The Bayes Centre Forum series is intended to create the opportunity for Members & Partners of the Bayes Centre, the wider University community and external business guests to interact, share experiences and explore multi-disciplinary AI and data science research collaboration opportunities.

November’s Forum will provide a quarterly overview of the University of Edinburgh activities in data science and AI and how the Bayes Centre supports the adoption and translation of data science and AI technologies for businesses and organisations.

Speakers include:

Please note, this event will be online only, a Zoom link will be sent to your email prior to the event.

Danu Robotics is developing a revolutionary robotic waste sorting system to help the waste management industry significantly increase their productivity, prevent valuable resources going into landfill, boost the circular economy and clean up the environment.


The world generates 3 billion tonnes of domestic solid waste annually, less than 10% of it is recycled. Worldwide, recycling sites require human intervention to pick out contaminants, which can pose health risks and is extremely inefficient.

Xiaoyan Ma founder of Edinburgh-based, clean tech company Danu Robotics, has combined her expertise in high performance computing (HPC) with her passion for the environment to revolutionise the efficiency of the recycling sector by developing an AI-powered, robotic sorting system.

She explained: “I have been a committed environmentalist since I was a teenager and always recycled my household waste, but I’d never thought about where it ended up. So, a couple of years ago, while I was studying, I decided to look into the whole process, and I was shocked at how inefficient it was.”

The Challenge

As a team of one, Xiaoyan needed help in identifying additional resources to support the development of the robotic solution. She required both experts in robotics and hardware development. She also called for help with software development and computer vision expertise. Experts in advanced data analytics and image recognition capability, would help develop a more accurate machine learning algorithm and object classification to enable the robotic system to differentiate between recyclable materials and general waste.

Following an introduction from John Hill, her student enterprise advisor at Edinburgh Innovations, Interface made several connections to different academic teams to support Danu Robotics on their journey of development.

The Solution

Interface connected Danu Robotics into the Design Manufacturing & Engineering Management (DMEM) department, at the University of Strathclyde. The DMEM students undertook a six-month project researching and developing the robotic picker equipped with a camera to identify objects and an appropriate algorithm to instruct the picker to pick out the recyclables and place them in a designated area. The robotic picker needed to meet predefined performance requirements, and in addition, the solution had to be durable, recyclable/sustainable, affordable, portable and re-programmable. Several options were considered to design robotic pickers that were fit for purpose ranging from, a custom solution where the robotic picker uses a suction and release mechanism rather than grab and release, to the modification of an off-the-shelf robot arm/picker to the combination of hard robot and soft robot.

In conjunction to this project, Interface also connected Danu Robotics into EPCC at the University of Edinburgh to develop software for identification and classification of objects and to define suitable hardware, including sensors and cameras, for the robotic picker.

The software development phase required development of a machine learning algorithm that takes image data and sensor data to differentiate recyclables from the general waste. The company had to build up a waste image database to help the system identify contaminants, the collection of the image data was supported by Glasgow City Council. Each item in this visual database was then labelled by a specialist data processing company and the updated database used to ‘train’ the machine learning algorithm to identify what can and cannot be recycled.

With initial system training complete, the software required further development to direct the robotic sorting system to remove contaminants from a moving conveyor belt as efficiently and effectively as possible. Working with EPCC’s Cirrus supercomputer resources, accelerated the development of the project, with two months of lab tests to integrate the software with the robotic hardware, followed by a three-month trial of the prototype system at Glasgow City Council’s recycling centre.

The initial collaboration with EPCC was funded by a SFC Innovation Voucher, then EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) funding which in turn helped leverage £70K in a SMART Scotland grant. They have recently secured SFC Advanced Innovation Voucher funding to continue development work with EPCC.

Other opportunities which Interface have been instrumental in assisting Danu Robotics with include:

The Benefits

  • The development of a revolutionary robotic system for the recycling and waste management industry to significantly increase recycling efficiency;
  • Danu Robotics’ prototype can work at 40 picks per minute versus trained human operators that work around 10-20 picks per minute.
  • It can reduce the contamination rate from current level of 50%, to 10% to below 1% while saving on operating costs ranging from 30% to 100%.
  • The technology can be used by any recycling facility worldwide regardless of its size, its current technology or location. It can support recycling activities in both developed countries and developing nations.
  • Danu Robotics’ efforts are paying off with several large European recycling companies showing interest in the product.
  • Since inception in 2020 Danu Robotics has grown from 1 to 10 employees and has raised £275K from Sustainable Ventures and Old College Capital, £160K Smart funding, £75K EDGE Funding, £43K in support from Higgs Business Incubation Centre and £20K from SFC innovation voucher scheme.

The Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) supports life scientists from across the breadth of life sciences research from animal, human, microbe and plant research. This two day conference is open to students and staff from within the 13 SULSA members as well as external partners in the private and public sector and will focus on industry engagement, for both collaborative R&D and employability.

Day one will focus on industry-academia collaboration with ample opportunities to network with commercially minded academics, industry open to collaboration and organisations that can support.

Day two will focus on employability and skills development and run similar to a recruitment fair providing the chance for talented and proactive undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff to network with life sciences employers.

