Until recently, the BRL carried out extensive yet largely independent research efforts in HRI. Building upon this existing expertise, the laboratory is in the process of structuring it into a strong cross-team HRI theme, aiming at establishing Bristol national and international leadership in Human-Robot Interaction. To reach this goal, the BRL recently recruited of a new professor who is to define and build up this novel cross-laboratory HRI theme.Human-Robot Interaction covers a large academic spectrum, and requires an interplay between technical developments in robotics and several neighbouring academic fields like artificial intelligence and social psychology. As such, the BRL needs to broaden its interdisciplinary expertise to:structure and interface existing research efforts at BRLfoster new interdisciplinary collaborations and projects with external actorsopen new funding opportunitiesgain visibility and recognition across the different academic fields related to HRIAs such, this document makes the case for opening a new senior position, complementary to the recently created professorship, and sketches the expertise and research vision that could be pushed forward.Expected contributionsFederate the HRI efforts within BRLAs of today, 3 BRL groups carry out HRI-related research:the Safe human robot interaction, led by Alex LenzControl for HRI, led by Angelika PeerAssisted Living, led by Praminda Caleb-SollyThose groups produce excellent research, and should certainly not be merged in any way. Instead, it is about federating them around a common HRI theme.Such federating effort can be effectively supported by a range of actions that I propose to take on:Defining a cross-BRL HRI 'brand' (including social media presence, logo and website) to which the different HRI-related groups can identifyjoint student supervisionswrite/coordinate joint funding proposals between groupscreation of a master in HRI to complement UWE/UB master in roboticscreate and organise high-profile seminarsdefine and setup a common technical platform for HRI activities, both hardware and software (ROS expertise)Visibility within the HRI communityBeyond the BRL itself, I propose to support the international visibility and recognition of the BRL as one of the top academic research centre in HRI. I play since 2015 an important and recognised role within the Human-Robot Interaction community (Program Committee of the HRI conference in 2016 & 2017; theme chair in 2017; 10 publications at HRI over the last 4 years, including a best LBR and a Best Paper award).I intend to leverage this position to bring visibility to the BRL, with the specific target to host the high-profile HRI conference in 2021.Public visibility & outreachI have an extensive experience in public engagement: nearly 20 years of science communication with major non-profit organisations like the French Planète Sciences, or the Paris and London Science Museums; media relations, including radios (Swiss national broadcast), TV broadcasts (BBC Arabic, Reuters, Swiss national TV), magazine/newspaper journalists; organisation and participation to major national/international events (eurobot, RoboCon, the South African SciFest festival, the European Robotics Week).I plan to leverage this expertise to further develop public engagement in robotics with the public at local, national and international levels.Attracting major new fundings for HRI at BRL Network- Current BRL partnerships: - TUM (via Angelika Peer; Myorobotics) - Fraunhofer IPA - INRIA - INTRO Marie Curie ITN: Umeå University, Sweden; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, GermanyPersonal acquaintance with key research leaders in Europe: Tony Belpaeme, Angelo Cangelosi, Ana Paiva, Raja Chatila, Alessandro Saffiotti, Rachid Alami, Michael Beetz, Mohamed Chetouani, Herman Bruyninckx, several of the EPFL researchers (Auke Ijspeert, Aude Billard) and direct, personal contact with Francesco Mondada and Pierre Dillenbourg.Supervisors Alami and Beetz are both leaders within the European robotics community, which directly benefited my engagement in the research community by allowing me to take part to selected symposia (like the 2010 Dagsthul seminar on HRI), to be introduced to other research leaders and to get involved into several large European projects (in particular, the FP7-CHRIS project with BRL)New collaborations in the fields of assistive living (Auke Ijspeert, Alessandro Saffioti are active in this field), cognitive manufacturing (Rachid Alami, Michael Beetz have significant contributions in this field)Experience in writing grant applicationsSuccessful application to the Marie Slodovska-Curie European fellowship (individual grant amounting for nearly 200 000 euros), taken active part to the writing of several other FP7/H2020 European projects, in particular the 'Rosely' project (modular robotics for elderly care), or the 'Scottie' project submitted this year also experience with national funding agencies, with proposals sent to the Swiss funding agency (National Swiss Fund)Field Deployment Expertise over the last three years, I have conducted close to ten fields experiments with children and robots, providing me with key insights both on the methodological issues that arise in real-world child-robot interaction and on the interaction and acceptance factors of robotsWithin 3 years, major field experiment involving long-term deployment (> 3 months) of robots in a real-world elderly care centre, in close collaboration with Angelika Peer.Technical Expertiseextensive practical knowledge of hardware (robotic platforms: PR2, Nao, Pepper and several other custom platforms)software (important contributions to the ROS ecosystem, including core components -- support for Py3 -- and support for novel platform -- ROS for Nao), contributions to OpenCV, major open-source contributions -- MORSE, ORO, dialogs, gazr...and software engineering: many lectures and tutorials on ROS, software development, GIT, ontologiesUnify the technical platform for HRI at BRL: one standard, ROS-based software stack, proper software engineering methods (software packaging)Quickly buy 2-3 Pepper robots (15 000 euros each) to be amongst the front-runner on this new platform which is likely to become the new golden standard for HRI (inexpensive, human-sized, designed with real-world deployment in mind, good mobility) -- in particular for assisted living applications.LeadershipLeadership at EPFLPrevious experience: EPFL -> within two years, went from one single PhD studentworking on psychological aspects of HRI within a lab of 30+ to a major researchgroup of the lab, with:3 PhDs,2-3 master students coming for the selective EU ViBOT master,3-4 robotic platforms,joint supervisions with Portugal, France,5 papers accepted at HRI, including a Best Paper Award and one Best LBR award,organization of workshops,major media coverage (BBC, Reuters, several radio + TV channels, > 30 local and international newspapers) for the CoWriter project,several journal papers including Robotics and Automation MagazineTeam leadership with MORSETeam leadership skills in the context of MORSE:initiated the open-source project in 2008,lead developerrapidly took over the role of 'community manager',organizing several dedicated international workshops, designing and conducting many tutorials and hackathons,applying to (and receiving) external fundings for specific developmentsAs a result, MORSE went from a local, small-scale simulator project into a large open-source tool with hundreds of users (the MORSE publications have together more than 130citations) and 40 contributors from 15 labs across the world.Research visionThe research vision I would like to push forward at BRL spans over three directions. First, the development of a functionally complete yet practical 'Bristol Architecture for Social Interaction' with a focus on long-term robot autonomy. This would lead within two years to a long-term (> 2 months), high-visibility field experiment. Then, I would create a basic research track on cognitive architectures. I propose to explore a new hybrid symbolic/sub-symbolic paradigm build on top of associative memory networks. This would aim at developing a general and principled model of social cognition for robots. Finally, I would initiate a forward-looking, exploratory track on deep learning applied to human-robot interaction: applications of deep-learning to robotics are starting to emerge, and offer a promising framework to model the subtle dynamics of natural human-robot interaction.These three dimensions feed each others, and build together an ambitious research agenda in cognitive robotics. I do believe that the Bristol Robotics Laboratory would be an ideal academic environment to carry it through.1 - Complete and Practical Architecture for sHRIcomplete in the sense of covering all of the main surface functions of social interactionspecial focus on long-term autonomypractical in the sense of being focused on actionable principles, continuous deployment on the robots, with measurable outcomes: within 2 years, one major long-term field experiment in an elderly care centre, with expected high public visibility.strong commitment to open-source, standard-based development, engagement with the robotic community to share code and move forward quickly.2 - Cognitive Architectures for Social Human Robot InteractionThe core of my current research agenda:A few social behaviours that I would like a robot to exhibit: behavioural alignment -> surface alignment and/or global alignment -> the original 'maze' task by Pickering and Garrod is certainly relevant here: every time you play the same game with the same person, the interaction is