Applying to CDT-D2AIR


We are now accepting applications for the September 2024 cohort in the UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Dependable and Deployable AI for Robotics (CDT-D2AIR), a 4-year PhD programme jointly offered by Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh.

As cutting-edge research in robotics and AI reaches the stage where widespread deployment is feasible, issues around safety, dependability and trustworthiness become ever more critical. Emerging applications need robotics to be certifiable, reliable, and capable of interacting safely with users and their environments. While AI methods are finding increasing adoption within robotics, much of this technology was not originally designed with safety and other important human-centred requirements in mind.

The UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Dependable and Deployable AI for Robotics (CDT-D2AIR) will train students in the latest methods in AI, verification, design, and robotics, while also ensuring that students have the technical skills to develop and deploy safe robotic systems. CDT-D2AIR's innovative 4-year PhD programme combines training in state-of-the-art robotics, machine learning, optimisation, and software engineering, with verification and testing. Situated in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics as a joint degree between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, the programme will be conducted within the context of training in emerging legal standards and regulations, sustainability, ethics, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusiveness (EDI), all through engaging learning activities, to create a new generation of graduates working on dependable and deployable AI for robotics.

Before you begin you application

All prospective students should familiarise themselves with the CDT-D2AIR Programme before they begin their application, in particular the CDT-D2AIR research themes.

We are only accepting applications for full-time students. All students will be required to be based near Edinburgh to optimise the benefits of the cohort learning experience.

Studentships for the September 2024 cohort are limited but are available to all nationalities. All studentships cover home tuition fees (fees for 2024/25 will be confirmed at a later date) and maintenance at the UKRI research council rate (stipend for 2024/25 will be confirmed at a later date).

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree at the UK 2:1 level, or a higher degree, in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related discipline. Applicants from other disciplines with an interest in robotics will also be considered (e.g., Psychology, Social Sciences, and the creative disciplines), but should have substantial exposure to computing or engineering concepts, quantitative methods, and programming experience.

If English isn't your first language, you must supply evidence of your English language proficiency with your application. The minimum requirement is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent), with no individual component less than 6.0. Please check the information on the types of English language qualifications we can accept.

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons and actively encourage applications from groups that are underrepresented in AI and robotics research. All appointments will be made on merit. We are committed to facilitating a shift in the culture and diversity of the AI and robotics research communities through proactive practices to support equality, diversity, and inclusion at all levels. Our work in this area was recently recognised by Informatics Europe, who awarded our previous CDT with the Minerva Informatics Equality Award. Also see our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion statement.

Required documents

All applications to CDT-D2AIR must include the following documents:

  • A current CV.
  • Previous transcripts and degree certificates. If submitting transcripts and degree certificates which are not in English, please also submit a certified English translation for all documents.
  • A scan of the front cover and information page of your passport.
  • A completed CDT-D2AIR Supplementary Information Form (see below).
  • Two reference letters. Please ask both referees to send their references directly to with the name of the applicant clearly indicated.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if English isn't your first language.

Instead of submitting a separate research proposal or personal statement, applicants must complete and submit the CDT-D2AIR Supplementary Information Form. Please ensure that you have familiarised yourself with the CDT-D2AIR Programme and the list of potential supervisors before completing this form.

We are unable to accept students with incomplete applications, so please ensure that all of the required documents are submitted as part of your application.

Application reviewing may take several weeks. Successful applicants will be contacted with information about the next stage of the application process, which includes an interview. Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted about the outcome of their application. We will be unable to provide any information on your application while it is under consideration. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Submitting your application

Applications to CDT-D2AIR should be submitted through the Heriot-Watt Postgraduate Programmes application site.

Please select "Robotics and Autonomous Systems, PhD" (programme code F229-RAS) as the choice of programme in the online application form.

Once you have completed the application form, an option to upload supporting documents will be made available. Please ensure that you upload all of the required documents listed above to minimise delays in your application being reviewed. Applications emailed to the CDT will not be accepted.


If you have any questions about CDT-D2AIR, please e-mail one of the CDT-D2AIR Directors, Professor Ron Petrick ( or Professor Ram Ramamoorthy ( Questions or problems with the application system may be directed to