press release
Published: 11 March 2019

FAIR-SPACE Hub to boost AI and robotics research with new £1m funding pot

The Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE) Hub has launched its new Innovation Project Fund and support Partnership Programme to grow the Hub’s partnerships in response to the changing demands of the space robotics industry.


This new funding marks a great opportunity for us here at FAIR-SPACE to work with creative and innovative companies looking to make their mark on the space sector. Our ultimate aim is to integrate world-class academic and industrial capabilities and to understand how machine learning and robotics can impact the space missions of the future.

Professor Yang Gao, Professor of Space Autonomous Systems

The FAIR SPACE Hub is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the UK Space Agency, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Extreme Environments Challenge.

FAIR-SPACE, part of the University of Surrey, is offering a rolling programme of funding of up to £1 million until 2021 to help research and innovation projects that go ‘beyond the state-of-the-art’ in space robotics and autonomous systems -- via new emerging research topics and applications -- in order to facilitate long-lived robotic operations in space.

Opportunities for prospective partners also include industry secondments, internships and a voucher scheme that will give businesses access to the FAIR-SPACE lab equipment and facility network. In addition, there is a unique ambassador programme that will engage representatives from industry, academia and the wider public sector to represent the Hub internationally in order to not only facilitate greater collaboration between industry and FAIR-SPACE, but also to develop STEM related career skills through its outreach activities. Apply or find out more.

Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, commented: “FAIR-SPACE is the UK’s first national hub of research excellence on Future Artificial Intelligence & Robotics for Space. It is leading research into state-of-the-art AI and robotics technologies to enable future space robots to repair satellites, assemble large space telescopes, manufacture products in space, remove space debris, extract natural resources and deploy infrastructure.”

Mark Gaskarth, Head of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council part of UKRI, said: “FAIR-SPACE is one of four research hubs that form part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Extreme Environments Challenge. The Challenge aims to increase the productivity of the nuclear energy, space, deep mining and offshore energy sectors. FAIR-SPACE brings together business and academia to work together in partnership to develop solutions and accelerate commercialisation of robotics and artificial intelligence technologies.”

The FAIR-SPACE Hub is a UK national centre of research excellence in space robotics and AI. 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.

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