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Research Studentship in ‘Learning task and motion planning for mobile manipulation robots’

Research Studentship in ‘Learning task and motion planning for mobile manipulation robots’

4-year D.Phil. studentship 

EPSRC Industrial CASE Studentship with Siemens AG

Supervisors: Prof Ioannis Havoutis

This studentship is being jointly offered by the University of Oxford and Siemens AG under the EPSRC Industrial CASE award scheme.

Robotic task automation, both in domestic and industrial settings, currently requires detailed process planning that often relies on state machines that are inflexible and designed for repetitive tasks. This severely limits the applicability of robotic technology to dynamic environments such as service, business and domestic settings, where robots are likely to share the same space interact and collaborate with humans.

This project will build the framework required for robust and agile robotic mobile manipulation in a range of dynamic environments that require physical interaction with everyday objects. An example can be a robotic assistant that completes tasks in a kitchen environment, for example to load and run the dishwasher. The mobile robot needs to reason about the sequence of tasks required to accomplish the goal, react and adapt to changes in the environment, as well as perform a series of distinct manipulation tasks.


This studentship is funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) Award Scheme and is open to UK students (full award – fees plus stipend) with limited possibility of funding an Overseas applicant. Full details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements can be found here.

Award Value

University course fees are covered at the level set for UK students (£9,500 in 2024-25 academic year). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) will be c. £18622 for the first year, and at least this amount for a further three years. 

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • talented and highly motivated UK students with a strong first degree in Computer Science, Informatics, Engineering or related field;
  • excellent programming skills in Python and C++;
  • background in machine learning, robotics or related subjects;
  • excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • experience in programming for robotics, eg. ROS, Git;
  • good understanding of dynamics, control of multi-articulated robots and rigid-body dynamics;
  • hands-on experience with robot hardware.

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Prof Ioannis Havoutis (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria.  Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote ENGIN_IHiCASE in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: noon on 1st December

Start date: October 2024