PhD Position in Real-world Application of Swarm Robotics at the University of Southern Denmark

Updated: about 1 hour ago
Deadline: 31 Jan 2022

The University of Southern Denmark invites applications from qualified candidates for one (or more) fully funded 3-year PhD position in the field of swarm robotics for real-world applications. The starting date is spring 2022 (details will be arranged with the successful candidate). The position is based in Odense, Denmark and will be hosted by the SDU Biorobotics unit and the SDU Unmanned Aerial Systems Center of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, however, the student is expected to work in close collaboration with academic partners from Aalborg University and Copenhagen Business School, and industrial partners Agro Intelligence ApS, Robotto ApS, and the Danish Technological Institute. 

About the PhD project
Large-scale multi-robot systems, or robot swarms, have numerous potential real-world applications, such as search and rescue (industrial partner Robotto Co ApS) and farming (industrial partner Agro Intelligence ApS). It is, however, still unclear how human operators can effectively engage and control systems composed of multiple autonomous robots, especially in unstructured and outdoor environments. The PhD project will be carried out in the context of the project “Human-AI collaboration: Engaging and controlling swarms of Robots and Drones” funded by Digital Research Center Denmark and the Innovation Fund Denmark. The project focus is on key challenges in multi-robot collaboration, and on the design and evaluation of technological solutions that enable end-users to effectively engage and control autonomous multi-robot systems. The successful candidate will conduct basic research on abstractions, algorithms, and artificial intelligence as well as practical case study-based research involving digital prototypes and the industrial partners’ robotic hardware. The candidate will work closely with other PhD students, senior researchers, experts from industry, and end-users. 

About the Candidate 
We are looking for a highly motivated, creative, and ambitious student with a good command of English (written and spoken), who can work well in a team as well as independently and quickly acquire knowledge in new topics. The candidate should have a master's degree in engineering, computer science or a related field, a genuine interest in interdisciplinary research and a drive to bring multi-robot systems to real-world application. The candidate should have solid experience in programming and robotics. The ideal candidate should have a commitment to basic science and experience with relevant experimental work. Also, the ideal candidate is competent to acquire skills to conduct high-quality research and present and publish the outcome of the project at international conferences and in scientific journals.

The Research Units
The SDU Biorobotics unit and the SDU Unmanned Aerial Systems Center are both part of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark. SDU Biorobotics' current research program focuses, inter alia, on bio-inspired and biomimetic robotics, in which Nature's exploitation of unconventional principles is of considerable interest. The SDU Unmanned Aerial Systems Center focuses on research, education, innovation, and collaboration in the UAS domain for the benefit of society.

The research environment in both units is international and the daily language is English.

Contact information

For information please contact Professor Anders Lyhne Christensen (email:

) or Professor Ulrik Pagh Schultz (


If you experience technical problems you must contact .  

Conditions of employment
Applicants are required to have a master’s degree (equivalent to a Danish master's degree) at the time of enrollment and employment. Employment as a PhD fellow is a 3-year salaried position (start salary amounts to approx. 3.378,- EURO per month incl. supplements).

Employment of a PhD fellow can only happen after the Head of the PhD School has approved the candidate for admission to the PhD school. Employment and enrollment will cease without further notice at the end of the period.

A PhD fellow is not allowed to have any kind of sideline employment , while enrolled as PhD fellow at the faculty.

Employment is governed by the Protocol on PhD Research Fellows signed by the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Please check links for more information on salary and taxation .

The successful candidate will be enrolled at SDU in accordance with Faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order), read more here . 

The assessment process
Read about the Assessment and selection process . Shortlisting may be used. 

Application procedure
The Faculty expects applicants to read the Faculty information for prospective PhD students and the SDU information on How to apply before applying.

The application deadline is 31.01.2022.

The application must be in English and must include the following - the required forms must be found at the Faculty website :

  • Completed TEK PhD application form for 5+3 applicants. Find the form at the Faculty website .
  • Motivation letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. 2 pages). Upload in the field called “Project description”. 
  • Detailed Curriculum Vitae, describing research, publication and teaching experience, computational skills and including personal contact information.
  • Verified copies of the official bachelor diploma and master's diploma and transcripts of exams, both original and translated into English.
  • Completed TEK PhD form for calculation grade point average. Find the form at the Faculty website . Upload in one of the fields called “Publication”. 
  • An official document describing the grading scheme of the awarding universities (if not Danish). Upload in one of the fields called “Publication”. 
  • An official and verified written assessment of the thesis or dissertation project from the grade giving institution, if the thesis/examination project is evaluated by approved/passed. The statement must clearly state that the candidate has been among the top 30 pct. in the graduation class for the study programme.
  • List of publications and maximum two examples of relevant publications, in case you have any publications. Please attach one pdf-file for each publication.
  • References, if any. Reference letters may also be included. You're welcome to use the form for reference letter at the Faculty website.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

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