Reference code: ENG053

Closing date: 30 August 2019

Supervisors: Professor Nick Wright, School of Engineering and Dr Steve McGough, School of Computing Science

Sponsor: This project is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Tharsus Ltd

Start date and duration of the award: January 2020 for 3 years


This PhD project explores the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence based image systems to identify and classify effective and efficient motion of people.

Tharsus Ltd is a world-leading robotics and automation company that builds custom robots for high profile customers, such as Ocado, Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover. The robots are manufactured within the company’s factory in Blyth. Tharsus are developing revolutionary analytics techniques to provide a better understanding of how people and objects move and interact in complex changing environments. This is an exciting opportunity to work with a pioneering company to use state of the art artificial intelligence techniques for image analysis to push forward the boundaries of these techniques with a real world problem. This research will focus on the development of deep learning algorithms and computer vision analysis in real time.

The project has a strong industrial focus that will focus on the use of artificial intelligence within the challenging requirements of manufacturing. The successful candidate will join the Emerging Technology Group of the School of Engineering at Newcastle University and have weekly academic supervision meetings. The successful candidate will attend international conferences and workshops at which they will present their work to their peers and meet other researchers.

The candidate spend a number of days each week working closely with an exciting “start-up” within Tharsus, collaborating with an industrial advisor who will provide additional mentorship and training on the industrial sides of the project. This will provide the successful candidate with additional commercial awareness and entrepreneurial skills.

Administrative Contacts & How To Apply

Professor Nick Wright via email to

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • insert the programme code 8060F in the programme of study section
  • select ‘PhD Electrical Engineering’ as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code ENG053 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code ENG053 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Please send your covering letter and CV to Prof Nick Wright via email to

Entry Requirements

Have, or expected to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in electrical engineering, computing, maths or a related subject.

The full award is available to UK/EU applicants only.

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,009 (full award). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Funding Information

Application Deadline:

30 August 2019

Please see our website for how to apply:
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