Fully Funded Research Position in "Machine Learning for Autonomous Robot Exploration"

A position (PhD or postdoc level) is available to work with Prof Pascal Meissner in the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt on one of today’s most relevant research problems at the intersection of autonomous robotics, machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence.

Learn as you help robots see, learn, and navigate! As mobile robots spread into different areas of human activity, they are breaking through the boundaries of the structured and static environments, such as houses or gardens, where they were first used. This is particularly thanks to breakthroughs in deep learning, which have provided robots with an unprecedented level of flexibility and safety in navigating complex environments. However, these advances remain limited to environments through which such robots have previously been manually steered to painstakingly record 3D maps of them. Still, we need robots that can explore and monitor unknown environments (without having been steered through them first) to perform tasks in them. Giving robots such capabilities is the goal of this project and of utmost importance for the success of future robotic systems.

Candidate's Profile

We are hiring! Our team is looking for a motivated research collaborator who has

  • A German Master’s (at 1.8 or above) or Bachelor’s degree (at 1.4 or above), or international equivalent (undergraduate degree with minimum GPA at 3.5 out of 4.0) in either Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, or a related discipline. If your degree is not from an EU country, visit (anabin.kmk.org) for guidance
  • Confidence and independence in programming complex systems (hands-on experience in software development)
  • Solid background in algorithms and data structures
  • Solid skills in maths (skills in statistics are helpful)
  • Strong communication skills in English (both oral and in writing)
  • Interest in autonomous robotics, machine learning, computer vision, or artificial intelligence

We will give you the opportunity to work independently and the freedom to steer the direction of the research according to your interests and strengths within the overall project goal.


The position is fully funded in accordance with the German TV-L salary scale, pay grade: E13, employment: 100 % of standard working time (about 4000 euros per month before tax and social security contributions), see also https://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/c/t/rechner/tv-l/west?id=tv-l-2023&matrix=1

Application Information

This position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found. Applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Pascal Meissner (pascal.meissner[at]thws.de) to discuss their interest.

Applications should include:

  • All Degree Certificates/Academic Transcripts (German, English or officially translated into English). Please indicate your GPA
  • A full CV describing your background (max 2 pages). Please indicate your relevant skills, scientific publications, awards, research videos and/or code, professional profile(s)
  • A Research Proposal outlining the extent and ambition of your proposed research, written in English, and using sources and methods from the current literature (1,000 to 1,500 words excl bibliography). It will be assessed for a) evidence of interest in and understanding of the proposed area of research, b) the originality of the proposed research and c) your ability to present a reasoned and coherent case
  • Any documents providing evidence of academic achievements, relevant practical experience, and qualifications earned at or outside of the university


You will be supervised by Prof Pascal Meissner (the PhD shall be co-supervised by another university professor, tbd based on the project topic) and will be a part of a cross-disciplinary team. As a member of our team, you will have unlimited access to our state-of-the-art robotics lab, as well as outstanding experts in autonomous robotics, computer vision, reinforcement learning, representation learning, semantic data processing, trustful learning, strong artificial intelligence, and many more. Teamwork, diversity, and transparency belong to our core beliefs.

You will also have the opportunity to contribute to live industrial projects from time to time. In addition, senior research collaborators are encouraged to take up teaching assistantships to develop their teaching skills, should they envision their futures in academia.

CAIRO (Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics) is a new research center established at the Wuerzburg-Schweinfurt Technical University of Applied Sciences (THWS) under the Hightech Agenda Bavaria. The Hightech Agenda Bavaria is a technology offensive unique in Germany with a total investment volume of two billion euros. In CAIRO alone, 3.3 million euros are being invested and 8 new professorships created. The city of Wuerzburg is located in Lower Franconia in the northwest of Bavaria. It is a centre for education and research and an attractive tourist destination.