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International Women`s Day In Association With West Of England Robotics Network & BRL

March 7 -1:00 pm - 3:30 pm


 International Women's Day 2019 campaign theme:


“On March 8, International Women’s Day, the Bristol Robotics Laboratory & West of England Robotics Network  will host a seminar on the gender dimension. Addressing the gender dimension in research and innovation ensures that researchers question gender norms and stereotypes and take into account the evolving needs and social roles of women and men. The seminar will include talks on “Gender and Assistive Robots – Design and User Perceptions” by Prof Praminda Caleb-Solly, “Women in Robotics” by Dr Sabine Hauert and Dr Antonia Tzemanaki, “Athena Swan” by Dr Mark Hansen and a panel discussion on “Tools to build a feminist tech future” moderated by Marta Palau Franco.

Our programme for the afternoon includes the following speakers:

 Professor Praminda Caleb - Solly

 Gender in Assisted Living Robotics Design and User

Praminda is a Professor in Independent Living Systems at the University of the West of England, and Theme Leader for Assisted Living at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

Her research and teaching subject specialisms are Interaction Design and Human-Computer Interaction. Her research into the design and development of smart technologies to support health and wellbeing is further facilitated by a collaboration with Designability, a national ‘assistive living’ charity based at Bath, where she is Head of Electronics and Computer Systems.

Praminda has over 15 years of teaching and research experience working on externally funded projects with partners from a diverse range of commercial and industrial enterprise.

Professor Sabine Hauert

Women in Robotics 

Sabine Hauert is Assistant Professor in Robotics at the University of Bristol in the UK. Her research focusses in designing swarms that work in large numbers (>1000), and at small scales.

Sabine is also President and Co-founder of Robohub.org, a non-profit dedicated to connecting the robotics community to the world. As an expert in science communication with 10 years of experience. Sabine is often invited to discuss the future of robotics and AI, including in the journals Science and Nature, at the European Parliament, and at the Royal Society. Her work has been featured in mainstream media including BBC, CNN, The Guardian, The Economist, TEDx, WIRED, and New Scientist.

 Dr Tonia Tzemanaki


Tonia joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol as a Lecturer in Robotics in January 2019. Prior to this, she was a Lecturer in Mechatronics at Bristol Robotics Lab, UWE since 2017, while also participating in the European H2020 funded project SMARTsurg. Tonia obtained her PhD in Medical Robotics from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the Department of Engineering and Mathematics, UWE in 2016. Tonia is part of Women in Robotics Bristol/South West which is a professional network for women in robotics, and women who want to be.

Dr Mark Hansen

After completing a BSc(Hons) Psychology and an MSc Computer Science at the University of Bristol, I worked as a software developer in commercial and public sectors on a wide variety of applications. I completed a PhD at UWE in 2012 entitled 3D Face Recognition Using Photometric Stereo and now work as an Research Fellow in the Centre for Machine Vision on a wide range of projects. Mark is a Champion for Athena Swan which Recognises commitment to the advancement of gender equality in academia, addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines, professional and support functions and removing the obstacles faced by women.

  Format for the afternoon:

13:00   Welcome - Professor Chris Melhuish Director Bristol Robotics Laboratory

13:10     Introduction - Marta Palau Franco & Alison Wilmot

13:20   Professor Praminda Caleb - Solly – Gender in Assisted Living Robotics Design and User

13:50   Professor Sabine Hauert - with the collaboration of Dr Tonia Tzemanaki (Women in Robotics Bristol) & Mark Hansen (UWE FET Athena Swan) - Women in Robotics

14:20    Panel Discussion and Q&A (Moderator Marta Palau Franco)

  • Praminda Caleb Solly
  • Sabine Hauert
  • Antonia Tzemanaki
  • Mark Hansen
  • Alan Winfield
  • Alison Wilmot
  • Daniel Carrillo Zapata
  • Chanelle Lee

15:15    Refreshments, Cake and Networking (UEZ Café)   


The future is exciting. Let's build a gender-balanced world.
Everyone has a part to play - all the time, everywhere.
From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.
Balance drives a better working world. Let's all help create a #BalanceforBetter.