School of Computing EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant Studentship

University of Leeds - School of Computing

Project title: Planning, control, and learning for intelligent robotic manipulation

  • Funded PhD project: International and UK/EU
  • Value: Funding covers the cost of fees for international and UK/EU students and provides a maintenance allowance of £14,296 per year a maximum of 3.5 years.
  • Number of awards: 1
  • Application Deadline: 18 November 2016
  • Supervisors: Contact Dr Mehmet Dogar ( to discuss this project further informally. 

Project description:

You, as the PhD student, will develop intelligent robotic algorithms and systems for object manipulation tasks. Example tasks include a robot reaching into a cluttered shelf to grasp objects (similar to the tasks in the Amazon Picking Challenge, and a robot using tools to cut and drill objects (similar to the tasks in the Darpa Robotics Challenge). You will conduct research in this exciting area, hugely important for the intelligent technologies of the future, working with Dr Mehmet Dogar, who recently moved from MIT to Leeds.

Particular topics include:

  • Manipulation planning using physics-based predictions of object motion,
  • Machine learning for manipulation planning and control,
  • Manipulation based on tactile sensing (e.g. artificial skin),
  • Multi-robot collaborative manipulation, 
  • Human-robot collaborative manipulation, and
  • Manipulation planning for flexible manufacturing and assembly.

Nevertheless, even if you do not have any familiarity with these topics, please do not hesitate to apply if you are interested in intelligent robotics and if you have a strong academic record.

You will be working in a lab equipped with new, state-of-the-art, robotic equipment (including a UR-5 arm on a Ridgeback omni-directional base, a bimanual Baxter robot, multiple Robotiq robot hands with force/torque sensing, and OptiTrack motion tracking). University of Leeds recently made a $6.5M investment in robotics research and in a Robotics Center ( that our lab is affiliated with.

There will be opportunities for external collaboration, particularly with MIT and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), which our group has strong ties with. This project will build on Dr Mehmet Dogar’s previous work carried out at CMU and MIT, focusing on physics-based object manipulation and intelligent robotic assembly.

Students from Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Control Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Mathematics departments, and other related fields are welcome to apply.

Applicants must have a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2.1), or equivalent, in computer science, mechanical engineering, electronic and electrical engineering, mathematics, robotics or another closely related discipline.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

To apply for this position please complete an application form which is available via the following link:

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