Job: International PhD Studentship in Autonomous Terrestrial Mining

Title International PhD Studentship in Autonomous Terrestrial Mining
Categories funded, PhD
Salary/Bursary >15000 pa
Location Lincoln, UK
Job Information

This PhD studentship, fully funded by the University of Lincoln, falls within the framework of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) – one of the eight great technologies identified by the UK Government. This project is a collaborative initiative by the University of Lincoln and GMV, UK. The successful candidate will join the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (L-CAS), which is the University of Lincoln’s cross-disciplinary research group in robotics.  L-CAS specialises in technologies for perception, learning, decision-making, control and interaction in autonomous systems, especially mobile robots and robotic manipulators, and the integration of these capabilities for multi-sector applications. The project will be carried out in the School of Engineering and in partnership with the School of Computer Science.

The project aims at developing a new 3D volumetric mapping instrument based on vision. The instrument shall consist of two Intel RealSense D435 camera, a pan and tilt unit or similar and variable illumination. The project shall focus on the design of a novel pan and tilt unit or similar mechanism fulfilling the requirements, the design of a variable illumination light array and novel software using stereo imaging and variable illumination to create accurate volumetric maps in an underground environment.

In collaboration with GMV UK, this study will contribute to the ongoing Innovate UK funded Autonomous Robotic InSpEction (ARISE) project, which aims to implement autonomous surveys of geotechnical conditions during the normally unproductive period immediately after the blast; this is when workers vacate the mine due to post-blasting fumes and seismic risk. The robotic platform will be used to:

  1. Survey roof conditions in newly-blasted areas;
  2. Monitor material flow in ore passes and extraction points, particularly mapping ‘hangups’ that can block ore passes. Mapping hangups from below is extremely dangerous for people;
  3. Accurately map areas in 3D for reconciliation and design verification.
  4. ARISE will provide safety and financial benefits while not affecting the production cycle (operating in the shift change periods) and is therefore attractive for industrial roll-out.

The student will have an opportunity to interact with the ARISE Consortium, undertake site visits, access field trial data and participate in field trial depending on scheduling.

Funding information

This 3.5 years PhD studentship is expected to commence in May/June 2020 and is funded by the University of Lincoln. This position is open to UK, EU as well as overseas students. For UK/EU students, we will fully cover your annual UK/EU fees, which is £4,327 per year for 2019/20. Further, you will receive a tax-free maintenance grant of up to £15,009 per year for 2019/20, and thereafter, the stipend will increase in-line with the EPSRC rate annually. International students will receive the same level of tax-free maintenance grant for 3.5 years. We will consider offering full international fees and maintenance grant to an exceptionally talented international applicant.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have a First or Upper Second-class honours degree, ideally a master’s degree in Engineering (Robotics/Control/Electronics/Electrical/Mechanical/Mechatronics) and be able to demonstrate good problem solving and analytical skills.  Computing background in Matlab, Simulink, Python, ROS, C/C++ and SolidEdge will be an advantage. Applicants are expected to have good hands-on-skills, excellent communication and presentation skills. Non-native speakers of English are expected to have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above (or equivalent TOEFL score) with no sub-test of less than 6.

How to apply

To formally apply for this studentship, you must submit your CV (2 pages), certified copies of degree certificates and transcripts, a personal statement outlining your approach to the project and also explaining how your qualifications and experience meet the requirements (~200 words), contact detail of two referees. Click the “Apply Now” button below.

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly to arrange a suitable time for an interview should they be short-listed. Applications are assessed continuously until the position is filled. Please understand that due to the anticipated volume of applications we will only get back to applicants if they are shortlisted.

The studentship is expected to commence on 1st June 2020 or on another mutually agreed start date. For any informal enquiries prior to applying, please contact Prof Mini C. Saaj (

Supervisory Team

This studentship will be supervised by Prof Mini C. Saaj and Prof Marc Hanheide. Aron Kisdi, from GMV, will be the industrial supervisor.



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