Synergy of artificial intelligence and human factors for human-robotic collaboration in intelligent manufacturing

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 31 March 2021

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021

For further details contact Dr. Xin Lu.

Trailblazers PhD studentships

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Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully funded PhD studentship at the Institute for Future Transport and Cities. This is an exciting opportunity in cutting-edge research of Human-Robotic collaboration in intelligent manufacturing by using deep learning algorithms.

Project details

Collaborative robots (cobots) have been increasingly adopted in companies to leverage automation of robots and flexibility of human operators. However, for complex industrial applications, there are still significant technical challenges crippling cobots to reach their full potentials in being safe and intelligent “collaborators” with humans.

In this project, based on deep learning algorithms and human factor research, it is aimed to develop innovative and interdisciplinary approaches in two critical research aspects of cobots, i.e., safety for humans and intelligent learning from humans.

Firstly, innovative deep learning algorithms will be designed to predict and adapt to human behaviours under dynamic working environments to ensure humans’ safety during human-robotic cooperation adaptively.

Secondly, new Learning from Demonstration (LfD) approaches will be developed to automate cobot’s programming by intelligently learning humans’ demonstrations to address changing working environments.

Finally, industrial case studies (e.g., battery disassembly and healthcare) will be used for research validation and generalisation.

The research will be potentially transformative to industries, such as manufacturing, medical and healthcare, by increasing the trust that people have in working directly with cobots. The originality of the research is design of innovative deep learning algorithms for complex human operators’ behaviour modelling to support human-robotic collaboration.


This is a fully-funded studentship including full tuition fees (UK/EU/International) plus stipend (based upon the applicable UKRI rate at the point of the award) and additional allowances


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years.
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

In addition

  • Excellent programming skills in Python, C and C++
  • Strong interest in Robotics/AI and related applied research to support practical engineering problems
  • Good mathematical skills
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to interact professionally and productively in a team environment

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr. Xin Lu.

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