One thing that always causes us difficulty in our work is getting time to take the results of some of our projects and to run with them to try them out with more people, with students and on challenge problems or test cases. There just is never the time to set aside to really closely supervise and work with students for example to allow us to put some of the intellectual effort in to make these really worthwhile pieces of work.

So, I would like your advice.... do you think the following might be an attractive proposal that we could submit to EOARD. We have a "cliff" of funding that drops off mid next year, so we have plenty of time, but getting some feedback so we can free up the time of those who would be involved to really get onto this would be very good. A proposal put in later this Autumn that could be reviewed in time to get commitments early next year, would allow myself and John Levine to be freed up by late Summer for a start around that time. That is when some of our current heavy commitments come to an end, and the timing would allow us to shift one teaching module of the 2 we are responsible for onto another colleague who we would fund from the grant. We would be ready then as the new intake of MSc students arrives in October 2002 to build student interest ready for their project starts in February 2003. If we can arrange funding for 2 to 3 years, this could build nicely over that period. Are 3 year grants possible?

The idea is that we would ask for a small grant (unusually) to cover the time of myself and a senior colleague, John Levine, so that we had some extra time to work with students and other research associates on their projects. We would not ask for the researchers or students themselves to be funded, but the extra resources would allow us to engage ourselves. This would be instead of the usual need for us to sell our time externally to provide the resources we need to act as PIs on projects. Travel costs to engage with fellow US researchers and at US workshops would give us some breathing space.

The project we have in mind is to take the results of our current I-X process panel work done under DARPA CoABS program funding, and work now underway on the UK EPSRC funded AKT project and to leverage that on a number of student projects, plus engaging with other related projects at Edinburgh that could deploy some of the ideas if we had time to communicate them to others. We would write a number of position papers with the time we had available through this funding.

The focus we would call I-Rescue - standing for "I-X applications to Rescue". We would use this to engage with those interested in Robo-Rescue internationally where we could start to look at how we can encourage students at Edinburgh to use the RoboCup Rescue Kobe earthquake disaster relief scenario to focus their work. Our initial aim would be to consider how to provide a palm held device to support a rescue team member. This would have local on-board task and planning support, and be link via a temporarily deployed wireless network in the disaster relief zone to a portable container based deployed base station with powerful command, planning and control capabilities. There is a possibility of linking to US colleagues (such a those at ISX Corporation who we have good working relationship with) involved in Command Post of the Future or similar programs.

The proposal would be developed further. You appreciate that the scale of this is enormous and we would not tackle all of the aims of such a wide ranging proposal with just a little of the time of two senior people. But EOARD funding might be enough to give us some space to engage with others and communicate the excitement and interest of working in disaster relief scenarios with AI and Knowledge-Based Systems technologies.