PhD Position in Humanoid Perception for Manipulation

Date: 
Friday, 23 June, 2017 - 09:45

Call for a PhD position in Humanoid Perception for Manipulation at Jaume I University (UJI), Spain
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The UJI Robotic Intelligence Laboratory (RobInLab) (http://robinlab.uji.es) offers a PhD programme through the UJI School for Doctoral Studies. One fully funded 3-year sponsored PhD is available in Castellon starting October 1, 2017 on the topic of perception for robotic manipulation in real-world applications.  Deadline is July 15, 2017.

Research project 
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The candidate will join the vibrant team of the project RoboPicker, led by Prof. Angel P. del Pobil, and will be funded through the Santiago Grisolia Program of Valencia Regional Government, that only grants these studentships to the best selected projects.

The overall objective of the project is to attain a breakthough in full human-like robotic manipulation in real-world situations. For the project we take inspiration from the Amazon Robotic Challenge (https://www.amazonrobotics.com/#/roboticschallenge), in which RobInLab participates in 2017. Reasons for the difficulty of this challenge arise from the fact that manipulation is conducted in a real environment, with several objects inside a restricted space, with poor visibility, accessibility, maneuverability and manipulability. Also, the objects involved are ordinary items of disparate forms and sizes.

In this context, the successful candidate will be expected to pursue his/her own research goals, according to his/her background and interests, among the different topics involved in the project, namely: object recognition, pose recognition, vision for grasp planning, sensor-based compliant manipulation, multimodal task execution, error detection and recovery, etc. Bio-inspired approaches pertaining to active perception and multimodal sensorimotor coordination will be encouraged.

The research work will be carried out on two humanoid platforms: UJI's Tombatossals Humanoid Torso and Re-think Robotics Baxter, mounted on a mobile base.

Requirements
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This studentship is intended for brilliant young graduates with outstanding performance, and fulfilling the requirements for admission to a PhD programme, typically holding a Master degree in Computer Vision, Robotics, Mechatronics, or a related discipline relevant to the project. An additional background and/or interest in computational neuroscience or interdisciplinary bio-inspired research will be a plus. Excellent programming skills are essential along with the ability to develop software on robots (including ROS). The ideal candidate should be self‐motivated with good writing and communication skills in English.

Employment
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We offer a very challenging full-time position for 3 years in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. We also provide excellent facilities for professional and personal development, holiday allowances and a number of additional benefits. Your main responsibility will be to carry out research, but you will be offered the opportunity to acquire some teaching experience as well.

Successful applicants will be awarded an annual bursary of 22,192 euros which amounts to a minimum annual gross salary of 16,800 €, after deducting social costs, plus 1600 € for travel expenses the first year. Students are expected to complete their PhD dissertation within the three year period. The expected start date is October 1, 2017 but a delay of no more than two months can be granted if necessary.

Application
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Eligibility.- Additional requirements. The candidate should:

1- Hold an undergraduate academic degree (BSc), or equivalent in your country, in engineering, computer science or a related scientific field, by a non-Spanish institution, and have finished these studies in the period from 01/30/2014 to 01/30/2017.

2 -  Hold the Master degree required for admission to the PhD programme at the date the contract will be signed, i.e. November 1, 2017 at the latest.

3- Possess a knowledge of Spanish or English, at the level of conversation, suitable for the development of the research work.

4- Not be in possession of a PhD degree

5- Not having obtained a scholarship from the Santiago Grisolia Program before 

Applications should include:

a)    Cover letter with personal data (nationality, date of birth, gender, current address) 

b)    Copy of valid passport or Spain resident card 

c)    Official academic transcript including the name of obtained degrees (both MSc and BSc), showing courses taken and grades achieved together with dates, as well as the maximum and minimum scores and score required for passing a course. An official translation into English or Spanish is required if the original is in another language (French, Italian or German are acceptable)

d)    A detailed CV in English or Spanish.

e)    Proof of adequate knowledge of English or Spanish

f)    Names of two references or recommendation letters. 

The candidate should submit the above documents to <robinlab@uji.es> as soon as possible but

no later than      >>>>>>   JULY 15, 2017 <<<<<<

Please include the above documents as a SINGLE PDF file with your name and include - “PhD Application” in the subject-line. Please meet this deadline, even if you do not have all the documents, since missing files can be provided later.
 
For more information, please address your inquiries to Prof. Angel P. del Pobil at <robinlab@uji.es>

About UJI RobInLab
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RobInLab has 25 years experience in RTD activities and a strong record of participation in funded European, national and regional projects, as well as with companies and private foundations. RobinLab has a strong research line in robotics that was initiated in 1991 and today involves a team of 7 full-time researchers, who are also involved in the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Advanced Robotics. Their activities emphasize research and development in the areas of cognitive and service robotics, including motion planning, active learning, multisensory grasping and manipulation, control architectures, neuro-robotics, visual and tactile perception, social and developmental robotics. The group has been very active in benchmarks and performance evaluation in robotics research. RobinLab has participated in various European funded projects such as GUARDIANS, EYESHOTS and GRASP. It has established itself as a renowned and highly competitive research organization within the Robotics community, being one of the founding members of the EURON Network of Excellence. RobInLab offers a multidisciplinary and international environment, currently with students from 8 different nationalities. It is one of the 16 teams selected to compete at the Amazon Robotics Challenge to be held in Nagoya with Robocup 2017.

Jaume I University is situated in Castellon, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Spain between Valencia and Barcelona, it seeks to maintain a principle of open competition (on the basis of merit) to appoint the best candidate, and provides equal opportunity for all candidates, and equally encourage both genders to apply, as well as candidates with disabilities.

Professional perspectives
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Professional perspectives for our students are excellent. Former UJI RobInLab PhD alumni include winners and finalists of the European PhD George Giralt Award and Robotdalen Scientific Award, as well as recipients of Marie Curie Fellowships. They followed their careers as postdocs at prestigious universities such as the Imperial College London, University of Leeds, University of Hertfordshire, University of Plymouth, Hong kong University of Technology, or companies such as Willow Garage. Books based on their thesis and subsequent work have been published by Springer in series such as STAR or COSMOS. Currently they pursue their professional careers at companies such as Google in California, INTEL in Portland, The Shadow Robot Company, or with academic positions at Radboud University in The Netherlands or Middlesex University (U.K.)