Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

PhD position in Aerodynamics-aware cognitive control of aerial manipulation of flexible objects at University of Seville

This job offer has expired

    Universidad de Sevilla
    EngineeringAerospace engineering
    EngineeringComputer engineering
    EngineeringControl engineering
    EngineeringElectrical engineering
    EngineeringElectronic engineering
    EngineeringMechanical engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/03/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Spain › Sevilla
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


The GRVC Robotics Lab of the University of Seville is seeking a highly motivated PhD student to study and develop new control methods dealing with aerodynamic interactions for aerial manipulation of flexible objects.

This position is one out of 15 Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) positions offered within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) “AErial RObotic TRAINing for the next generation of European infrastructure and asset maintenance technologies” (AERO-TRAIN, www.aerotrain-etn.eu).

The GRVC Robotics Lab of the University of Seville (grvc.us.es) is led by Prof. Anibal Ollero and has more than 75 researchers and engineers. GRVC has an internationally recognized expertise in aerial robotics and plays a leading role in aerial manipulation, with involvement in 12 projects (including 4 European H2020 projects) and contracts in 2019 on aerial robotics for inspection and maintenance, and two new H2020 projects that started in 2020: AERIAL-CORE (aerial-core.eu), coordinated by the GRVC, and PILOTING (piloting-project.eu).


Project background

The AERO-TRAIN project is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN project carried out by a consortium of 14 academic and industrial organizations from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. AERO-TRAIN aims to close the gap between the Infrastructure Operations & Maintenance industry and aerial robotics, with the ambition to keep the assets operational and safe. The project addresses the fundamental challenges of human-machine interface (e.g., immersive technology, augmented reality) and of precise and robust aerial manipulation for enhanced remote manipulation and inspection evaluation.


Job description

[ESR4] Aerodynamics-aware cognitive control of aerial manipulation of flexible objects

The project focuses on the design and control of aerial manipulators for outdoor applications in inspection and maintenance. Aerial robots with arms that interact physically manipulating objects and applying forces to the environment need to fly very close to them. Aerial robots have to generate dynamic airflow with their actuators (i.e., rotors) to get lift and manoeuvrability, and this airflow interacts with the robot frame, the arms and any object or surface around, and also with the wind and turbulence that are present outdoors. In case these are non-rigid or deformable, as for example in aerial robots with arms with elastic or variable stiffness joints, or when manipulating or flying close to vegetation, trees, cables, hoses or flexible panels, the elastic deformation can be coupled with the air movement and the robot dynamics, and directly affects the control and stability of the aerial robots. The project will develop a new resilient cognitive control framework including machine learning techniques to adapt the robot to the previous situations. CFD analysis, tunnel/testbed and on-site experiments will be done to model the complex interactions and validate the control framework and its application range.

The PhD project will be hosted at the GRVC Robotics Lab in the Engineering School of the University of Seville, and the doctoral student will be supervised by Prof. Guillermo Heredia and Prof. Anibal Ollero. The research will have access at GRVC Robotics Lab to all the equipment necessary to perform the sought investigation, including robots, sensors, labs and indoor/outdoor facilities. Besides working on their project, the successful candidate will participate in network-wide training events like summer schools and retreats. Moreover, the PhD student will conduct secondments at other network partners.

The successful candidate will receive an employment full time contract and a competitive gross salary. The expected start date for the position is May-September 2021.


Your profile

The ESR applicants should have:

  • An outstanding academic record, excellent skills and possibly proven experience in the field of aerial robotics. Experience in the fields of aerial manipulation, robot control and aerodynamics is beneficial.
  • Excellent methodological skills and an analytical mindset, ability to work both independently and as a member of a research team.
  • Outstanding communication skills in English, both oral and written.
  • High motivation, ambition and enthusiasm about research in physical manipulation with aerial robots.
  • Excitement about working and collaborating with a diverse team of robotics researchers and engineers.


Eligibility Criteria

  • At the time of their recruitment, candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the master's degree, or an equivalent degree.
  • Applicants can be of any nationality. However, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the appointment. Short stays, such as holidays are not taken into account.
  • Applicants must have a university degree that qualifies for PhD studies at the time of recruitment (Master or equivalent). Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their Master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. That means that applicants are eligible if they are expected to graduate no later than September 2021.

All interested applicants meeting the eligibility requirements, irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.


University of Seville

Founded in 1.505, the University of Seville is the third largest in Spain in terms of number of students (over 70.000), and the first in Andalusia. At the center of gravity of the city’s social and cultural life, the university owns an extensive historic-artistic collection amounting to thousands of pieces. Today, the University of Seville is well known for its vital research in Technology and Science, which not only aids the development of science as a whole but enriches and develops the culture of Seville and Andalusia. Seville, capital city of Andalusia, located in the South of Spain, has some 800.000 inhabitants. The city is known worldwide for its security, its nice weather (warm winters and hot summers, which gets people active outdoors), its warm and festive atmosphere, its kind people, a reasonable cost of living, as well as its traditions and village festivals. Seville is, additionally, a multicultural, open and welcoming city, where many cultures have existed together in the past and still do this day. All of this makes Seville an ideal city to study in. For more information on the university and living in Seville please visit:






We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • An up-to-date CV.
  • A cover letter describing your motivation for applying for the position and the relation to your prior experience.
  • A project proposal for the position (max 2 pages). Proposals can include a research statement, a short plan related to the position, a plan for publications and research risk management.
  • A list of Degrees and grade transcripts.

The position for which you are applying is part of a call for 15 candidates within the AERO-TRAIN project. If you have applied or are planning to apply for any of the other positions, please provide a statement containing all the positions you applied for and rank them according to your preferences.



  • A list of scientific and technical publications, awards and certifications that are relevant for the vacancy.
  • Up to 3 relevant publications in related scientific fields.
  • Up to 3 reference letters.

Candidates will be selected based on their merits in the fields related to the ESR area of expertise. The board of the network will evaluate all applications, and the top-ranked candidates will be invited for interviews. Note that your data will be made available to the AERO-TRAIN partners for the purpose of conducting the assessment of all candidates.

Applications including all the requested documents must be submitted by email to: aerotrain@us.es, specifying at the beginning of the subject “[ESR4] …”. The application and all the accompanying documents (or official transcripts) must be written in English and attached or linked in pdf format.


Closing date: Applications must be submitted before March 15, 2021. Applications via postal services will not be considered.

After the closing date, the institution will make a first analysis to determine that the candidates meet the eligibility criteria of the call. The institution will publish within a maximum period of 15 working days of the closing date the list of candidates admitted in the selection process. Non-eligible candidates can claim objections to the preselection process during the 3 next working days after the announcement of the list. Final list of the admitted candidates will be announced within a maximum period of 10 working days. The lists will be published in the official webpage https://investigacion.us.es/investigacion/contratos-personal and in this Euraxess announcement.


For further information please contact Prof. Guillermo Heredia at aerotrain@us.es.

More Information

Additional comments

In case of applying, you give your consent for University of Seville to process your personal data included in the application for the purpose of evaluating your candidature for the participation in the AERO-TRAIN project, including transferring your personal data to the organizations taking part in the AERO-TRAIN project (privacy policy available at www.aerotrain-etn.eu/privacy-policy). The consent can be withdrawn at any time by contacting aerotrain@us.es.

Work location(s)
2 position(s) available at
Engineering School
Camino de los Descubrimientos, sn

EURAXESS offer ID: 604588


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