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Autonomous Systems and Robotics research centre

Vacancies

Working with Us

The Centre for Autonomous Systems and Robotics is always keen to hear from students and researchers interested in robotics and autonomous systems at the University of Salford. Please do contact us if you would like to work with us.

Current Vacancies

Career Development Research Fellow: Assistive robotics systems for cognitive impairment 

Deadline: 30 November 2014

Details of the vacancy are available here.

The Centre for Autonomous Systems and Advanced Robotics in the School for Computing Science and Engineering is advertising a 5 year Research Fellow post, with the focus on the use of robotics and autonomous systems to tackle challenges encountered by dementia sufferers. The successful candidate will work closely with the recently established Salford Institute for Dementia which has the overarching objective of generating and disseminating evidence to enable people to live well with dementia.

The University of Salford is offering a limited number of career development posts for researchers in highly strategic areas for the University. Applicants are expected to be exceptional scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field.  Applicants must, therefore, be able to demonstrate an outstanding contribution to robotics and autonomous systems and have a clear and ambitious plan for their career development; the successful Fellow will also be expected to apply for external funding, contribute to REF2020, and be a strong candidate for a permanent post in the University at the end of the Fellowship.

Informal enquiries can be made to the Head of the Research Centre, Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani (s.nefti-meziani@salford.ac.uk)

Research project: Development of assistive robotics systems for elderly people with cognitive impairment

The increasing prevalence of dementia in society is a major social and economic challenge. For example, the number of people in the EU who are over 65 is expected to increase by 45% over twenty years – to 123 million in 2030. The prevalence of dementia increases sharply with age, and onset may be as early as in the early fifties.  In the UK, it is estimated that 670,000 people have dementia, and that this number will double in 30 years. Two thirds of people with dementia live at home, and a third in residential or nursing home care, where they comprise at least two thirds of residents.

A decline in cognitive functions will have major ramifications for the experience, quality of life, and behaviour of the older population, thereby having a significant impact on the provision of care to these individuals. Loss of autonomy can be very progressive (10 years on average for Alzheimer disease), with different types of care and support being required as impairment progresses.

Developments in assistive technologies and robotics are now starting to demonstrate the potential for technological interventions to support the ageing population; robotics research is being applied to empower patients to retain autonomy and to support them as their physical or mental health declines.

This project will develop robotics technologies for assessing functional capability of people with cognitive impairments and how best to use the data that emerges to provide information on how technology, social services and healthcare can be utilised to provide independence. 

Recent Vacancies

Research Fellow in Soft Robotic Manipulators

Deadline: 30 August 2014

This researcher will be working on a feasibility study funded by the EPSRC Centre for Intelligent Automation, working on the project: 'Soft, safe and variable stiffness continuum manipulators for intelligent automation'.

Traditional stiff robotic systems are a well-established and proven technology providing high accuracy and repeatability, but high masses and associated inertias means they are not suited to close human interaction. The future of manufacturing will likely require robots working close to, and in collaboration with humans, leading to the development of ‘soft’ and compliant robotic systems which mimic soft interactions between people. However, introducing compliance into systems seriously reduces achievable accuracy. This study will develop a physically soft manipulator able to vary stiffness according to task requirements, enabling operation in a safe low stiffness mode when moving large distances, but switching to a high stiffness mode to allow for precise/accurate position control. 

If you would like further details about this post, please contact Dr Steve Davis (S.T.Davis@salford.ac.uk) or Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani (s.nefti-meziani@salford.ac.uk)   

 

SMART-E Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher: Cognitive multi-systems framework for reconfigurable systems 

Deadline: 1 July 2014

SMART-E is a Doctoral Training Network, funded by the EU Commission’s FP7 Marie Curie Programme, with the aim to prepare the next generation of leading experts in advanced robotics to secure a sustainable manufacturing sector in Europe. 

The network involves the collaboration of seven European institutions – the University of Salford, University of Zurich, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italian Institute of Technology, Technical University of Munich, and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield.

The network is bringing together leading experts in the field of embodied intelligence, compliant, soft robotics, advanced manufacturing, industrial robotics and automation, smart materials and machine learning in Europe. You will utilise new technologies (mostly pioneered by SMART-E) in state of the art training environments.

The successful candidate will benefit from high quality industrial experience and interdisciplinary projects that are individually tailored.  The research training programme will combine technical expertise acquisition with business & leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills in order to provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle not only the technical challenges, but also to play a key role in embedding/deploying these solutions into practical applications. 

The project: The factory of the future should be modular, flexible, and automated. The future manufacturing landscape will bring new challenges with increased customization, shorter product life cycle, novel and hybrid materials, and rapid manufacture of near net parts and high levels of product performance at low costs. This environment will require self-optimizing, self-reconfiguring, self-healing and self-monitoring processes capable to communicate and cooperate to respond quickly, by adjusting their schedules to match the evolving execution circumstances, in a way that continues to maximize the quality of their joint activities.

This project will develop a Cognitive Multi-Agents framework for modelling the coordination, communication and cooperation between agents/processes. The successful researcher will be able to capture in some uniform framework service demands flow variations, failures, etc. and their various types of interaction and collaboration. 

Pathways to Excellence studentship 

Deadline: 31 March 2014

The University of Salford is offering 50 fully funded PhD studentships, to start in September 2014. 

http://www.salford.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees-and-funding/funded-phd-studentship

These studentships are available as teaching studentships - offering a valuable opportunity to study for a PhD while teaching in subjects broadly related to the PhD research – or as part of a ‘pathway to excellence’ scheme.

The Centre for Autonomous Systems and Robotics at Salford, as part of the School for Computing, Science and Engineering, would be delighted to receive applications for either of these studentships.

In particular, the Centre, in collaboration with the School of Health Sciences, is offering a specific ‘pathway’ project looking at the use of autonomous systems and robotics in tackling dementia. The aim of this project is to develop prediction models and ‘smart’ assistive technologies that can allow real-time management of the condition of patients with cognitive impairment, and maintain their independence. The project will contribute to the University Digital Health strategy by incorporating cognitive and intelligent technologies into a user-centred approach to health care. A second project will investigate engineering systems design for autonomous systems. It will bring in expertise in control engineering, intelligent condition monitoring, vehicle dynamics, embedded system design for innovative applications in remote monitoring and sensing and/or biomechanical systems. 

SMART-E Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers: 3 posts available 

Deadline: 28 March 2014 

SMART-E is a Doctoral Training Network, funded by the EU Commission’s FP7 Marie Curie Programme, with the aim to prepare the next generation of leading experts in advanced robotics to secure a sustainable manufacturing sector in Europe. 

The network involves the collaboration of seven European institutions – the University of Salford, University of Zurich, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italian Institute of Technology, Technical University of Munich, and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield.

The network is bringing together leading experts in the field of embodied intelligence, compliant, soft robotics, advanced manufacturing, industrial robotics and automation, smart materials and machine learning in Europe. You will utilise new technologies (mostly pioneered by SMART-E) in state of the art training environments.

The successful candidates will benefit from high quality industrial experience and interdisciplinary projects that are individually tailored. The research training programme will combine technical expertise acquisition with business & leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills in order to provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle not only the technical challenges, but also to play a key role in embedding/deploying these solutions into practical applications.

The three posts available at Salford are: 

Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher: Mathematical Modelling for a Self-Healing Robotic Cell (Maintenance Robot)

Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher: Cognitive multi-agents systems framework for reconfigurable systems

Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher: Dexterous Robot End-Effectors (Robot Hands)