The combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics has become a disruptive technology in the recent past. After a long period of steady and incremental progress, the technologies emerging from this field of research will soon have a major impact on the way we live and work. Examples of breakthrough technologies include autonomous cars, massively improved computer vision, human-level Go players, and knowledge-processing systems that beat human champions in quiz shows. These recent advances have caused substantial shifts in research agendas and have also received much attention in the media. On the business side, the world‘s largest companies are investing heavily in these technologies, hoping to gain an early advantage and be in the driver’s seat when the markets really take off. Their expenditures already exceed worldwide public research funding by a wide margin. This raises important questions for science and public policy: How can research institutions and academic research as well as enterprises – including small and medium-sized ones (SME) – benefit from these technologies? And how will they be able to influence their further development? Answering these questions requires a research and innovation strategy that synergistically combines three separate ideas: “Cognitive Robotics” with its extensive field research, “Digital Innovation” as a driving force in related fields such as Machine Learning and Big Data Analysis, and “Open Research” as a sharing mechanism that combines the strengths of the individual stakeholders. The Bremer Universitäts-Gespräche 2016 symposium will bring together researchers, hi-tech companies, major corporations and users of these technologies to explore the opportunities and risks of such an approach. It will attempt to generate impulses for shaping a future research strategy for cognition-enabled robotics solutions which benefit all stakeholders.