The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)-led robotic chemist project has received a total of £1.02m in new research funding.

The funding for the two-year project will support the development of technology needed to deliver critical analytical capabilities for chemical, biological and explosives analysis.

It is being backed by the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) defence innovation unit, along with the defence equipment and support (DE&S), and the department for transport.

The University of Liverpool will be working on the project through its start-up firm ‘Gearu Robotic Research’.

The project is aimed at identifying a robotic solution to conduct two chemical processes related to the analysis of environmental samples and explosives.

Following this initial phase, a follow-on contract will be proposed for the completion of the project

Counter Terrorism and Security Division fellow and project instigator David Groves said: “This is an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of the application of such technology, which has the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of our chemical analysis services for the benefit of all of our defence and security customers.”

The team has already identified potential workflow process and regulatory environment related challenges for the robot and are being addressed.

Dstl staff are currently reviewing the first report on the project scope. This data will help with understanding when the mobile robotic system can be expected to be seen working at Dstl Porton Down.

Last month, Dstl scientists announced that they would lead the CUE2021 urban military exercise.