Eduard Fosch-Villaronga from Leiden University has been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). This grant of 1.5m euros enables talented early-career scholars to start their own pioneer project, lead a research team, and implement their best ideas at the frontiers of their discipline.

Eduard Fosch-Villaronga received the grant for his project SAFEandSOUND. With this project, Eduard aims to make healthcare robots safe and sound for society.

There is an increasing gap between the speed of policy cycles and that of technological change, he explains. ‘This gap is very noticeable in healthcare robotics, where policies are scattered and cover the issues robots entail unevenly. This disconnect results in robot developers failing to integrate essential legal considerations into their designs, user safety not always being ensured, and the development of systems that may cause harm to patients. While other sectors enjoy evidence-based policies that translate policy goals into practical guidance, these frameworks have yet to emerge for robotic technology.’