SICSA Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme – Multiple visits to European Institutions

12 July 2022,

by Chris Xiaoxuan Lu, University of Edinburgh

Hi, I am Chris, a lecturer in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. My research broadly studies Cyber Physical Systems and Mobile Robotics, with a focus on unleashing their promise in challenging but critical environments, such as search and rescue, autonomous driving in bad weather and surgery robots inner body.

Funded by the SICSA Saltire Emerging Research Scheme, I managed to visit multiple world-leading research groups aligning with my research interest. These include the Prof. Koen Langendoen and Dr. Guohao Lan at TU Delft, Netherland; Dr. Claudio Paliotta from SINTEF, Norway; Prof. Kostas Alexis at NTNU, Norway; Dr. Petros Daras from CERTH, Greece; and Prof. Federico Alvarez from UPM, Spain.

The outcomes of this research exchange are fruitful and yield both new grant proposals and paper submissions. I have joined the consortium led by the CERTH researchers for the upcoming Horizon Europe bid on “Enhanced situational awareness and preparedness of first responders and improved capacities to minimise time-to-react in urban areas in the case of CBRN-E-related events”. Additionally, with the researchers in SINTEF, we have identified another Horizon Europe call in early 2023 and are now at the stage to assemble the consortium together. Due to Brexit and the uncertainty of the UK’s association result with Horizon Europe, EU researchers today are very hesitant about whether to have a UK institution in their consortium; none of the above proposals could happen this time if my Saltire exchange trip is not in place. On the side of research collaboration, Guohao Lan’s students and mine are collaborating on a project together about how to accurately track the eye gaze of firefighters in the wild and use the tracked gaze information to estimate the cognitive load of firefighters to prevent fatigue accidents during the search and rescue mission.

Last but not least, over the 3-month time, I gave six seminar talks in total at the TU Delft (two departments separately), CERTH and SINTEF (two departments separately) and UPM, Madrid. These talks improve the research visibility of my home institution (U of Edinburgh) and the theme development of the SICSA community, to some level, repairing the links with the leading researchers in the EU after the damaging impact of Brexit and COVID’19.

I would like to thank SICSA and the SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme. It was beyond just an honour to be selected but also leads to timely and practical helps to my career under the impact of Brexit and pandemic lockdown.

This entry was posted in Blog.