Postgraduate Research Opportunity

Bio-inspired robot vision


Title: SCH20A: Bio-inspired robot vision

Funding: A full Home/EU fee waiver or equivalent fee discount for overseas students  (£4,630 in 2019-20) (further fee details - international students will need to pay the balance of their fees) plus a doctoral stipend equivalent to the RCUK Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20).

Application deadline: 15 January 2020

Start date: October 2020

Duration: 3 years (full time)

Location: Colchester Campus

Based in: School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

This studentship is now closed. View current opportunities.


Modern robots at best may be described as “narrow AI” systems that are good at certain well-defined tasks in specific environments only.

Biological organisms exhibit the capabilities envisioned for future robots. Humans and animals can navigate vast distances and often display behaviours or activities that indicate a detailed, internal spatial representation of their surrounding environment or a ‘cognitive map’. 

The project

With this motivation, this project will leverage deep neurophysiological insights from the living world to develop new neuroscience-inspired methods capable of achieving advanced perception and navigation for future robots.

The knowledge of how animals and humans map the environments through which they travel will be utilised to build novel neuroscience-inspired mapping methods both in 2D and 3D.

In addition, the cues that bees and birds utilise to navigate home across familiar areas, the structure of their routes or maps, and the versatility of the spatial knowledge they store for developing efficient mapping methods will also be leveraged.


A full Home/EU fee waiver (£4,630 in 2019-20 - further fee details), or equivalent fee discount for overseas students. International students will need to pay the balance of their fees.

A doctoral stipend equivalent to the Research Councils UK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20), plus £2,500 training bursary via Proficio funding, which may be used to cover the cost of advanced skills training including conference attendance and travel.



  • The successful candidate would be expected to speak fluent English and meet our English Language requirements.
  • A good BSc or BEng degree (1st, 2:1, or equivalent) in Bioinformatics, computer science, or a related subject.
  • Strong analytical and mathematical skills are required, as well as good programming skills in C/C++ or any other language of choice.


  • An MSc with Merit or Distinction.
  • Knowledge of computer vision and publications. 

How to apply

You can apply for this postgraduate research opportunity online.

Please include your CV, covering letter, personal statement, and transcripts of UG and Masters degrees in your application.

The University has moved to requiring only one reference for PhD applications and these can be received after a conditional offer has been made so the absence of these will not hold up the recruitment process.

Instruction to applicants

When you apply online you will be prompted to fill out several boxes in the form:

  • For "Course title" please put "PhD Computer Science"
  • For "Proposed research topic or area of research" please put the title of this studentship (SCH20A: Bio-inspired robot vision)
  • For "If you have contacted a potential supervisor..." please put Dr Shoaib Ehsan.

If you have any informal queries about this opportunity please email the supervisor, Dr Shoaib Ehsan (