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  Formal Verification of Robot Teams or Human-Robot Interaction

   Department of Computer Science

   Wednesday, July 31, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

CRADLE is an EPSRC funded Prosperity Partnership that brings together the industrial experience that Jacobs have in applied robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) with the research expertise at the University of Manchester in this field. The partnership aims to deliver novel and transformational RAS technology that enables robots to be deployed in the most demanding environments, such as space, nuclear, energy generation and urban infrastructure, over long lengths of time.

Robots are being developed to work in small groups (robot teams) or may be designed to work in collaboration with humans (human robot interaction). The former might be necessary as it may take several robots at achieve some task, some to hold an item whilst others work on it, several to transport something etc. For the latter, robot assistants need to interact closely with the people they are working with.

It is important to make sure both robot-robot teams and human-robot teams can achieve the task where possible, can recover from failure, interact in a safe manner etc. Verification is the process that checks the system does satisfy these required properties. This is often carried out using simulation or real robot experiments. Formal verification is a mathematical analysis of systems using techniques such as model checking or temporal theorem proving.

This project involves developing and applying formal verification to robot teams and human robot interactions. Additionally, using different formal and informal verification techniques together to improve confidence in systems could be further investigated. This will help ensure that they satisfy the required properties and to investigate the robustness of the system to failure.

You will need experience and interests in formal methods/formal verification for this PhD.

All projects will be supervised by academics at the University of Manchester and experts in the application of robotic systems at Jacobs, and they will all contain a significant focus on the design and development of practical robotic demonstrators.


Candidates must hold a minimum of an upper Second Class UK Honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant science or engineering discipline.

• Candidates must meet the School's minimum English Language requirement.

• Candidates will be expected to comply with the University's policies and practices of equality, diversity and inclusion.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

• You must be capable of performing at a very high level.

• You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

• You will have good time management.

• You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

• Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.

• Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.

• How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?

• Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?


At Manchester we offer a range of scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level, to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers applying for competition and self-funded projects.

For more information, visit our funding page or search our funding database for specific scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Before you apply

We strongly recommend that you contact the supervisor(s) for this project before you apply.

How to apply

Apply online through our website:

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, if you already having funding or if you wish to be considered for available funding through the university, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

After you have applied you will be asked to upload the following supporting documents:

  • Final Transcript and certificates of all awarded university level qualifications
  • Interim Transcript of any university level qualifications in progress
  • CV
  • Contact details for two referees (please make sure that the contact email you provide is an official university/work email address as we may need to verify the reference)
  • English Language certificate (if applicable)

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing .


Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Funded by UoM and Jacobs as their support to the EPSRC-funded Prosperity Partnership (CRADLE: Centre for Robotic Autonomy in Demanding and Long-lasting Environments).
Fully funded for UK home students, but only partial funding is available for overseas students.

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Computer Science and Informatics?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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