Computer Science: Fully Funded EPSRC DTP PhD Scholarship: Real-Time Spoken Language Understanding for Social Care Robots (RS607)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 12 June 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 12 June 2024

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

Subject areas: Intelligent Robotics and Natural Language Understanding

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Computer Science

Mode of study: Full-time 

Project description: 

This PhD project will investigate and build spoken language understanding (SLU) models from data for a social care robot simulation, to react quickly and effectively to instructions in a home environment. The models built will respond to instructions like “please put the remote control on the table” and follow-up repairs like “no, the left-hand table” when the speaker realizes the robot has made a mistake, in real time and without delay. 

To build these SLU algorithms, the project will involve collecting data with pairs of human participants in a Virtual Reality environment. The models built will aim to give the most accurate user intention word-by-word, but also a continuous measure of confidence corresponding to human reaction times. The models will be tested both in the simulation environment and real-world equivalent robots.

The successful candidate will join the new Intelligent Robotics group in the Computer Science Department in the Computational Foundry in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Swansea University, in addition to interfacing with the established Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) FIT lab. The candidate will be working alongside other researchers on the FLUIDITY project on human-robot interaction, and those working on other real-world applications.

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level in Computer Science; Mathematics; Linguistics or Psychology/Cognitive Science (with evidence of programming and/or NLP/computational linguistics experience), or an appropriate master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University). Evidence of publishable standard projects is also desirable. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship 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 open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, 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 of £19,237.

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 Computer Science / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October

    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 ‘RS607 - Social Care Robots’

*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 e-mail). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised application closing date. Please note that your application may not be considered without the documents listed:

  • 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 Julian Hough (

*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.

Who is eligible to apply?

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.

Swansea University Campus

Where is Swansea University?