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Machine Learning Scholarships

RCA Stavros Niarchos Foundation PhD Scholarships in STEAM-focused Research

Two scholarships are available in this area and applicants are requested to indicate which of the following their proposal relates specifically to.  The research students will build upon our previous work in the area of robotic perception, mobility and manipulation.  We are keen to attract applicants with backgrounds in mechatronics, software, or engineering design to address:  

Soft Robotics: proposals are invited from candidates to conduct research on soft robotics devices for mobility, manipulation and anchoring.  Experience with flexible electronics, advanced composites and manufacturing techniques is highly desirable

Mobile Robotics: proposals are invited from candidates to conduct research on mobile robotics for operation in unstructured and unpredicted environments.  Experience and knowledge of hardware development, computational robot design or computer vision is desirable.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Sina Sareh, Academic Lead, Robotics, by email (sina.sareh@rca.ac.uk), with your CV (e-mail’s subject: ‘Soft Robotics Scholarship at RCA’).


3D visualisation the School of Design at the RCA is developing new applications of 3D gaming and visualisation technologies to a wide range of tasks in modelling, simulation, motion capture, and data visualisation. Under the supervision of Professor Paul Anderson, the research student will build upon our previous work in digital visualisation and interaction as part of a strategic shift to advanced interactive technologies:

Computer science (3D gaming and visualisation technologies): proposals are invited from applicants to undertake a practice-based PhD as a computer programmer with experience in either Unity, C++ or C#.  They should be keen to develop the use of this platform for haptics, gesture-based interfaces and 3D sound, and will preferably have experience in one of these areas.

For informal enquiries, please contact Professor Paul Anderson, Dean of the School of Design, by email (paul.anderson@rca.ac.uk), with your CV (e-mail’s subject: ‘Computer Science Visualisation at RCA’). 

Entry Requirements

These scholarships are highly competitive and applicants will be selected upon the quality of their application, interview and portfolio of practice.  However, all applicants must normally have obtained a good relevant undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification and a Master’s degree that prepares the applicant to undertake independent research. The College recognises as an equivalent qualification any degree, diploma, certificate or other evidence of formal qualification awarded by a university or other higher education establishment, where the award is made following the successful completion of a course of at least three years’ study, the programme of research being open, as a general rule, only to persons holding a certificate awarded on the successful completion of a full course of upper secondary education.

Exceptionally, other qualifications may be approved, providing that the Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline (ABCD) is satisfied that the applicant has the ability to pursue the programme of research successfully.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that they have good working knowledge of the English language. Candidates who do not speak English as their first language will be required to provide evidence that within the previous two years they have achieved an IELTS score of at least 7.0 with 7.0 in writing, or equivalent for PhD.  Further information is available on the application pages of the College website. 

Applications open: Monday 22 May 2017
Applications close: Friday 30 June 2017 at 23.59
Interviews: Week beginning 18 June 2017

Award and Eligibility

The SNF/RCA PhD Scholarships are three year full-time scholarships, which will cover UK/EU tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend of £7200 pa.  International applicants are encouraged to apply, and the scholarship fund will be used to partially cover their fees; they will need to ensure that they have sufficient funding in place to cover the remainder of the fees and any living expenses. 

 The students will be based at RCA’s Kensington and Battersea campuses in central London, with the possibility for some time at our White City Campus should the programme of research require it.

How to Apply

  • Applicants should provide:
  • A project proposal that identifies which of the Project Areas you are applying for (see below)
  • A full curriculum vitae covering education, professional experience, honours, awards and publications
  • Two references (academic or professional), submitted directly from the referees to research@rca.ac.uk with the message line ‘RCA/SNF Scholarship Reference’ [please ensure that these are received on or before the closing date]
  • Three to five images of research practice (where applicable)
  • Evidence of applicant meeting the UK Home Office's basic Tier 4 Visa language qualifications (where relevant)
  • Completed applications should be emailed to research@rca.ac.uk with the message line ‘RCA/SNF Scholarship Application’
  • The closing date for application is 23:59 on Friday 30 June, 2017.

Your proposal should include the following elements (1,000 words maximum):

  • What is your particular research question, argument or hypothesis within the scholarships described?
  • How do you propose to address these questions (what is your methodology)?
  • How do you locate your work in the wider context of the discipline?
  • How does this project meet the ambitions and intentions of the Scholarship call?
  • If you are proposing to undertake a project-based research degree, how will practice and written elements relate to each other? 
  • What is the proposed original contribution to knowledge and understanding? 
  • How do you propose to reflect upon or analyse critically your approach to the project?
  • Provide a detailed bibliography and reference to other people’s work/practice that gives further contextual information about your proposal
  • Describe the programme of work, identifying stages and content with estimated duration and completion dates of each phase.