European Robotics Forum 2018: Over 900 roboticists meet in Tampere, Finland

The European Robotics Forum 2018 (ERF2018), the most influential meeting of the robotics community in Europe, takes place in Tampere on 13-15 March 2018. ERF brings together over 900 leading scientists, companies, and policymakers for the largest robotics networking event in Europe.

Under the theme "Robots and Us", the over 50 workshops cover current societal and technical themes, including human-robot-collaboration and how robotics can improve industrial productivity and service sector operations.

During the opening of the ERF2018, on 13 March, Juha Heikkilä, Head of unit, EC DG CNECT, explained that "the European Robotics Forum has been instrumental in breaking down silos and bringing together a strong, integrated robotics community in Europe. This year's theme, "Robots and Us", reflects the increasingly broad impact of robotics and allows discussing not just technology but also the all-important non-technological aspects of robotics."

Bernd Liepert, President of euRobotics and Chief Innovation Officer at KUKA highlighted that "“Robots and us” implies that we need to put significant work in topics such as safe human-robot interaction on the technical side, but also raise awareness about the offerings of modern technology to the wider public."

Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, emphasized in her keynote that “digitalization and robotics require changes in mindset from both the public and the private sector in Finland. We, as the public side, create a framework for change, but the responsibility for implementing lies with companies. Robotics and automation walk on the road paved with data. Data that is not shared is benefitting no one. Data needs to be combined with other data and then refined and enriched with knowledge to create value”.

Tomas Hedenborg, President of Orgalime and Group CEO of Fastems, added that “in the era of digitalization, automation and more specifically robotization, is in the core of the transformation. The huge innovation potential includes major societal challenges that need to be tackled in parallel." 

The end of the Opening saw a panel discussion about “How should the society prepare for the rapid development of robotics” with the keynote speakers and representatives of the local organisers.

Photo, from left to right: Tomas Hedenborg, Orgalime/Fastems; Marketta Niemelä, VTT; Minna Lanz, Tampere University of Technology; Jyrki Kasvi, Finish MP; Bernd Liepert, euRobotics/KUKA; Thomas Pilz, Pilz; Juha Heikkilä, EC

The conference showcases the newest research in the field, and the projects funded under EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme. By bringing together over 50 sponsors and exhibitors, amongst them Fastems, KUKA and Sandvik (Platinum sponsors) and Schunk (Gold sponsor), the event offers a unique window to the European robotics, also putting the spotlight on the Nordic markets.

ERF2018 had the honour to welcome Markku Markkula, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, who visited the exhibition area and gave a speech at the reception hosted by the Tampere City Hall.

Photo from left to right: Anna-Kaisa Heinämäki, Deputy Mayor of City of Tampere; Bernd Liepert, President of euRobotics; Reinhard Lafrenz, euRobotics Secretary General; Jyrki Latokartano from The Robotics Society in Finland; Markku Markkula, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions

The Awards Ceremony on 14 March will announce the winners of the Georges Giralt PhD Award 2017 and 2018, the TechTransfer Award 2018 and the European Robotics League Season 2017-2018 Awards.

After its start in San Sebastian in 2010, The European Robotics Forums has grown into a major annual event with hundreds of attendees every year. In 2017, the conference was held in Edinburgh.

The European Robotics Forum is organised by euRobotics under SPARC, the Public-Private partnership for Robotics in Europe.  ERF2018 is hosted by The Robotics Society in Finland in collaboration with Tampere University of Technology.

The European Robotics Forum 2019 (#ERF2019) will be held on 20-22 March 2019, in Bucharest, Romania.


About euRobotics and SPARC

euRobotics is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels with the objective to make robotics beneficial for Europe's economy and society.  With more than 250-member organisations, euRobotics also provides the European Robotics Community with a legal entity to engage in a public/private partnership with the European Commission, named SPARC.

SPARC, the public-private partnership (PPP) between the European Commission and euRobotics, is a European initiative to maintain and extend Europe’s leadership in civilian robotics. Its aim is to strategically position European robotics in the world thereby securing major benefits for the European economy and the society at large.

SPARC is the largest research and innovation programme in civilian robotics in the world, with 700 million euro in funding from the European Commission between 2014 to 2020 which is tripled by European industry, to yield a total investment of 2.8 billion euro. SPARC will stimulate an ever more vibrant and effective robotics community that collaborates in the successful development of technical transfer and commercial exploitation in all regions.


Journalists may request a free press pass, or support with interviews, by contacting:

Project Manager Jyrki Latokartano,, tel. +358 40 706 0122
Professor Juhani Lempiäinen,, tel. +358 45 670 1580
Professor Juha Röning,, tel. +358 40 518 1621
Twitter: #ERF2018