Heriot-Watt University

Assistant Professor in Robotics

Heriot-Watt University – Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS)

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry. 

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages. Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort 

Shaping Tomorrow Together 

The university is running a campaign to identify key academic talent join us across our Edinburgh, Galashiels, and Dubai campuses and across multiple Schools and Disciplines. You will join as an Assistant Professor. This is an exciting campaign to kick off in late 2022 and into 2023. So, we are really interested in hearing from you as we look to you to help us shape tomorrow together.

About our Team  

We are seeking applicants for one position in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) at Assistant Professor level to join our faculty team associated with the new National Robotarium and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR). We seek candidates with research interests in the development of cutting-edge solutions in autonomous systems and robotics. Candidates will have a research interest in any aspects of RAS. We are especially interested in profiles willing to work on real world problems in close collaboration with industry to support applications such as (but not limited to) the net-zero transition, manufacturing, field robotics, healthcare and assistive living and agritech using robotics solutions.  

As a leading international technological University, Heriot-Watt University is recognised for its world-class research, knowledge exchange and educational programmes.  The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences is one of the most successful engineering faculties in the UK, rated number one in the UK (with University of Edinburgh) for research power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment of UK research quality. With over £25 million annual research income it is a recognised research leader in Physics, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and Robotics. Computer Science in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences was ranked equal 1st in the UK for its world-leading research environment as well as the impact of its research. As a small-scale university, we have a strong collaborative and multi-disciplinary research culture.  

The candidate would also have a chance to collaborate with the University of Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (edinburgh-robotics.org), which is a £120 million joint venture between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities, supported by EPSRC, Industry and the Universities. It captures the expertise of over 70 principal investigators of international standing in 12 research laboratories and institutes across the full range of engineering and informatics disciplines. It includes an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in RAS developing innovation-ready postgraduates, over £10 million of recent national capital equipment facility and a vibrant research community working in close collaboration with industrial partners and other leading research centres internationally. The Centre focuses on safe interaction of robots and autonomous systems with their environments, people, systems and each other.  

Heriot-Watt and the University of Edinburgh are investing in a new National Research Centre in Robotics: The National Robotarium is a world-leading research and development facility, which will translate cutting edge research in robotics and related research fields into technologies to create disruptive innovation in an expanding global market, delivering sustainable economic benefit to Edinburgh, the UK and beyond.  Opening on Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Campus in March 2022, the £22.4M purpose-built centre will have unrivalled facilities, adding to our laboratories in Autonomous Systems including Ocean Systems, Human Robotic Interaction and Assisted Living, to further explore collaborative interaction between humans, robots, and their environments. With a strong focus on entrepreneurship and job creation, the National Robotarium will offer an ecosystem for industry collaboration where humans and robots work in partnership. As such, we also encourage applicants with a background in industry research to apply. 

Key Responsibilities 

Reporting to the Head of the School of Engineering and National Robotarium Academic leads, responsibilities include:  

  • To carry out and publish high-quality research in your area of expertise that can contribute to REF.  

  • To pursue research funding through the submission of high-quality grant proposals.  

  • To further knowledge exchange activities, and to carry out such administrative and promotional activities as may be required to achieve these aims.   

  • To engage fully in National Robotarium and become a key member of its delivery team for technology translation, potentially also contributing to an impact case for REF.  

  • To develop and deliver innovative teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and courses in our robotics programmes.  

  • To engage in Continuous Professional Development courses offered by National Robotarium in your field of expertise.  

  • To carry out administrative, pastoral, representative and associated tasks as required. 

  • To undertake continuous professional development (CPD) and participating in staff development activities.   

Essential Criteria 

  • PhD  in robotics or related subject. 

  • Evidence of independent research vision and strategy 

  • Experience of organising or lecturing in robotics workshops. 

  • Evidence of recent research funding. 

  • Publications record in major Journals and attendance in robotics conferences. 

  • Involvement in managing research team. 

  • In-depth knowledge of robotics. 

  • Lecturing and assessment experience. 

  • Course development experience. 

Desirable Criteria 

  • Track record of internationally high profile and high impact research in a RAS or related discipline.  

  • Evidence of participating in the strategic vision and the ability to be involved in developing and implementing a research strategy across a wider group of researchers in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, complementing existing strengths in the Centre.  

  • Track record of sustained and significant research funding.  

  • Evidence of leading a significant research group.  

  • Evidence of strong engagement with industry.  

  • Teaching of topics relevant to the post 

  • Has some experience in industry oriented research 

  • Has acquired background knowledge of the University and the School. 

  • Interests and skills in Robot interaction with environments, people, systems and each other 

  • Experience of patent generation in the robotics and autonomous systems or related field. 

  • Experience of presenting outreach activities.  

How to Apply 

Applications can be submitted up until midnight on 19th February 2023.  

Interested applicants must submit via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system: (1) a cover letter describing their interest and suitability for the post; (2) a full CV; (3) A summary of their scholarship and teaching plans and ambitions; and (4) a  list of publications.  

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities.  Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all. 

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/services/equality-diversity.htm and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers https://disc.hw.ac.uk/ . 

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options. 

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.