Lincoln to launch world beating centre for Agri-Food Robotics

The world’s first CTD (Centre for Doctoral Training) in Agri-Food Robotics is being launched in Lincoln.

The centre will produce the largest team of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS)

The robot, ‘Thorvald’, at work on a Lincolnshire farm
  • specialists for the global food and farming sectors. This is thanks to a multi-million pound award.

The University of Lincoln will collaborate with the Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia.



The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)  awarded over six and a half million pounds for the CTD, which will result in a the development of high-level robotics to boost agricultural food production.

The CDT will provide funding and training for at least 50 doctoral students, who will be aided by major industry partners. The students will hold expertise in areas such as autonomous mobility in challenging environments, the harvesting of agricultural crops, soft robotics for handling delicate food products, and ‘co-bots’ for maintaining safe human-robot collaboration and interaction in farms and factories.

Professor Tom Duckett, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Lincoln, is the new Centre Director. He said: “Automation and robotics technologies are set to transform global industries – within the UK alone they will add £183bn to the economy over the next decade.

Agri-food is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK – twice the scale of automotive and aerospace combined

Agri-food is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK – twice the scale of automotive and aerospace combined – supporting a food chain, which generates a Global Value Added (GVA) over 100 billion, with nearly 4 million employees across the world.

In the new CDT in Agri-Food Robotics, all 50 students will follow a common foundation year, studying on the new MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the University of Lincoln. Then 20 of the students will carry out their PhD studies at Lincoln, 20 at Cambridge, and 10 at UEA.

The extensive association with the agricultural-foods industry will enable the students’ research to be furthered towards future careers.

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