation should not exceed 20 slides. Remember, balance is key. Make your presentation informative, visually appealing, and easy to follow. Consider incorporating visuals, infographics, or any other creative elements that enhance the overall appeal. We encourage you to be creative while ensuring the content remains clear and impactful. 


You will be expected to answer the following questions:


  • What is your sustainability effort about?

  • What are the achieved/expected impacts of your project? It is important that applicants highlight their combined efforts across the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion. We encourage all applicants to showcase the unique and compelling aspects of their work that can inspire and make a positive impact.

  • Please provide a detailed description of your roadmap and future plans for the project/initiative. Outline your strategic vision, key milestones, and goals you aim to achieve. Feel free to highlight any innovative approaches, partnerships, or key strategies that will contribute to the success of your roadmap.


Additionally, depending on the focus area of your sustainability effort, the presentation can include information on:


  • Your team (diversity, expertise across sustainability dimensions, etc.)

  • Technological Innovation (how innovatively you incorporate sustainability, how it creates a technological disruption).

  • Does your project engage with local communities and addresses community needs and concerns?

  • Business viability (how the project generates value/financial benefit to your company/organisation, the end-user/customer, etc.)

  • Scalability and Adaptability (e.g. how your project can grow, adapt to changing requirements and technological advancements)

  • Energy Efficiency (how your robotics application ensures energy efficiency)

  • Resource Use: how your project minimises resource consumption, reduces waste, etc.)

  • Lifecycle Analysis (overview of lifecycle analysis, including carbon footprint and emissions data.

  • Product design towards circularity (recycling, repairing, re-using material)

  • End-of-Life Considerations (how your project handles end-of-life components and ensures environmentally responsible disposal)

  • Relevant environmental regulations and standards

  • Confirm compliance with relevant environmental regulations and standards.


Review and Selection Process

All applications will undergo a thorough review process by a panel of experts in robotics and sustainability. The organisers will ensure that no conflict of interests arises and/or take the necessary steps to immediately mitigate any conflict of interest that should arise in connection with the competition and the handling of company information.


Key evaluation parameters 

Entrants will be judged based on these parameters:


  • Demonstrated efforts towards coherent sustainability commitment: applicants have incorporated innovative ideas/sustainability initiatives or have implemented their sustainability measures in an innovative way; or have made use of innovative methods to promote the importance of sustainability among the stakeholders.

  • Achieved and expected impact on one or more of the three dimensions of Sustainability: applicants have implemented/developed sustainability initiatives/ cases with proven positive impact on Economic, Social and/or Environmental dimensions.

  • The evaluation will also include emphasis on the inspirational aspect of each project. Presentations should motivate others to actively support sustainability in robotics. The power of inspiration is a driving force for innovation and creativity. Therefore, applicants will be assessed on the level of inspiration and motivation behind their projects.


Contact Information

For inquiries or further information, please contact


We look forward to receiving innovative and sustainable robotics applications and honouring  the pioneers in the field of robotics for sustainability!








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