Fully Funded PhD on ‘Human Robot Interaction for Nuclear Industry’ at The University of Sheffield, Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering.

A full time PhD Studentship is now available at the University of Sheffield, starting in September 2018*. The studentship offers a 3-year funded** PhD scholarship open to all UK/EU applicants. Non-EU applications are welcome to apply, however, the applicant will need to pay the difference in tuition fees.

Project description

The project deals with the development of autonomous robots for the nuclear industry, where the hazardous radioactive environment needs intelligent robots to handle and process end of life materials and also for maintenance in hostile environments. One of the main challenges is remote communication between the robots and their operators. Thus, human-robot interaction (HRI) is required for understanding the situational awareness of the operators and how they can benefit from automation to lower their workload and also work more safely and efficiently. The project also envisages to understand the implications of these findings on the design of autonomous systems for the nuclear industry.


The overall aim of this PhD is to develop novel methods of human-robot interactions and demonstrations using techniques such as augmented reality, haptic devices and natural language interfaces. Research work will focus on computer vision, machine learning (e.g. deep learning), natural language programming and augmented reality/ virtual reality, with further potential investigation topics such as 3D environment modelling, sensor data fusion and semantic segmentation.

As part of this research work, the proposed HRI model will undergo laboratory and industry trials, which will provide additional feedback and opportunities for identifying research gaps
and progressing this work further.

The PhD is linked to the RAIN project and thus the student would have opportunities to collaborate with partners in that project: https://rainhub.org.uk/

Candidate Requirements

Prospective applicants must have a minimum undergraduate Honours degree (UK 2:1 or better) or MSc (Merit or Distinction) in Computer Science or Engineering subject from a reputable institution. Overseas applicants must submit IELTS results (with an overall score 6.5 or higher) or TOEFL score of 88+ within their application. More details on entry requirements can be found at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/acse/research-degrees/applyphd


To apply, please submit a PhD application using the University’s online application system via the Postgraduate online application form link at the following:

Within the application, please state Professor Sandor Veres and Dr Anthony Rossiter as your preferred supervisors and state the project title as ‘Human Robot Interaction for Nuclear Industry’.

Should you have any queries about the position, please contact either Professor Sandor Veres on s.veres@sheffield.ac.uk or Dr Anthony Rossiter on j.a.rossiter@sheffield.ac.uk.

Deadline for applications: 9am, Tuesday 28 August 2018

Shortlisted Candidates will be required to attend an interview.

*Start Date

The start date for this PhD is September 2018. A later start may be possible, subject to discussion.

** Funding Notes

The Studentships are fully funded for 3 years with a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate (£14,777 for 2018/19). Full tuition fee funding is only available to UK/EU nationals, non-UK/EU nationals can apply but would only receive a partial contribution towards the tuition fees.