more fluidability to pass false-belief tasks, including non-physical, abstract ones,recursive awareness: being aware of being aware -- typically evidenced by being able to describe/verbalize its own state of awareness'natural' turn-taking: I 'just' know when it is my turn to act'natural' protodeclarative pointing: I 'just' know when I really need to draw your attention on somethingThe word 'just' is clearly the key here: these capabilities should be natural in the sense that they naturally follow from the model.3 - Introduction of deep learning in HRI domains which require longer-term application, such as healthcare and education -> behave in an appropriate manner over longer timescales -> behaviours should be aligned with the humans' expectations.Generating such sustained and engaging social behaviours is an on-going research challenge. The recent progress of deep machine learning opens new perspectives that we should embrace to establish a leadershipsome momentum: RSS WS this year, special issue of IJRR 'Limits and Potentials of Deep Learning in Robotics', but HRI applications yet to be exploredPinSoRo paperQualificationI hold a joint German-French PhD in cognitive robotics, focused on symbolicknowledge manipulation applied to human-robot social interaction. I received forthis work the 'Best PhD in robotics 2012' award from the French National Centrefor Research (CNRS) as well as the highest possible mark ('Summa Cum Laude')from the highly-regarded Technical University of Munich.The PhD looked into characterizing and developing a semantic-aware cognitivearchitecture for service robots, with a strong focus on cognitive interactionwith humans: ontologies, interactive symbol grounding, grounded dialogue,perspective-awareness and Theory of Mind. My PhD work had as well a strongexperimental component, and I have systematically conducted studies in realinteraction scenarios with deployments on a diversity of platforms,including complex robots like the PR2 or the BRL's 'Bert' platform.Previously, I was awarded a joint German-French MSc in engineering (ENSAMParisTech/Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, completed in top 10 out of 1000students). My final project looked at cognitive techniques for intelligentmanufacturing.I also hold a MSc in Artificial Intelligence applied to education from Paris 5University, completed with high honours.ExpertiseSince my PhD, I have significantly broaden my expertise on symbolic knowledgefor interaction both in the direction of artificial cognition for robots (withpublications in leading journals like 'Artificial Intelligence', publicationsand awards in major international conferences including the RoMAN 2010 BestPaper award, the AAAI 2015 Best Video award, and the HRI 2016 Best Paper award)and experimental human-robot interaction, including several weeks-longdeployments of robots in schools and therapists' offices -- this was carried inthe frame of the EPFL CoWriter project which attracted in 2015 major mediacoverage (40+ media outlets, including major ones like Reuters) and recentlyresulted in a publication in the 'Robotics and Automation Magazine'.My expertise in the field of HRI is recognized by my peers: I serve since 2015as one of the 25 program committee members for the selective andhigh-impact 'Human-Robot Interaction' (HRI) conference, and I have been invitedto serve as one of the theme chairs for HRI2017. I have also been awarded in 2015 the prestigiousMarie Slodovska-Curie European Fellowship for a project focused on thechallenges of social cognition for robots (actually entitled 'Donating Robots aTheory of Mind').My expertise is also recognized beyond HRI: besides my numerous technicalpublications in top robotic conferences (ICRA, IROS, RSS), I act as AssociateEditor for the IROS conference; I am also regularly reviewing for the toprobotics journals (IJRR, IJSR, JHRI) and conferences (IROS, ICRA, HRI, RoMAN,ICSR); I have been as well interviewed several times by international mediaoutlets (The BBC, the Fast Company, the Swiss National Radio, etc.) on questionsrelated to robotics and society.According to Google Scholar, my 50+ publications have led to 860+ citations asof today, with an H-index of 14.Besides academic recognition, I also have a recognised technical expertise on arange of robotic technologies. Over the last 10 years, I have directly worked ona range of advanced robotic platforms, including autonomous cars, the PR2 robot,the iCub, Aldebaran's Nao and Pepper robots, and several other custom roboticplatforms, like Munich's dual arms mobile manipulator 'Rosie'. I am acontributor to the ROS core libraries and I have built up ROS support forseveral new platforms, including Nao. I have contribution to the OpenCV computervision library, and I am the creator of MORSE, one of the leading roboticsimulator.Team leadershipDuring