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A fusion of industry and academic expertise in emergent technologies 

The industry-academic collaboration driving MIMRee’s ambitious vision comprises an astonishing spectrum of expertise: offshore renewable energy and integrated engineering, applied electronics and robotics, artificial intelligence and space mission planning, as well as bionanotechnology innovation. 


Dr Atif Syed, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Wootzano Ltd, whose background is in electronics and nanotechnology engineering. He is an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Dr Syed is the co-ordinator and his company Wootzano will work on the 'inspect and repair robot capabilities' work package.

Hamish Macdonald, Engineer at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, is leading the determinisation of end user requirements and the system specification specific to MIMRee's offshore wind O&M application; assisting with the validation and demonstration of the integral robotic technologies. Hamish has a PhD in wind turbine systems, specialising in wind turbine blade damage. He is also involved in many of the robotic and leading edge erosion activities within ORE Catapult's portfolio.

Alan Wardlaw, Project Manager at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, is also the designated Project Manager for the MIMRee programme ensuring that a timely schedule and financial monitoring takes place alongside the delivery of the project plan, deliverables and objectives. He is also responsible for the project management in work packages being led by ORE Catapult. Prior to joining the ORE Catapult in 2014, Alan worked for 10 years in project management and implementation roles within the recruitment, outsourced payroll and HR software platform industry.

Professor Sara Bernardini, from the Department of Computer Science at Royal Holloway University of London, is developing MIMRee’s core artificial intelligence software and human-machine interface.

Richard Packer, Chief Engineer at Thales UK, oversees the integration of the Thales Halcyon autonomous vessel with the MIMRee system and development of the vessel’s role as ‘mothership’ throughout the project. Richard and the Thales team bring experience ranging across aerospace, defence, digital security and space exploration.

Barry Connor, Thales UK, is leading a team developing a rotating blade camera imaging system for inspection of wind turbine blades, while the turbine is still operating.

Dr Sina Sareh, Academic Leader in Robotics at the Royal College of Art’s School of Design, will design the robotic arm for the blade repair robots which will allow them to resurface and repair layers in the composites. His field of research comprises advanced anchoring models for robotic mobility and manipulation, as well as development of solutions for healthcare communications, surgical operations and additive manufacture.

Nikos Panagopoulos MSc, Senior Project Engineer at Plant Integrity, is leading the development of the robotic blade crawler’s payload for inspection and repair. He brings electronic design, embedded programming and sensor interfacing expertise to the team.

Dr Atif Syed, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Wootzano Ltd, whose background is in electronics and nanotechnology engineering. He is an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering. On the MIMRee project, he will lead the integration of Wootzano’s electronic skin for robots (Wootzkin) into the repair robots’ feet, providing them with sensory and data-gathering capabilities, as well as supporting blade-walking abilities.

Tony Fong CEng, Meng, Engineering Lead (Robotics and Autonomous Systems), Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. Tony is a chartered engineer with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering and leads the engineering team focussed on Robotics and Autonomous Systems applied to offshore wind. He has wide experience testing, validating and demonstrating robotic technologies applied to offshore wind O&M.

Dr Simon Watson, Senior Lecturer in Robotic Systems at the University of Manchester, is collaborating on the design, build and testing of a bespoke drone for deployment of repair robots. His background includes development of mobile robots (aerial, wheeled, legged and crawling) for hazardous environments, including nuclear decommissioning and offshore renewable energy facilities.

Dr Tom Richardson M.Eng, Senior Lecturer in Flight Mechanics at the University of Bristol, is a leading specialist in aerial vehicle control for a range of applications including classical flight technologies and high-level autonomous decision-making.