Skip to content

Research Associate - Safety of Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Computer Science
Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
32,236 - 39,609 a year
Posted Date
Apply by
Job Reference

Role Description

In this role, you will collect and develop methods for making autonomous robots safe.

Initially, you will be part of RIMA, an EU project to unlock Europe's potential for the use of robotics in inspection and maintenance (I&M) of the heavy infrastructure that makes our civilisation possible (including power plants, power lines, roads, and railways). RIMA will train and support companies throughout the EU who are developing I&M robotics. The post is based in the Computer Science Department but will also involve work with staff in the Law Department, and the project’s partners in 17 different EU Nations.

Your role in RIMA will be to work out how such robots can be shown to be reliable, safe, and acceptable to regulators. There is a lot of knowledge on this out there, but it's not collected in one place, it's not always adequate, and it's not always consistent. Your main duties will be to review existing guidance from diverse technology and application domains, identify the common core, and develop new guidance that is applicable across all the domains. Your key responsibilities will be to conduct collaborative research with a range of practitioners and experts across domains and across Europe, learn from them, and write guidance that captures their expertise, producing publications, presentations and disseminating the research results. There will also be the opportunity to develop and disseminate education and training material.

Beyond RIMA, you will work on a variety of other autonomy and robotics projects, involving a variety of applications and domains and involving advanced technologies such as Machine Learning (ML). Other projects might include work on robotics for inspection and maintenance in other domains such as agriculture or hazardous environments.

You will be particularly suited to this post if you have a background in safety and wish to learn about robotics, autonomy and ML, or if you are coming from the robotics field and want to build up skills and advance the state of the art in safety engineering.

Throughout your time in the post you will have support from the many researchers at York who are working on the Assuring Autonomy International Programme and developing its Body of Knowledge ( You will, in turn, contribute your guidance to the Body of Knowledge. You will thus have impact across the whole autonomous systems world.

Essential criteria

  • First degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electronic Engineering, or Robotics, or a closely-related discipline or equivalent experience
  • Knowledge of safety engineering, software engineering or robotics sufficient to engage in high quality research
  • Strong communication, writing and interpersonal skills
  • Competency to conduct research both alone and as part of the wider project, and to support the pursuit of funding
  • Availability and willingness to travel throughout the EU as part of work
  • Interest in and enthusiasm for the subject matter of the project and a collaborative ethos

This post is available on a fixed-term contract for 36 months. 

Please direct any informal enquiries to: Professor John McDermid,

The University is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community  – a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

      Athena Swan Bronze               

A place where we can ALL be ourselves #EqualityatYork



Forgot password | Register

Why York?

York is one of the most successful universities in the UK.

With world-class activity across the spectrum from the physical sciences, life sciences, and social sciences to the humanities, we have been recognised as one of the top 100 universities in the world, gaining outstanding results in official assessments of our research and teaching.