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PhD Scholarship


We are looking for excellent and highly-motivated PhD students, and visiting students.


You can contact Dandan for informal inquiries. She is happy to answer questions related to eligibility and the application process. She can recommend you to other supervisors if your research background is not related to intelligent robotics research.

You are welcome to join Bristol Robotics Lab ( for Intelligent Robotics Research (new). You can choose a supervisor from the Department of Engineering Mathematics, University of Bristol.

PhD Openings

        We are accepting PhD applications all year round.

The details of the available PhD projects can be found at the end of this page (see PhD Projects Description). 

Application Details

Prior to submitting your application, please contact Dr. Dandan Zhang ( with your CV attached for an informal discussion about research topics. There will be a shortlisting of the best applications before an interview with Dr Zhang and the other potential PhD supervisors.

Candidate Requirements

English Language Requirement English language test certificate (minimum IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each skill or other equivalent English qualifications).


Applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a Master’s degree (or international equivalent) in robotics, computer science, engineering (e.g. mechanical, electronic), physics, mathematics or other relevant disciplines. Applicants without a Master’s qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree. Please note that acceptance will also depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree.


Basic skills and knowledge required:

• Essential:

Excellent analytical skills and some experience with coding (C++/Python preferred)

Excellent teamwork skills and a proactive attitude.


• Desirable:

Prior experience with robotics, including ROS

Prior experience with machine learning techniques such as deep learning, reinforcement learning etc.

Bristol-China Scholarship Council PhD Scholarship programme (UoB-CSC) for Chinese PhD applicants

  • UoB will waive the international tuition fees and the CSC will provide the living allowance. UoB-CSC applications for the 2022-2023 entry are currently closed. The application will open every year around October. Please note this is a two-step application.

  • Step 1: You should submit a full application (in English) to UoB first. You have to get an unconditional offer before you place a CSC application to UoB. The deadline for this step is usually in the early or middle of January.

  • Step 2: If you are successful at step 1, you will then submit another full application (in Chinese) to the CSC in China. The deadline is usually in March. The result is usually announced in May/June. If you are successful in both steps, you will be awarded a full scholarship from UoB and CSC.

EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Studentships

         Scholarships are open to Home and International fee status students, but these opportunities are NOT OPEN to students applying to CDT programmes. Candidates must meet the entry requirements of the PhD programme they wish to be considered for.

To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:  

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements as detailed below), or  

  • Have EU settled status (and the course starts before 1 January 2028) or,   

  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or,   

  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter   

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.   

Eligibility on these grounds will only be available for courses starting up to seven years from the last day of the transition period (i.e., on 31 December 2027 at the latest).

International students who do not meet these criteria can also apply, however the number of international studentships is limited to 30% of the total University allowance.

​​​​​​​An award includes

The DTP scholarships cover the following for 3.5 years:  

  • Tuition fees at the Home student rate  

  • Tax free stipend at the UKRI basic rate (£17,668 p.a. in 2022/23, 2023/24 rate tbc.)  

  • Travel/consumables budget of £4,900 in total. 

Supervisory teams

We are keen to promote supervision teams with a mix of experience, therefore welcome applications from Senior and Early Career Academics working together. The school has recently recruited a significant number of new academics and this call will give priority to them as primary supervisors.

The faculty is also keen to promote awards of 50% scholarships with matching funds from industry or other sources. Please note this on the FORM and provide an outline in the supervisory support letter. The PGR team will require additional information in these types of funding offers. (email with questions)

PhD Studentships in the Faculty of Engineering

The Studentships are funded for 3/3.5/4 years depending on the project to cover the full cost of Home tuition fees, also a limited number of international fee waivers for EPSRC Studentships are available, plus a stipend bursary. The stipend bursary will rise each year to reflect the standard research council rates.

Please contact Dandan for more information.

University of Bristol PhD Scholarship

Check out more at the following link.


          The University of Bristol Postgraduate Research Scholarships - Faculty of Engineering call for nominations is now being launched (visit the University web page for details).

         The Faculty of Engineering is pleased to offer 12 fully funded PhD scholarships in support of the brightest students from across the globe. This Information is relevant for Supervisors who have prospective PhD applicants that are interested in applying for one of the scholarship schemes listed in this document. This opportunity is NOT open to students applying to our CDT programmes.  Candidates must comply with the entry requirements of the PhD programme they wish to be considered for.

​​​​​​​Prospective applicants must first submit an application

Other student funding

You can check out other student funding at UoB

Funded PhD projects in Robotics [CDT]

This is a fully-funded, 3.5-year PhD studentship.
The scholarship will provide fu
nds to cover home tuition fees and living costs in line with UK Research Council funding levels.

Funded PhD projects in Interactive AI [CDT]

This is a fully-funded, 3.5-year PhD studentship.
The scholarship will provide funds to cover home tuition fees and living costs in line with UK Research Council funding levels.

Ranking of nominees

The applications will then be ranked based on academic excellence of the candidates (e.g., application quality demonstrated via cover letter/motivation, project proposal quality, MSc grades, relevant industry experience, publications, and the supervisory team support letter). The ranking committee will be composed of the School PGR Director, the Deputy PGR Directors for each Department and the School Research Director.

The final ranking list will be approved by the School Research Director on the basis of strategic needs identified by the School Research Committee. Ranking criteria also include the excellence of the candidate, existing School promises, alignment with Faculty Themes as per the Faculty Strategy – EX2030 Update 2020 (Health & Life; Transport & Infrastructure; Energy & Environment; Networks & Security; AI & Data Science; Materials & Manufacturing; Robotics & Autonomy; HPC & Quantum), promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration and financial support from industry. 

PhD Projects

PhD Projects Description

Machine Learning Based Human-Robot Shared Control

Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Modelling and Data-Driven Hybrid Method for Intelligent Robotics

Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Domain Adaptation for Learning from Demonstration

Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Explainable Robot Learning

Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Improve Data-Efficiency for Deep Imitation Learning

Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Robot learning for Dexterous Manipulation Based on Visual-Tactile Fusion

Bristol BS8 1TH, UK

Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships are aimed at talented individuals who have the potential to make change. The CSC offers around 800 awards for postgraduate study and professional development each year.

Postdoctoral Research Positions

   Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers

If you want to propose a collaboration based on an externally-funded post-doctoral scholarship, please get in touch with me. Here are some potential funding opportunities:

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