my stay at the Computer-Human Interaction for Learning and InstructionLab (CHILI Lab, EPFL, led by Pierre Dillenbourg), I was effectively thecoordinator of the robotic group: I was tasked with growing the at-the-timelimited research activity in Human-Robot Interaction into a strong theme of thelab. I have built a team that has now a recognized presence in HRI (amongstothers, a Best Late Breaking Report award at HRI2014; 7 full-paper accepted atHRI over the last 4 years including a Best Paper award in 2016; and aspreviously mentioned, several journal publications, including major venues like'Robotics and Automation Magazine' as well as a lot of media coverage and publicattention for the lab). I was supervising at time up to 5 (MSc and PhD)students, while playing in parallel an active role in the shaping of thelab-level funding (writing of 2 grant applications, including European grants)and research strategies.Another testimony of my team leadership skills is my role in the 'MORSESimulator' open-source project: MORSE is a versatile robotic simulator that Istarted at CNRS/LAAS in 2008. While I have been very much involved with thedevelopment of the software from the beginning, I also rapidly took over therole of 'community manager', organizing several dedicated internationalworkshops, designing and conducting many tutorials and hackathons, and applyingto (and receiving) external fundings for specific developments. As a result,MORSE went from a local, small-scale simulator project into a large open-sourcetool with hundreds of users (the MORSE publications have together more than 150citations) and 40 contributors from 15 labs across the world.Capacity to supervise and teachTo date, I have co-supervised 6 PhD students (4 are still on-going),co-authoring so far 14 publications with them. As I currently co-supervise twostudents in the UK, I am familiar with British regulations for PhD supervision.I have also supervised numerous MSc students, almost systematically leading toacademic publications in major international venues.In parallel, I teach since 2008, initially as teaching assistant, and morerecently as lecturer. I have conducted a variety of practical works in thefields of computer sciences (teaching Ada, Java, SQL at undergrade andpostgraduate levels), artificial intelligence (Prolog, ontologies at MSc level)and mechatronics. More recently, I have co-designed at EPFL a new undergraduatemodule on visual computing. I proposed and led ambitious practicals involving 3Drendering, computer vision and augmented reality. In 2016, I have beenlecturing the 'Humanoids and Mobile Robots' undergrade module at PlymouthUniversity, which covers a range of subjects, including Kalman filtering,bipedal walking, localisation and mapping and robot control architectures. Itaught as well several guest lectures at postgraduate level at ToulouseUniversity, EPFL and Plymouth University on subjects including ROS, ontologies,RGB-D vision for HRI or the principles of software engineering. Finally, I havebeen invited as faculty to the Social HRI Summer School, where I was teaching onvisual attention tracking in HRI.Capacity to establish collaborations and attract external fundingsThrough my involvement in the different dissemination activities previouslymentioned (like the HRI Programme Committee) and several European projects (mostnotably, the CHRIS FP7 project, which also involved the BRL), I have built adense network of colleagues in the fields of cognitive robotics and human-robotinteraction. This network is particularly developed in Europe, and besidesexcellent relationships with Prof. Rachid Alami, Prof. Michael Beetz, Prof.Pierre Dillenbourg and Prof. Tony Belpaeme with whom I worked directly, I enjoyclose relationships with some of the key European research leaders in HRI andservice robotics like Prof. Ana Paiva, Prof. Alessandro Saffioti, Prof. RajaChatila, Prof. Auke Ijspeert, Prof. Aude Billard, or Prof. Mohamed Chetouani. Ido believe I can build upon this network to establish successful newcollaborations in the fields of assistive living (Auke Ijspeert, AlessandroSaffioti are active in this field), cognitive manufacturing (Rachid Alami,Michael Beetz have significant contributions in this field), and of course,human-robot interaction.I do also have the experience of grant application writing, in particularEuropean grants: besides my successful application to the Marie-Slodovska CurieEuropean fellowship (individual grant amounting for more than 195 000 euros), Ihave taken active part to the writing of several other FP7/H2020 Europeanprojects, in particular the 'Rosely' project (modular robotics for elderlycare), tentatively submitted by EPFL in 2014, or the 'Scottie' project,submitted this year. As such, I have practical experience with the process ofinternational proposals writing and submission.