The $ 5,000 Joseph F. Engelberger Robotics Award is presented by the American Robotic Industries Association (RIA) for "Contributing to the Promotion of Robotics in the Service of Mankind" in the categories of technology development, application, training, and leadership. Gudrun Litzenberger, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Robotics , has received the important industry award for her services as Head of the IFR Statistics Department and World Robotics Statistics including the IFR World Robotics Report. Litzenberger started at the VDMA (German Engineering Association) in 1986, where she strengthened the Robotics and Automation Association in 2002 and already headed the statistics department. She has been responsible for the World Robotics Statistics Survey since 2003.

Esben Østergaard, CTO and co-founder of Universal Robots (UR), has been instrumental in the development of collaborative robotic arms. As the world market leader, UR currently holds a 58% share of all cobots sold worldwide. The President of the RIA, Jeff Burnstein, sees Østergaard as "a visionary who has redefined robotics". His work has led to a paradigm shift in robotics over the last decade, enabling cobots to work in applications and industries today that were unconceivable only a few years back.