The Institute of Systems and Robotics, based in the University of Coimbra (ISR-UC) is a private, non-profit research institution founded in 1992 with the global purpose of setting up a first class multi-disciplinary research team, able to carry out leading edge research in several important areas of science and technology, with a special emphasis in systems and robotics. ISR promotes advanced multidisciplinary R&D in the areas Mobile Autonomous Robotics, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Search and Rescue Robotics, Robotic Manipulation, Computer Vision, Medical Robotics, Assistive Technologies, Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Industrial Automation Technologies and Intelligent Energy Systems.
ISR was evaluated in 2018 by an FCT international panel with EXCELLENT. Currently ISR integrates the Associated Laboratory ARISE – Advanced Production and Intelligent Systems. ISR gives special attention to international scientific research cooperation with centers of excellence, as well as to training and education Initiatives. ISR has also developed strong links with industry, either existing national and international companies, or promoting the creation of spin-offs. Two of its spin-offs Optisigma and Perceive 3D received in 2015 SME AWARDS from the H2020 EU Program. ISR has a strong track-record in the publication in international top journals and conferences, as well as in participation in national and international R&D projects.
ISR-UC is organized in seven Activity Areas with significant scientific and technological synergies:
- Human-Centered Mobile Robotics
- Field Robotics
- Medical Systems and Robotics
- Computational Intelligence and Control
- Artificial Perception and Cognition
- Visual Perception Intelligent Energy Systems
The success of the unit relies on the existing strong collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, which allows the unit to tackle highly complex scientific and technological challenges. Regular workshops stimulate collaboration that will be a key tool for addressing complex multidisciplinary problems and integrating the knowledge towards cognitive systems, as well as knowledge dissemination. Many research proposals and ongoing projects require researchers to take advantage of the complementarity of skills of the researchers and partners, resulting in high quality publications and joint supervision of PhD Thesis.
ISR has strong interaction with some of the best research centers around the World, participating in large international projects. ISR also participates in networks of excellence in the robotics area and wants to keep organizing scientific meetings at the highest level (e.g. IROS, ICRA, IEEE ITSC, ROMAN).
The activities in the unit are highly interdisciplinary by nature with strong interaction between the activity areas. Moreover, ISR actively collaborates with the Faculty of Medicine, health institutions and research centers (CNC-Center for Neuroscience, Rehabilitation Rovisco Pais Hospital, IBILI- Optical and Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences Institute) and a variety of high technology industries.
Training and education activities are of high importance in order to enable cross-fertilization and innovation across disciplinary boundaries. ISR plays an active role in several doctoral programmes and provides experimental and scientific guidance to a large number of MSc students. Furthermore, training and education is a key element for community building and the generation of an open and stimulating culture. The primary training and education activities will be supervision of students and mentoring of postdocs in an everyday basis but also exchange of researchers with high quality research centers in different periods of the year. The existing cooperation with national and international industry (e.g. Google, PSA Group, Efacec power and automation equipment, Portucel paper group, CIMPOR cement group, EDP Electric Utility, National Money Authority Casa da Moeda, Brisa Motorways, Schneider Electric, ABB Corporate Research, and WEG) is planned to be increased with joint projects. ISR also wants to keep promoting technology transfer and the creation of spin-offs associated with the development of research results with a large market potential.
The Institute of Systems and Robotics have been cooperating with IPN-Instituto Pedro Nunes (www.ipn.pt), a regional technology transfer organization from Coimbra, Portugal. The Vice President of IPN has been for the last 10 years asenior researcher of ISR, ensuring a strong link between ISR and IPN. IPN has a very successful incubator, being responsible for the creation of over 80 companies, and having won the first prize for best incubator at EU level.