PhD position: Adaptive Ocean Sampling and Mapping using Networked Marine Robots (surface and underwater vehicles) – Deadline 10 October 2022

The work envisioned aims to contribute to the development of strategies that will afford groups of autonomous marine robots the capability to acquire relevant ocean data at the appropriate temporal and spatial scales in a cost-effective manner. To this end, the robotic systems will leverage on prior available data (e.g. from satellites in the case of surface phenomena or remote acoustic sensing from research ships in the case of underwater environments ) and use online acquired data to collectively make decisions regarding the best strategy to maneuver and acquire environmental data in a specified volume of water or map a given area using appropriate sensors. The applications are manifold (e.g. seabed mapping, fisheries, ecosystem studies, inspection of critical infrastructures, environmental protection) and require the use of advanced tools for distributed navigation, control, and decision making, the combination of which is still in its infancy. See for example the EU project RAMONES in which IST is currently involved for a challenging application that requires the use of advanced cooperation adaptive ocean sampling techniques to map natural radioactivity sources underwater.

Notice of the call
Download english version here


AIR Centre PhD grants are aimed at applicants enrolled or that comply with the requirements to enroll for PhD related studies and who wish to carry out research towards this degree. Candidates with a MSc degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering (or equivalent/similar area) may apply.

Summary of work plan

The work will witness both theoretical advancements and practical field experiments with groups of autonomous surface and underwater marine robots including autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs), and underwater gliders that are property of IST) in one or more of the following research areas: navigation systems including terrain aided navigation, cooperative motion planning, navigation, and control, fault detection and fault recovery, networked control using hybrid acoustic/optical communication networks, and sensor based control (eg: closing the loop with vision and sonar). A research work plan will be discussed between the selected candidate and the advisors within the areas selected.

Name(s) of supervisor(s)

Supervisor: Prof. David Cabecinhas, IST (

´Co-Supervisors: Prof. Pedro Batista ( and Prof. António Pascoal, IST (

Name(s) of hosting institution(s)

The work will be conducted at Dynamical Systems and Ocean Robotics Lab (DSOR), Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) extending existing cooperation links already in place with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway; University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil; IIT Madras, Chennai, India. Information regarding the infrastructures available at IST to carry out research and field tests with marine robots can be downloaded from 

Infrastructures available at IST and IST-ID

Identification of PhD program

PhD Programme in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PDEEC) of the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Univ. Lisbon, Portugal

Please check the programme’s website for a description of the PhD Programme

For additional information on the PhD programme, please address an email to Mrs Helena Santana (  with your enqueries. All questions related to the scholarship should be addressed to scholarships@aircentre.orgPlease feel free to also contact the assigned supervisor and/or the supervisors for any queries related to the process of obtaining the academic documentation needed to apply for this scholarship.

The AIR Centre PhD Scholarship Programme aims at training the leaders of the future

Enhancing scientific research and technology development capabilities of AIR Centre Network in order to better respond to national priorities and global challenges in the Atlantic region;

  • Strengthening existing collaboration ties and exploring or developing new collaboration ties between the AIR Centre and the Portuguese scientific community in areas of common interest;
  • Promoting bilateral/multilateral cooperation between Portuguese scientific institutions and other institutions from diverse Atlantic countries through inclusive knowledge and data sharing to promote job creation, young entrepreneurship and inclusive sustainable development;
  • Expanding the reach of the AIR Centre scientific agenda through a wider engagement with the academia to demonstrate the societal relevance and public value of research.

Doctoral research work will be carried out entirely or partially in a Portuguese institution.


Scholarships are annual, renewable to a maximum of 4 years.


Applications and all supporting documents must be submitted online using the Application Form available on each scholarship page. Applications submitted by other means will not be accepted.

Application Process

Please note that you will need the items listed below. To ease the submission process, we suggest you gather them before you start your application:

  • Copy of your Identification Document (ID card, passport);
  • Recognition of the foreign academic degrees and the conversion of the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale, if applicable;
  • Your Curriculum Vitae and saved as PDF;
  • A Motivation Letter;
  • Your PhD work plan, if applicable (please check scholarship link for details before working on this);
  • 2 Recommendation letters.
  • Ciência ID

Except for official documents, application and all related documents must be submitted in English.

Notification of results

Evaluation results will be communicated to the email address provided by the candidates in the application form.

Before applying, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you carefully read the Public Notice of the Call for detailed information on the application, evaluation and selection process. Public Notice can be found on each scholarship page.
To access the Application Form (found within each scholarship page), you need to Register (create an account). When doing so, please make sure to write your email address correctly since all relevant information regarding your application will be sent to that email. Once you register, a password will be sent to your email and you can then Log In. Access the Scholarship Programme tab and scroll down to see all the available scholarships.

You can only submit one application for each scholarship. You can edit and save the application form at any time. The form will be available on the platform for editing until the application deadline, or until you submit the application. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to un-submit or make any changes.

Please note that the application to this scholarship program does not grant you a place in a PhD programme. Make sure you apply to the PhD programme identified in each scholarship.
Questions related to the application process or Application Form should be addressed to the AIR Centre through the email using the following subject line: AIR Centre PhD Scholarship Programme – [your name]. The AIR Centre will reply to all information requests up to 3 working days before the applications submission deadline. Before contacting the AIR Centre carefully read all the documents related to the Call and the information available on the AIR Centre’s website.

To find out more, click here.

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