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

University of Bristol

Contract: 4 years

The project:

Are you interested in making machines adaptable?

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.

Do you want to become part of a community of innovators?

FARSCOPE believes that only a cross-disciplinary, cross-application view will enable future innovators to maximize Robotics and Autonomous Systems (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.

FARSCOPE is based at the Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL), a Universities of Bristol and West of England partnership. The BRL is the largest specialist robotics laboratory in the UK where you'll have your choice of PhD specialist topics from over 50 academic supervisors. 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.


EPSRC funding covering fees, stipend, research and travel expenses. Eligibility for these awards can be found here


See our website or contact

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South West England