Joseph F. Engelberger

Robotics Awards

The Joseph F. Engelberger Award

The World's Most Prestigious Robotics Honor

Named after Joseph F. Engelberger, known throughout the world as the founding force behind industrial robotics, the Engelberger Robotics Award is the world's most prestigious robotics honor. The awards are presented to individuals for excellence in technology development, application, education, and leadership in the robotics industry. The Leadership Award is given each year, while the other categories are rotated by year.

The 2019 Joseph F. Engelberger Robotics Awards will be presented during Automate on April 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The awards dinner will be held at McCormick Place - Vista Ballroom at 5:30pm. For more information and to purchase a ticket to the dinner, please visit and click "Register." Tables are also available for purchase.

Meet the 2018 Award Winners
Awards Fact Sheet
A Tribute To Joseph F. Engelberger
Joseph F. Engelberger Foundation Grants

Selection Criteria & Process

Application Award


Leadership Award


Technology Award


Education Award




Gudrun Litzenberger

Gudrun Litzenberger

2018 Engelberger Robotics Award for Leadership

Gudrun Litzenberger is General Secretary of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Litzenberger joined the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) in 1986. In 2002 she transitioned to the VDMA Robotics+Automation Association where she took responsibility for statistics in the fields of robotics, assembly technology and machine vision. After the foundation of the IFR Statistical Department in 2003, Litzenberger assumed responsibility for the World Robotics Statistics from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and compiled the annual study World Robotics from 2005. Over the years, World Robotics has developed into the international benchmark for global robot statistics covering all relevant market related activities of industrial and service robots. In 2008, Litzenberger was appointed General Secretary of the IFR. The IFR connects the world of robotics around the globe and now represents over fifty members from more than twenty countries.

Esben Østergaard

Esben Østergaard

2018 Engelberger Robotics Award for Technology

Esben H. Østergaard is Chief Technology Officer and Cofounder at Universal Robots, one of the inventors behind the UR cobots, and is responsible for the enhancement of existing UR cobots and the development of new products. During his years as researcher and assistant professor in robotics and user interfaces at University of Southern Denmark, he created the foundation for a reinvention of the industrial robot. In 2005, this led him to found Universal Robots together with two of his research colleagues. Besides his work as CTO Østergaard is participating in national research projects and he is also an external examiner at several universities in Denmark. Earlier in his career, he worked as a research scientist at USC Robotics Labs in Southern California and also at AIST in Tokyo as a visiting researcher.

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