RAL: Robotics for Assistive Living

Summary

The Cognitive Robotics team in the ISRC focuses on novel, advanced control methods for autonomous mobile robots, merging approaches from Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science and Engineering. Research in Cognitive Robotics at the ISRC ranges from investigating robotics as a science, to applications of robotics such as industrial robotics, robotics for assistive living and computer vision. The Cognitive Robotics Laboratory in the ISRC is one of the most advanced in Europe, possessing a 100m2 powered floor and a wide range of robots; such as the Willow Garage PR2, Shadow Robot Dexterous Hand, 2x Robotnik Summit XL, 2x Pepper Humanoid Robots, 10x Pioneer P3-DX, a range of Schunk/Kuka manipulator arms as well as vision systems permitting the capture of 2D and 3D visual data (Microsoft Kinect, Dynamic Vision Sensor), Vicon tracking system and high performance computing facilities.

This project aligns with a long-established track record of projects within the ISRC (IMCLeVeR, Rubicon, Bionics) involving robotics for assisted living.

The successful student will have the opportunity to contribute to internationally recognised research in computer vision and robotics within various assisted living domains including, for example: Assistive robotic manipulators Smart Home environments Healthcare companions Tele-Healthcare Human Activity Recognition As a new member of the Robotics team, the successful candidate will be supported by a large network of academic staff, research staff and fellow students with various areas of expertise, including access to multi-disciplinary research teams within the Intelligent Systems Research Centre. The PhD opportunity will provide the candidate with the skills necessary to become a leading expert in the state-of-the-art of assistive robotics.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 70%
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed
  • Experience of presentation of research findings

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

Amato, G., Bacciu, D., Broxvall, M. et al. Robotic Ubiquitous Cognitive Ecology for Smart Homes. J Intell Robot Syst 80 (Suppl 1), 57–81 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10846-015-0178-2

Moeys, D. P. et al., Steering a predator robot using a mixed frame/event-driven convolutional neural network, 2016 Second International Conference on Event-based Control, Communication, and Signal Processing (EBCCSP), 2016, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1109/EBCCSP.2016.7605233.

Kerr, E. P. et al., Sensor-based Vital Sign Monitoring, Analysis and Visualisation for Ageing in Place, 2018 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN), 2018, pp. 1-7, doi: 10.1109/IJCNN.2018.8489526.

S. Reid, P. Vance, S. Coleman, D. Kerr and S. O'Neill, "Towards real-time activity recognition," 2020 IEEE 4th International Conference on Image Processing, Applications and Systems (IPAS), 2020, pp. 83-88, doi: 10.1109/IPAS50080.2020.9334948.

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 27 February 2023
12:00AM

Interview Date
18 April 2023

Preferred student start date
18 September 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Dr Philip Vance

Other supervisors

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