Interface Director Amelia Whitelaw will be speaking on Day 1 on Bringing the Right People Together Across Industry and Academia and we will also be exhibiting, we look forward to seeing you there.

All information can be found here.

Data Summit is Scotland’s celebration of innovation, data, and AI. We’ll welcome thought leaders from around the world to tackle some of the biggest questions humanity faces today. Our interactive and bustling exhibition area is an excellent opportunity to connect with visionaries, experts, and enthusiasts alike.

Please join Interface in attending and visit our exhibition stand.

All event details on keynotes, panel discussions, full agenda and ticket booking can be found here.

On 31st August at the GRID at Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh an event is taking place to signpost some of the support available locally within Edinburgh to help businesses to unlock growth and success. Discover how the National Library of Scotland, Interface, Edinburgh College and Universities (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Queen Margaret University and Heriot-Watt University) can help, from upskilling, to collaborative funding.

This event is a one-of-a-kind platform where businesses of all shapes and sizes can come together with representatives from renowned universities and stakeholders within the city. This event aims to showcase the valuable resources and expertise available in Edinburgh to businesses, enabling them to thrive in an ever-evolving market landscape.

During this event attendees will also be able to enjoy refreshments and a light breakfast, with ample time dedicated to networking.


9.00 Registration & breakfast (tea, coffee, pastries)

9.30 Welcome (HWU) and (ECC)

9.42 Second presentation (National Library)

9.49 Third presentation (University Representative)

9.56 Fourth presentation (Edinburgh College)

10.03 Fifth presentation (Interface)

10.10 Closing Remarks

10.12 Networking

10.30 Close

Louise Arnold of our Business Engagement Team will be presenting on the day on how Interface can help businesses innovate and collaborate.

Calling all Scottish tech innovators and entrepreneurs! Attend an event, where the worlds of venture capital and tech startups collide. This event is designed to equip you with the knowledge, inspiration, and connections needed to take your startup to new heights.

A distinguished panel of experts, comprising seasoned venture capitalists and experts, including Chris Neumann, Marvin Liao, Monique Woodard, Casey Lau, and Mike Sigal, will take the stage to share their invaluable insights on what it takes to become investor ready. From securing seed funding to scaling your business, these experts have witnessed and supported countless success stories.

Prepare to be inspired as we dive into dynamic panel discussions featuring local tech founders who have successfully attracted investments and scaled their ventures. Learn from their experiences, challenges, and strategies for achieving investor readiness in the fiercely competitive landscape of Scottish tech startups.

Amidst the thought-provoking discussions, you’ll have the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and, of course, our esteemed panellists. Forge meaningful connections, foster collaborations, and uncover exciting opportunities during the networking refreshments that conclude the event.

Don’t miss out on this pivotal event that promises to unlock new pathways to success for your tech startup. Secure your spot today and embark on a transformative journey toward investment readiness and accelerated growth in the vibrant Scottish startup ecosystem.

Who is this event for?

This event is specifically designed for Scottish tech innovators and entrepreneurs who are eager to attract investments, scale their startups, and take their businesses to new heights. Whether you’re an early-stage founder seeking seed funding or an established startup looking to secure additional investments for growth, this event offers valuable resources and guidance for tech entrepreneurs at all stages.

The 2023 Creative Informatics Innovation Showcase will explore and celebrate a host of inspiring data-driven projects taking place across the creative industries in Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

Come along to this free event to find out more about the innovative products, services and experiences that have been developed by creative individuals and organisations with funding and support from Creative Informatics.

Early registration is open now! There are 2-day tickets, 1-day tickets and online tickets available. Full programme details will be announced soon.

This one-day event will showcase impact success stories, offer you a chance to find a partner from another Scottish university, and give you the opportunity to access funds for impact collaborations. Inspirational sessions include a keynote speech from Mark Miodownik and skills development and networking facilitated by Skillfluence.

The IAA Impact Festival is organised by the five Scottish universities with EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs): University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University and University of St Andrews.

Plenary sessions

Our keynote speaker is Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at UCL. He champions materials science research that links to the arts and humanities, medicine and society. Mark established the Institute of Making, where he is a director and runs the research programme. He also recently set up the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub to carry out research into solving the environmental catastrophe of plastic waste. Mark is a broadcaster and writer on science and engineering issues, and believes passionately that to engineer is human. In 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to materials science, engineering and broadcasting.

The keynote will be followed by lightning talks from impact leaders from the five leading Scottish universities in science and engineering. The speakers will share their experiences of creating different types of impact from social and policy impact to industry collaboration, commercialisation and company creation. Learn how our speakers have leveraged the support available to them to further their career and translate their research into impact. The speakers are:

Interface will be exhibiting at this event so come and join us.

The Scotsman Data Conference 2023 is bringing together key decision makers, data sciences business leaders, media and thought provoking influencers – this hybrid conference is a must attend event for those who want to be part of the discussion and influence Scotland’s Data community.

Hosted with the University of Edinburgh, this year the conversation evolves from the 2022 conference and will feature a range of virtual and in person panel discussions and keynote presentations. Join the conference for a day of industry keynote speakers, informative breakouts and panel discussions and extensive networking opportunities.