Partnership Fund

The ORCA Partnership Resource Fund (PRF) enables the Hub to expand its current work into new areas with a clearly identified industrial need.

The 2019 ORCA Call for Proposals received a large number of high-quality applications and, following a thorough and independent review process undertaken by our expert science panel, we are pleased to announce that ORCA PRF funding has been awarded to nine projects.

Participating researchers will benefit from the strong interactions established within the Hub as well as the multidisciplinary aspect of the expertise represented in the current themes. The PRF funding is intended to fund research activities relating to the existing strategic themes through an identified white space, innovative complimentary research or a collaborative project with an industry partner or partners. Successful proposals will work to advance the Hub’s research and technology through clearly defined impact acceleration activities.

The 9 PRF projects will bring an additional 8 institutions into the Hub, as well as expertise from 14 new Co-Investigators. The projects will also create an additional 21 research associate posts across the UK.

ORCA PRF Project Institutions

ORCA PRF Projects


Project Name: HUDSON – Harvesting of Underwater Data from SensOr Networks

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr Catherine Harris, National Oceanography Centre

Partner Institutions: University of Oxford, Heriot-Watt University, Newcastle University


Project Name: ROBMAN: Robust Robotic Manipulation of Physical Structures Under Water

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr. Mustafa Suphi Erden, Heriot-Watt University

Partner Institutions: Glasgow Caledonian University


Project Name: Multi-Sensory Robot Skin to Monitor Water Quality in Harsh Environments (MUSES)

Lead Investigator & Institution: Prof. Ravinder Dahiya, University of Glasgow

Partner Institutions: Heriot-Watt University


Project Name: Rigorous Graphical Explainable AI for Higher-Risk Applications

Lead Investigator & Institution: Prof. Mike Chantler, Heriot-Watt University

Partner Institutions: Edinburgh Napier University


Project Name: Swift, Reactive Aerial & Ground Inspection of Industrial Facilities (SWIFT)

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr. Maurice Fallon, University of Oxford & Dr. Stefan Leutenegger (Imperial College London)

Partner Institutions: University of Oxford and Imperial College London


Project Name: Towards the Accountable and Explainable Learning-enabled Autonomous Robotic Systems

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr. Wenjie Ruan, Lancaster University

Partner Institutions: University of Liverpool


Project Name: COVE: Continual Verification and Assurance of Robotic Systems under Uncertainty

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr. Radu Calinescu, University of York

Partner Institutions: Heriot-Watt University


Project Name: Mixed-Reality Enhanced Telepresence for Remote Inspection and Monitoring with Multiple Aerial Robots

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr Hai-Nguyen (Hann) Nguyen and Dr. Mirko Kovac, Imperial College London

Partner Institutions: University College London


Project Name: High-speed Under-Water Optical Communication with Advanced Modulation and Signal Processing Technology (UWOC)

Lead Investigator & Institution: Dr. Xu Wang, Heriot-Watt University

Partnership Fund proposals were reviewed by the following members of the ORCA International Scientific Advisory Panel (ISAP):

Professor Gregory O’Hare (University College Dublin)

Professor Anthony (Tony) Cohn (The Alan Turing Institute)

Professor Christopher Bailey (University of Greenwich)

Dr. Simon Watson (University of Manchester)

Professor Lorenzo Strigini (City University of London)

Prof. Rob Richardson (University of Leeds)

Dr. Mohan Sridharan (University of Birmingham)

Prof. Manuel Giuliani (University of Bristol)

Divers under offshore oil platform

Simon Reeve - VP Technology & Innovation, Lloyds Register:

"The oil and gas sector is really looking at how it can continue to be effective to get the maximum output from the North Sea, but also keep costs down and improve efficiency, and improve safety. So the ORCA Hub is critical in providing the skills and the technologies that will be necessary for that journey."

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