Postdoctoral - Robotics

School/Institution:University of Agder , Norway, Kristiansand

Discipline: Robotics

Employment Type:Full-time


Contact Person:If you wish to apply for this position, please specify that you saw it on

PhD Research Fellow Positions - Next Generation Deep Learning For Collaborative Robot Systems

About the position

The Faculty of Engineering and Sciences at University of Agder (UiA) has two joint PhD positions available within the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Cooperative control and Collaborative robots.
The positions are within the Norwegian Research Council's Long-term research project "Collective Efficient Deep Learning and Networked Control for Multiple Collaborative Robot Systems (DEEPCOBOT)".
Both two PhD positions are located at Campus Grimstad (Departments of Engineering Sciences and of Information and Communication Technologies), for a period of three years, or four years with 25% required duties.

Scope of the PhD

The overall goal of the DEEPCOBOT project is the design of a new generation of decentralized data-driven deep learning-based controllers for multiple coexisting collaborative robots (cobots), which can interact both between themselves and with human operators in order to collectively learn from each other's experiences and perform cooperatively different complex tasks in a large-scale industrial process environment.
The project is motivated by the increasing demand of automation in industry, especially the demand of a safer, more intuitive, more comfortable and more efficient collaboration between multiple cobots and human operators to integrate the best of human abilities (creativity, adaptivity, interaction) and robotic automation (speed, reliability, precision and inexhaustible task execution capability), while being robust across different environments and human operators.
This project will lead to several important advances in the areas of machine learning, decentralized shared control for cobots, graph signal processing, design of cross-layer network protocols for distributed computation and collective intelligence across multiple cobots.


The two PhD positions will cover theoretical advancements, algorithm design, as well as simulation and experimental evaluation, on the following research topics:
  • Decentralized local controllers at the cobots using the Deep Reinforcement Learning framework, where each cobot learns both from its local information and from other information about other cobots' learning process in the neighborhood.
  • Deep learning algorithms for the cobots to infer and predict the motion of human operators interacting with them, including also interpretable and active learning methods to speed up the learning process and the corresponding shared control strategies guiding the interaction between the cobot and human operators.
  • Graph signal processing algorithms and cross-layer network protocols to provide the required diffusion of information across the cobots so that both the deep learning process is efficient and stable, and the testing running phase is also executed correctly, satisfying the real-time and safety constraints, and minimizing energy consumption.
The project will be integrated in two Centers at UiA, namely, the Center of Mechatronics and the WISENET Center at UiA, where the PhD students will benefit intellectually from the interaction with internationally recognized researchers, well-equipped environments and will build on and strengthen the established cooperation in AI, Machine Learning, industrial robotics, and autonomous networked cyber-physical systems with industry partners, such as ABB Norway, Mechatronics Innovation Lab (MIL), Omron Electronics Norway, and international partners including University of California San Diego (USA), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) and the University of Navarra (Spain). The project will give also the opportunity to pay extended visits to Universities in USA, Sweden and Spain.
Required qualifications

The candidates must have:
  • A solid academic background with a MSc. degree in either of these: Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics, ICT, Electronics Engineering, or other related disciplines with a grade of B or better in terms of UiA’s grading scale (or equivalent), is required.
  • Applicants must have either already finished their master’s degree during the last five years or have a date for the defense of the Master Thesis that will take place not later than September 2020.
Substantial knowledge of the following:
  • Systems and Control
  • Advanced optimization techniques
  • Robotics
  • Machine learning techniques
  • Wireless sensor networks and cyber-physical systems
  • Statistical signal processing
  • Robot operating system (ROS)
  • Mathematical analysis and linear algebra.
  • Programming in Matlab, Python, C/C++.
Written and spoken English proficiency.  Applicants from some countries must document their English proficiency through one of the following tests or certificates:
  • TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 600 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or a minimum of 92 on the Internet based Test (iBT)
  • IELTS - International English Language Testing System, with a result of at least 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5. (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
  • CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) certificate of at least Level B2
  • Certificate from the concerned authority stating that the medium of instruction of undergraduate and graduate study is/was carried in English. In case of candidates with work experience, the certificate stating that most of the activities carried at work is in English.
  • The candidates can also demonstrate their fluency in English during interview. Please check this website to see if an English test is required.
A prerequisite for employment is that the candidate is to be admitted to UiA’s PhD programme in Engineering and Science, Specialisation in Engineering Sciences, Scientific Field in Mechatronics.
Further provisions relating to the position as PhD Research Fellow can be found in the Regulations Concerning Terms and Conditions of Employment for the post of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident.

Desired qualifications
  • Theoretical and practical knowledge with robot-related instrumentation and sensors.
  • Knowledge on Deep Learning and Deep Reinforcement Learning.
  • Knowledge on Graph Signal Processing and Decentralized Control algorithms
  • Knowledge on network communication protocols in industrial robotic environments.
  • Additional programming skills or experience in other relevant tools (e.g. Tensorflow, PyTorch, Keras, github, bitbucket if any).
Personal qualities
  • Scientific ambition, curious to learn and explore
  • Quick learner, motivated and strong interest in cutting-edge research
  • Good analytical, problem-solving and experimental skills
  • Capacity for goal-oriented work and ability to concentrate
  • Good communication and team-working skills, inventiveness and a proactive attitude
We offer
  • World-class research facilities
  • Positive, inclusive and diverse work environment
  • Modern facilities and a comprehensive set of welfare offers
  • Professional development in a large, exciting and socially influential organisation
  • Membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
More about working at UiA.

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 479 600 gross salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.
General information

UiA is an open and inclusive university. We believe that diversity enriches the workplace and makes us better. We, therefore, encourage qualified candidates to apply for the position independent of gender, age, cultural background, disability or an incomplete CV.
Women are strongly encouraged to apply for the position.
The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position, and organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions.
More about the employment process.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.

The application and any other necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically only. Use the link "Apply for this job".
The following documentation shall be submitted as attachments to the online application:
  • A research statement (maximum 4 pages) including
  • a justification of the background of the candidate for the requirements of the position (see description above about the required knowledge areas
  • an outline of the applicant’s research interests
  • a short presentation of motivation
  • a tentative research proposal related to the proposed project, meeting the above research objectives.
  • Certificates and transcripts for the Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, with a summary of the courses/subjects included in the degree. Summary (approximately 1-2 pages) of the Master Thesis (if any).
  • Applicants with a foreign higher education must attach an official description of the grading system used at the issuing institution.
  • Applicants who are required to document their English proficiency must submit their TOEFL or IELTS test results (these may be forwarded after the closing date) or their CEFR certificate.
  • Names and contact information of two reference persons
  • List and links to applicant's scientific publications (if any)

For questions about the position:
Professor Jing Zhou, tel. +47 37 23 31 91, e-mail
Assistant Head of Department of Engineering and Sciences, Tom Viggo Nilsen, tel. +47 37 23 32 55, e-mail

For questions about the application process:
Higher Executive Officer Lise Askbo Fylkesnes, tel. +47 37 23 31 25, e-mail
HR Advisor Nina Rønningen, tel. +47 38 14 20 16, mobile +47 48 15 77 61, e-mail

Job Details

Title: Two PhD Research Fellow Positions - Next Generation Deep Learning for Collaborative Robot Systems
Employer: University of Agder (UiA)
Job location: Gimlemoen 25, 4630 Kristiansand S
Job types: PhD
Fields: Algorithms,   Mechatronics,   Artificial Intelligence,   Computer Communications (Networks),   Operating Systems,   Control Systems Engineering,   Robotics,   Electrical Engineering.

Contact Person: If you wish to apply for this position, please specify that you saw it on

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