Robotics expert receives OBE in New Year’s Honours

Rob Buckingham, UKAEA

Professor Rob Buckingham, the Robotics Director at the Culham-based UK Atomic Energy Authority has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to Robotic Engineering.

Rob is a Director of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) based at Culham and the first Head of RACE. RACE is the UKAEA’s centre for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments – deploying robots in places where people cannot or should not work.

Rob was a lead author of the UK’s Robotics and Autonomous Strategy which has been incorporated into the UK’s Industrial Strategy. RACE is a component of delivering this strategy, including nuclear robotics, connected and autonomous vehicles and living laboratories.

Rob said: “I’m thinking about what this OBE means for the future – for UK robotics, for fusion power plant design, for decommissioning, and the difference we can make together.

“Engineering is teamwork. As engineers, we can’t do anything significant as individuals, so this can only be a collective award – it is the UKAEA’s and the Remote Applications in Challenging Environment’s (RACE) honour,” he added.

Before leading RACE, Rob co-founded and was for 13 years the Managing Director of OC Robotics which developed and commercialised snake-arm robots. He won the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal in recognition of his contribution to this new field. OC Robotics was recently purchased by GE Aviation.

In his early career Rob was a National Engineering Scholar, a UKAEA-sponsored undergraduate and then lecturer at the University of Bristol. He holds BSc and MEng degrees from the Special Engineering Program at Brunel University, London and a PhD from the University of Bristol. He is a Charted Engineer, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.