PhD Scholarship: Robotic In-Hand-Manipulation with Variable Friction Surfaces


The PhD studentship is full time and will cover Imperial College tuition fees for 3 years and a stipend worth approximately £17,560 per year (tax-free) for 3.5 years.

Funding is available to both home and international students.

Location: South Kensington Campus

Job Description

The Manipulation and Touch Lab (MTL) of Imperial College London is a new research effort led by Dr Ad Spiers that will focus on manipulation, haptics, and machine learning ( MTL is currently hiring a PhD student to work on the development of innovative robotic hand designs featuring variable friction surfaces, as a new approach to robotic in-hand-manipulation.

This project will involve the iterative design, fabrication and testing of novel robot grippers and variable friction mechanisms to achieve in-hand-manipulation. Appropriate control approaches will also be developed and may be determined analytically and/or via machine learning methods.

MTL is part of the Intelligent Systems and Networks (ISN) group based in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Imperial College London. ISN is a friendly, interdisciplinary research group of 9 faculty and more than 70 postdoctoral and PhD researchers, doing fundamental as well as applied research on robot manipulation, intelligent assistive robotics, computer vision, machine learning, bio-inspired computation and neural networks, audition, self-organising systems and communications. We are located at Imperial’s South Kensington Campus, in the heart of the UK’s vibrant capital.

Job Requirements

The position will suit a creative and motivated individual who is seeking to apply their mechatronic talents in developing exciting new robotic hardware.

  • A good First-Class degree (or international equivalent), in engineering, mechatronics or computer science
  • A Masters level degree qualification and/or relevant experience.

Experience and skills

  • Mechatronic hardware prototyping
  • CAD
  • Programming
  • ROS, Matlab and/or Python experience is a bonus, but certainly not essential.

How To Apply

The PhD start date is flexible but should begin by 1st October 2021 at the latest.

Applications should include a cover letter, CV, contact details of 2-4 referees and, where possible, examples of relevant past projects (academic, professional or hobby) along with photographs or links to demo videos.

Please email Dr Ad Spiers ( for further details.

Please click here to apply. Course code: Electrical Engineering Research – H6ZX

NB: In the application, the proposed research supervisor should be “Dr Ad Spiers” to indicate that the application is for this post.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Miss Lina Brazinskaite

Closing Date: 9th July 2021. However, applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

Additional information on the PhD programme in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering can be found here.

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