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Robot Learning for Long-term Autonomy

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, December 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

An exciting PhD opportunity in robotics is available within the Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield - to be supervised by Dr. Kevin Li Sun. The project aims to develop cutting-edge robot learning algorithms to empower robots (e.g. vehicles or drones) to complete navigation and manipulation tasks autonomously. The appointed PhD student will work on one of the following related topics:

(i) vision-based robot navigation in changing environments;
(ii) LiDAR-based large-scale localisation and mapping;
(iii) dexterous visual-guided manipulation for assembly tasks.
As a research student, you will closely work with SheffieldRobotics (, one of the largest centres of robotics research in the UK. You will have access to a fleet of mobile platforms, e.g. Jackal UGV, Jaguar4x4 and manipulators, e.g. KUKA iiwa, to support your research work.

We also have strong connections with state-of-the-art robotics labs worldwide, e.g. University of Oxford, Hongkong University, Orebro University, CTU in Prague, etc. There will be opportunities for the PhD student to travel and collaborate with our academic partners. An Individual Departmental Travel Fund of £1,500 will be available for travel to academic conferences.

More information about research activities at Sheffield can be found on the supervisor’s website
Applications should be made through the University of Sheffield online submission system ( The deadline is Friday 31 December 2019. Interviews will be held in January. The expected start date for the project is 10 February 2020.
For informal enquiries please contact Dr Kevin Li Sun at:

Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience Required

1) A good honours degree in computer science or an allied subject.
2) Self-motivated and enthusiastic about robotics.
3) Strong programming skills. Experience in ROS programming (both C++ and Python) is essential.
4) Ability to use vision, deep learning and other relevant open-source software libraries.
5) Hands-on experience with robots or SLAM is highly desirable.
6) Familiar with one of the widely-used deep learning libraries, e.g. TensorFlow, is desirable but not essential.

If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component.

To apply for the studentship, applicants need to apply directly to the University of Sheffield using the online application system. Please name Kevin Li Sun as your proposed supervisor.

Complete an application for admission to the standard Computer Science PhD programme

Applications should include a research proposal, CV (up to two pages with Github, publications, video demos of your research), your best or most relevant publication (if applicable), transcripts and two references.

The research proposal (up to 4 A4 pages, including references) should outline your reasons for applying for this scholarship and how you would approach the researching, including details of your skills and experience.

Funding Notes

This Studentship will cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (currently £15,009 for 2019/20) for three and a half years. International students are eligible to apply, however, they will have to pay the difference between the UK/EU and Overseas tuition fees.

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