Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani OBE Doctorat D’etat, DEA, Ing d’Etat, CEng

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Chair in Robotics and AI
Director of the Birmingham Robotics Institute

Contact details

Department of Mechanical Engineering
School of Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani OBE is Chair in Robotics and AI and Director of the Birmingham Robotics Institute.


  • Professor of Robotics and AI and Director of the Robotics Institute
  • Doctorate d’Etat in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Paris, France
  • DEA in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, University of Paris, France
  • Ingenieur d’Etat, The University of Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria


Professor Nefti-Meziani is an international leading expert with 25 years of experience in AI and robotics. She has recently been awarded an Order of the British Empire for her services to Robotics and featured as the 2020’s top 30 world’s women in robotics you need to know about by Silicon Valley Robohub, the largest scientific community in robotics.

She has a well-established track record and has published extensively in the aforementioned areas (more than 200 publications) which have appeared in very high impact factor journals and the most prestigious international publications in Robotics, Computer science and Engineering. She has made fundamental contributions in low-cost robotics technologies has developed wider practical cross-sectorial technologies through numerous commercial and research projects, funded by EU, EPSRC, RE, Innovate UK, RGF and ERDF and has pioneered their use in many sectors including Food, Agriculture, Nuclear, Transport, Aerospace and Healthcare through several projects. These technologies include force augmentation exoskeletons, haptic gloves, soft sensors, dextrous and novel end-effectors.

As part of the £8.5 million Integrated Innovation in Nuclear Decommissioning competition, led by Wood and funded by the NDA, Innovate UK and BEIS, her robotics solution was part of the technologies selected to pass to the third stage of the competition for the final demonstration on Sellafield site planned for 2024.

Professor Samia has extensive experience of leading and managing large scale multidisciplinary research projects, cross sectorial as PI and Co-I, including Marie Curie ITN SMART-E (£4M) in robotics for suitable manufacturing and the Northwest Centre in Food Automation (£5m).

More recently she has led the development of the new multi-million pounds (£18M) North of England Robotics Innovation Centre co-funded by ERDF and Research England. She has also led the development of the centre of excellence in Intelligent Automation for supply chain 4,0. She was a Co-I on the £23M Advanced Machining and Productivity (AMPI) Strength in Places, and the £25M EPSRC National Hub in Robotics and Future AI for Space Technology (FAIRSPACE). Her research has attracted significant national media coverage, on Sky, the BBC, ITV and Granada, in addition to print and online media.

Professor Samia with the support from Sellafield, NDA and the EPSRC Autonomous Intelligent systems partnerships (AISP) established the National Robotics Network (NRN), which is an associate partner of the UK RAS-SIG as a forum to promote Robotics and Autonomous systems in different sectors. Its membership includes a range of leading nuclear sector organizations and other sectors involving Oil and Gas, Offshore, Space, Transport, etc. She has worked seamlessly with the partners in providing underpinning technical expertise to guide the NRN strategy, delivery model and the roadmap. This work has been part of the consultation discussion with EPSRC and Innovate UK, which has helped inform the RAI thematic priority of the £395m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

She is the former Vice Chairman of IEEE Robotics and Automation UK & RI, Co-director of the EPSRC National Hub in Robotics and Future AI for Space Technology (FAIR-SPACE) and Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems and she is serving as an Advisory board member for the RGP, the Asian council and the EPSRC centre for innovative manufacturing and intelligent Automation. She is also a member of the Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College and reviewer for UKRI, Finland research funding agency and EC.

Chaired by DSIT, she is currently the lead on the UK Cross-Industry RAS Development Task Force initiative, funded by EPSRC, which aims at shaping the policies and initiatives for the UK's effort to develop a world-leading market and innovation environment for exploiting advancements in RAS. This task force involves Industry influencers, many national infrastructure organizations, including DFT, DEFRA, NHS, UK Space Agency, Lower Thames Crossing, Sellafield Ltd, Network Rail, National Highways and many others from the UK- Cross Industry RAS Development Task Force Network.


Current projects

  • Project: UK Task Force for Cross Sector RAS Development.
    Funder: EPSRC , UK RAS network
  • Project: Safe robotics manipulation in glove box through use of AI
    Funder: Sellafield Ltd.

Previous projects

  • Project: Advanced Machinery Productivity Initiative (AMPI)
    Funder: Strength in places fund, Research England.
  • Project: EPSRC Hub Future Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for SPACE
    Funder: EPSRC, ISCF fund
  • Project: NERIC-North of England Robotics Innovation Centre Funder: Research England
  • Project: Centre of Excellence in Intelligent Automation and industry5.0
    Funder: Research England
  • Project: Synergy - Connected and autonomous (CAV) vehicle
    Funder: InnovateUK
  • Project: ITN Marie Curie –SMART-E
    Funder: H2020
  • Project: Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning
    Funder: BEIS, NDA, InnovateUK and Sallafield Ltd

Other activities

  • 2023: Lead Academic of the UK Task Force Cross sector Regulations Standards and Ethics Commitee
  • 2022- to Date: Lead Academic on the UK Cross-Industry RAS Development Task Force
  • 2019 - to Date: Executive Board Member for the UK-Government Robotics Growth Partnership
  • 2021 - to Date: Co-Director of the National EPSRC Hub in Robotics and AI for Space
  • 2015 - to Date: Executive member of the National Robotics Network