Closing date: 15 November 2023

Key Information

Open to UK applicants only.

Fully Funded EPSRC and Swansea PhD Scholarship: Collaborative Robotics Technology for Assembly & Disassembly of Fiddly Shaped Objects in Manufacturing Environment (CRTAD-ASOME)

Funding providers: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering

Subject areas: Robotics

Project start date: 

  • 1 January 2024 (Enrolment open from mid–December)
  • 1 April 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-March)
  • 1 July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)

Project supervisors: 

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Mode of study: Full or Part-time study is possible.

Project description: 

Assembly and disassembly of uncertain shapes, sizes, conditions, and fiddly shaped objects forms a great challenge in manufacturing when considered for automated and robotic processes. This is because it needs a lot of correct identification, dexterity, flexibility, and manoeuvring capabilities of the manipulators. In most cases, it ends-up for manual and tedious processes with limited or no robotics support to human operators. However, this results in increased cost of product repair, end of life decommissioning, and disassembly for replacing parts. This project will focus on understanding the technologies and methods required for flexible and adaptable autonomous assembly and disassembly processes using robotic manipulators associated with humanoid hands and vision system for human-like performance for uncertain shapes, sizes, conditions, and fiddly shaped objects. The project objectives can be summarized as: 

  1. Conducting a fundamental investigation into human assembly and disassembly dexterity of fiddly shaped objects using both arms and hand. 
  2. Using the knowledge obtained in achieving Objective 1, planning, testing, learning and adaptation strategies for an example assembly and disassembly operations. 
  3. Using UR3E/UR5E robots and DLR-HIT II Robot Hands available in the robotics lab to build the infrastructure needed to implement the strategies developed in previous objective 2 in handling complex assembly and disassembly tasks. 


Candidates must hold an Upper Second Class (2.1) honours degree  in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to applications from international students (unless eligible to pay UK tuition fee rates as defined by UKCISA regulations). 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).

Additional research expenses will also be available. 

How to Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Mechanical Engineering / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / January

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS421 - CRTAD-ASOME'

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Ashraf Ahmed Fahmy (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.