PhD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems FARSCOPE (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training)

University of Bristol - Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of the West of England

The project:

FARSCOPE’s vision is that the key to future development in robotics is adaptability; making machines that can play more integrated roles in the real world. For example:

  • An assisted living robot will have to work alongside (or at least around) its owner. It’ll need to adapt to the unexpected things we humans sometimes do.
  • A flying rescue robot deployed into a damaged building must find its way around autonomously despite unexpected obstructions, obscured lighting and other hazards. It must adapt to the uncertainty in its environment.
  • A worker robot in a small business needs to make different components in small batches. Taking it offline to be reprogrammed by an expert simply isn’t economic. It’ll have to learn each new task from a human instructor and adapt its skills to each new role.

These require a much higher level of intelligence than state-of-the-art robots today. They embody technical, industrial and social issues. This is why it’s essential for topics in robotics (advanced control; computing; soft robotics) and in autonomous systems (artificial intelligence; computer vision; human-robot interaction) to be studied together.

FARSCOPE believes that only a cross-disciplinary, cross-application view will enable future innovators to maximize RAS’ potential. We've enhanced the standard individual PhD in various ways to give you the best possible start on your RAS research and innovation career:

  • Specialist taught modules in a wide variety of RAS technologies to equip you for research.
  • Exposure to a diverse range of industry and academic RAS topics to give you a broad view of the potential and context.
  • Cohort-based skills training including enterprise, public engagement, communication and research methods.
  • Group projects and industry study workshops to foster creativity, practical skills and integration.

You'll have your choice of specialist topics from over 50 academic supervisors.

FARSCOPE is based at the Bristol Robotics Lab (, the largest specialist robotics laboratory in the UK, plus you will have access to all the combined facilities of both partner Universities.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this PhD at Please select Robotics and Autonomous Systems FARSCOPE (EPSRC Centre for Doctorial Training) on the Programme Choice page. Start date: September 2018.

Candidate requirements:

We are looking for exceptional students with at least an upper second-class honours degree in an Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or related subject. Other disciplines will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


FARSCOPE has funds to support up to ten UK/EU students per year including fees, stipend (at standard RCUK rates), research and travel expenses. FARSCOPE has no internal funding for non-EU students. Students with their own funding can also join the FARSCOPE programme.