Self-reconfigurable modular robotic manipulators for space

This project is a collaborative initiative by the University of Surrey and Airbus, UK. The successful candidate will join the Surrey Space Centre (SSC), a world-class institution for space engineering research and the project will be carried out in the Robotics and Control Research Group within SSC. 

Application deadline
Funding information

This studentship, jointly funded by EPSRC and Airbus, is for 4 years starting from 1st October 2018. This position is open to citizens of the UK or Europe who meets EPSRC’s residence requirements. The funding will fully cover your annual UK/EU fees, which is £4,260 for 2018/19. Further, you will receive a tax-free maintenance grant of up to £14,777 for 2018/19 and thereafter, the stipend will increase in-line with the RCUK rate annually.  We will also cover the travel costs to present your research at national and international conferences. Find out more about the EPSRC stipend levels and indicative fees for 2018.


It will be in partnership with the Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP), which is a leading UK research centre in audio-visual signal processing, computer vision and machine learning.  SSC and CVSSP are two research active centres within in the Department of Electronic Engineering at the University of Surrey, and the successful candidate will join a group of over 100 other research students in related areas.

This EPSRC industrial PhD studentship falls within the framework of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) – one of the eight great technologies identified by the UK Government. Advancements in RAS will enable a multitude of orbital space missions such as servicing and maintenance of operational spacecraft, assembly of large astronomical telescopes and Radars, and debris removal. The project aims at developing a new generation of adaptable robotic manipulators that will be capable of changing their morphology through self-reconfiguration of their modular arm/s and hand/s. This involves developing a modular design for the link-joint pairs of the arm with an interchangeable and reconfigurable robotic compliant hand. Deep learning techniques will be used to train the robot manipulator to undertake routine tasks in a semi/autonomous manner. 

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have a First or Upper Second class honours degree, ideally a masters in Engineering (Robotics/Control/Space/Aerospace/Electronics/Electrical/Mechanical/Mechatronics), and be able to demonstrate good problem solving and analytical skills.  Computing background in Matlab, Simulink, C/C++ and SolidEdge will be an advantage. Applicants are expected to have good hands-on-skills, excellent communication and presentation skills. Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with no sub-test of less than 6. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly to arrange a suitable time for an interview.    
You must also attach a CV, certified copies of degree certificates and transcripts, a personal statement describing relevant experience (maximum 2 pages), 2 references, and proof of eligibility (eg passport or residence permit).

How to apply

For informal enquiries prior to application please contact Dr. Mini Saaj.

Formal applications should be submitted through our programme page. You should make clear in your application that you are applying for this studentship.

The studentship will remain open until a suitable candidate is found for October 2018 entry.

Application deadline

Contact details

This studentship is now closed for applications.

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