Dr. Hamidreza Kasaei of the Bernoulli Institute has been awarded the Gratama Science Award 2022. The award is intended for young, promising researchers and was awarded at the UG Ceremony of Merits on July 1. Kasaei received the award for his research on two-armed robots that learn to manipulate objects on the basis of visual information.
Nowadays, robots are rather capable of completing fixed tasks within a defined environment, however changes in the environment or task require complex, time-consuming, and thus expensive, re-programming by experts. Kasaei initiated the Lifelong Interactive Robot Learning lab, in which robots learn to adapt to new environments, gradually learn new concepts, and learn to communicate with non-expert human users, without any need for re-programming. This has led to the development of socially relevant applications, from agricultural to medical robots.
Kasaei´s research on data-efficient open-ended machine learning methods has contributed to a breakthrough in cognitive robotics. In addition, he has also made an important contribution to the renewal of the Robotics degree programme, which is attracting a strongly increasing number of students. Kasaei is also a prominent speaker at leading global conferences on robotics and machine learning.
The Gratama Science Award is intended for young, promising, and active academics who distinguish themselves through innovative and societally relevant research. The Award is awarded either to a staff member of the UG or of Leiden University, alternating each year. The winner receives EUR 20,000.
The annual UG Ceremony of Merits focuses on accomplishments. Researchers, other employees or students who have made an important contribution to the University of Groningen in the past year are given the spotlight. The Ceremony of Merits was held for the first time this year. Previously, the event existed under the name UG Summer Ceremony.
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