New MRC-Microsoft partnership focuses on improving diversity, innovation in robotics and autonomy

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The Maryland Robotics Center and Microsoft Corp. announced a new strategic partnership focused on improving diversity and innovation in robotics and autonomy, helping to meet the growing demand for engineering talent even as trends show declining student enrollments. students from diverse backgrounds in the field.

The Microsoft Robotics and Diversity Initiative is a one-year partnership worth $100,000 starting in the fall 2022 semester; it will support the doctorate. scholarships, a series of seminars, an undergraduate course, and student-led STEM diversity groups.

It’s exciting to receive this level of support and generosity from Microsoft to amplify our ongoing diversity initiatives,said Professor Derek Paley, director of the Maryland Robotics Center with a cross-appointment in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Systems Research Institute. “This donation will particularly support activities in robotics and applied autonomy, complementing our other ongoing efforts in AI and machine learning.”

The partnership has several components, starting with the Microsoft Diversity in Robotics and Autonomy PhD. Scholarships. They will support two doctorates. students for one academic year as part of their research in robotics and modeling, simulation and experimentation of autonomous systems. The Maryland Robotics Center will leverage support from Microsoft, fund tuition and benefits for these Microsoft Fellows.

The Microsoft Future Leaders in Robotics and Autonomy seminar series will allow students in Maryland to learn from emerging experts in robotics and autonomy, in a context that celebrates diversity and innovation.

A hands-on undergraduate course in robotics programming will be part of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems minor program. Students use the open source robotic operating system and other tools to design, implement, and test a robotic system. Microsoft will contribute to the cost of providing students with additional robotic programming devices.

The partnership will also provide support to student-led STEM diversity groups, supporting their robotics-related missions and activities for the academic year. These include the Black Engineers Society, Society for Professional Hispanic Engineers, Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Society of Women Engineers.

With the exciting future of robotics and autonomy in sight, Microsoft enthusiastically supports the efforts of the Maryland Robotics Center to train the next generation of technology leaders,“said Timothy Chung, Senior Director of Robotics at Microsoft. “We celebrate and appreciate the positive benefits of diversity and inclusion as part of the broader robotics community.”

Source: https://umd.edu/

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