ROS Resources: Documentation | Support | Discussion Forum | Service Status | Q&A

Fully Funded PhD Position in 'Machine Learning for Autonomous Robot Manipulation', University of Aberdeen (UK)

A fully funded 3-year PhD position is available to work with Dr Pascal Meissner in the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen (UK) on one of today’s most relevant research problems at the intersection of autonomous robotics, machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence.

Learn as you help robots see, learn and manipulate! As robots spread into different areas of human activity, they are breaking through the boundaries of the well-structured industrial environments in which they were first used. This is particularly thanks to the breakthroughs in deep learning, which have given robots an unprecedented level of flexibility and robustness in manipulating objects. However, these advances remain limited to simple actions such as grasping or placing objects under known conditions. Still, we need robots that can perform complex tasks and cope with unforeseen circumstances. Giving robots such capabilities is the goal of this PhD and of utmost importance for the success of future robotic systems.


We are hiring! Our team is looking for a motivated research student who has

  • A UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or international equivalent) in and/or Master’s degree (with Distinction or Merit) in either Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, or a related discipline
  • Confidence and independence in programming complex systems (hands-on experience in software development)
  • Solid skills in maths (skills in statistics are helpful)
  • Strong communication skills in English (both oral and written)
  • Interest in autonomous robotics, machine learning, computer vision, or artificial intelligence

We will give you the opportunity to work independently and the freedom to steer the direction of the research according to your interests and strengths within the overall project goal.


The studentship is funded at UK/EU rates comprising of UK/EU student fees and an annual stipend (paid in monthly instalments) of £15,285. International students are encouraged to apply provided they can cover the difference between UK/EU and International student fees. For example, student fees for the academic year 2020/2021 are £4,407 for UK/EU students (providing EU start before August 2021) and £21,000 for International students, which would leave an outstanding amount of £16,593 to be paid by the International applicant.


Early applications are encouraged as this position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found. Applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Pascal Meissner ( to discuss their interest.

Applications should include:

  • All Degree Certificates/Academic Transcripts (officially translated into English and original). Please indicate your GPA
  • 2 Academic References on official headed paper and signed or sent from referees official email address, quoting your applicant reference number
  • A full CV describing your background (max 2 pages). Please indicate your relevant skills, scientific publications, awards, research videos and/or code, professional profile(s)
  • A Motivation Letter / Research Statement describing your suitability for the PhD and research interests (max 2 pages)
  • Copies / links to publications (if any)
  • Any documents providing evidence of academic achievements, relevant practical experience, and qualifications earned at or outside of the university
  • Intended source of funding to cover the difference between UK and international tuition fees (if applicable)


Applications can be completed online: Login · Postgraduate & Online Application Portal · The University of Aberdeen

When you submit your application, please

  • Apply for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
  • State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
  • State the exact project title on the application form (‘Machine Learning for Autonomous Robot Manipulation’)

When applying, please ensure all required documents are attached.


You will be supervised by Dr Pascal Meissner and Dr Andrew Starkey and will be a part of a cross-disciplinary team. As a member of our team, you will have unlimited access to our state-of-the-art robotics lab, as well as outstanding experts in autonomous robotics, machine learning, computer vision, artificial intelligence, human-robot-interaction, soft robotics, swarm robotics, industrial robotics, mechatronics, control engineering, and many more. Teamwork, diversity, and transparency belong to our core beliefs. They will help you drive novel approaches from early ideas to advanced targeted and meaningful insights.

You will also have the opportunity to contribute to live industrial projects from time to time. In addition, senior PhD students are encouraged to take up paid teaching assistantships to develop their teaching skills, should they envision their futures in academia.

Aberdeen is ranked 8th in the UK for Electrical & Electronic Engineering (Complete University Guide 2021) which includes our team. The University is ranked in the top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2021) and in the top 180 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021).

Lecturer in Robotics

Artificial intelligence, Robotics and Mechatronic Systems Group (ARMS)
School of Engineering
University of Aberdeen
Fraser Noble Building (room 256)
+44 (0)1224 272672