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PhD Opportunities at CRADLE Robotics and AI

The Centre for Robotic Autonomy in Demanding and Long-lasting Environments (CRADLE) is an EPSRC-funded Prosperity Partnership that brings together the industrial experience that Jacobs has in applied robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) with the research expertise at the University of Manchester in this field. The partnership aims to deliver novel and transformational RAS technologies that enable robots to be deployed in the most demanding environments, such as space, nuclear, energy generation, and urban infrastructure, over long lengths of time.

To support CRADLE, we aim to admit and fund a cohort of PhD students, who will complete research projects linked to various aspects of the programme.

Specific research topics are given as follows (navigate through the slideshow):

Each project will be supervised by academics at the University of Manchester and experts in the application of robotic systems at Jacobs, and they will all contain a significant focus on the design and development of practical robotic demonstrators.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in engineering or computer science or an MSc qualification in Robotics, Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, or other equivalent discipline.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion are fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester and are at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, and transgender status. We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

How to Apply

To express your interest in applying for a specific PhD project, email with the following details:

  • Subject: [PhD Applicant] Department – Research Topic
  • Attach your CV and cover letter.

Upon passing the initial screening, you will then be advised to submit an online application through the university website ( and be asked to upload the following supporting documents:

  • Final Transcript and certificates of all awarded university-level qualifications
  • Interim Transcript of any university-level qualifications in progress
  • CV
  • You will be asked to supply contact details for two referees on the application.
  • English Language certificate (if applicable)

Funding Notes

Funded by UoM and Jacobs as their support to the EPSRC-funded Prosperity Partnership (CRADLE: Centre for Robotic Autonomy in Demanding and Long-lasting Environments). 

  • Skills and academic background matching with the research project, and academic records (including transcripts) at the master’s level or equivalent degree level.
  • Creative and innovation potential, ability to think out of the box.
  • Motivation of the candidate for inter-disciplinary research.
  • Ability to work with both academics and industry partners.
  • Fully funded for UK home students, but only partial funding is available for overseas students.