School of Informatics

PhD studentship in Specifying Safety in Hybrid Artificial Intelligence Systems

Deadline: 24 November 2023 (or until the position is filled)

One fully funded, full-time PhD position to work with Craig Innes in the Institute for Perception, Action, and Behaviour (IPAB) at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh.

This project aims to guarantee safety and trustworthiness within Hybrid AI Systems --- systems which mix traditional software components with machine learning (ML) components.

Such combinations are increasingly common in modern cyber-physical systems, from automated vehicles to robotic manipulators.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):


  • Integrating ML systems for perception/control with temporal, spatial and temporal logics.
  • Extracting rules and scenario specifications from requirements documents (e.g., Highway traffic rules, crash incident reports), for use in probabilistic configuration langauges.
  • Developing tools to analyze & calibrate how risk propagates across ML modules.
  • Using statistical experiment design to improve efficiency and coverage of ML-based simulations.


Candidate’s profile

  • A good Bachelors degree (2.1 or above or international equivalent) and/or Masters degree in a Computer Science, Mathematics, or another relevant subject
  • Proficiency in English (both oral and written). Good communication and technical writing skills.
  • Strong maths background (Linear Algebra and Probability knowledge is a plus).
  • Solid programming skills – Preferably Python. Experience with machine learning or scientific computing (such as PyTorch, JAX, TensorFlow, Julia) is a plus.


Studentship and eligibility

The School funded studentship starting in the academic year 2023/24 covers:

  • Full time PhD tuition fees for a student with a Home fee status (£4,712 per annum) and/or overseas fee status (£29,700 per annum).
  • A tax-free stipend of GBP £18,622 per year for 3.5 years.
  • Additional programme costs of £1,000 per year.


Application Information

Applicants should apply via the University’s admissions portal (EUCLID) and apply for the following programme: Informatics: IPAB: Robotics, Computer Vision, Computer Graphics and Animation PhD.

Applicants should state “Specifying Safety in Hybrid Artificial Intelligence Systems” and the research supervisor Craig Innes in their application and Research Proposal document.

Complete applications submitted by 24 November 2023 will receive full consideration; after that date applications will be considered until the position is filled. The standard anticipated start date is September 2024, although start dates of January 2024 (home applicants) or May 2024 (home/international applicants) are also possible. Please be advised that depending on the date an offer is made, later start dates might need to be considered for international applicants needing to complete immigration processes prior to commencing studies.


Applicants must submit:


  • All degree transcripts and certificates (and certified translations if applicable)
  • Evidence of English Language capability (where applicable).
  • A short research proposal (max 2 pages)
  • A full CV and cover letter describing your background, suitability for the PhD, and research interests (max 2 pages).
  • Two references (note that it the applicant’s responsibility to ensure reference letters are received before the deadline).


Only complete applications (i.e., those that are not missing the above documentation) will progress forward to Academic Selectors for further consideration.


The Institute for Perception, Action, and Behaviour located at the School of Informatics of the University of Edinburgh, which provides a vibrant research environment and hosts several research institutes that are relevant to the research that the PhD student will be conducting.

The School of Informatics is one of the largest in Europe and currently the top Informatics institute in the UK for research power, with 40% of its research outputs considered world-leading (top grade), and almost 50% considered top grade for societal impact. The University of Edinburgh is constantly ranked among the world’s top universities and is a highly international environment with several centres of excellence.



Craig Innes