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Research Projects with PhD Positions

We have a range of exciting research projects with PhD positions available, across topics spanning some or all of the following fields: robotics, computer vision and computational neuroscience.We have a team of highly motivated PhD students and new additions to the team are always welcome! 

Milford lab as of July 2014. From left to right: Zetao Chen (PhD student), Edward Pepperell (PhD student), Me (Michael Milford, group leader), Obadiah Lam (Research Assistant), Stephanie Lowry (PhD student), Adam Jacobson (PhD student).

Robotic Vision Centre of Excellence: 2 PhD Positions Available

I am a Chief Investigator on the new Australian Research Council Robotic Vision Centre of Excellence. As part of this project, I will be leading a 7 year research project on Robust Visual Representations in robotics, which will involve both postdoctoral research fellows and PhD students.

I have positions available for 2 PhD students starting now.

Australian Research Council Future Fellowship: Superhuman place recognition with a unified model of human visual processing and rodent spatial memory: 2 PhD Positions Available

Current robotic and personal navigation systems leave much to be desired; GPS only works in open outdoor areas, lasers are expensive and cameras are highly sensitive to changing environmental conditions. In contrast, nature has evolved superb navigation systems. This project will solve the challenging problem of place recognition, a key component of navigation, by modelling the visual recognition skills of humans and the rodent spatial memory system. This approach combines the best understood and most capable components of place recognition in nature to create a whole more capable than its parts. The project will produce advances in robotic and personal navigation technology and lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of the brain.

Click here to read the call for applications

I have positions available for 2 PhD students starting now. This project is a strongly interdisciplinary one spanning neuroscience, robotics and computer vision and candidates will require experience or a skill set that facilitates this interdisciplinary approach. PhD students will have the very challenging but rewarding task of achieving research breakthroughs that impact multiple disciplines simultaneously.

Visual navigation for sunny summer days and stormy winter nights

This project will develop innovative techniques for camera-based navigation that recognize locations under a wide range of environmental conditions caused by day-night cycles, weather and seasonal change. These techniques will enable the widespread use of cheap and lightweight cameras in robot and personal navigation systems.

An ideal student will be proficient in coding in C/C++ and Matlab, have experience with robot, sensor (cameras, GPS) and computer vision hardware, strong writing and oral communication skills, and a background in both robot navigation and computer vision.

Brain-based sensor fusion for navigating robots

This project uses new findings in neuroscience to create robots that can self-determine which of their sensors will best help them learn to navigate in an environment. This technology enables robot systems to be flexibly deployed without prior calibration for wide ranging applications in environments from office buildings to outdoor ecosystems.

An ideal student will be proficient in coding in C/C++ and Matlab, have experience with robot, sensor (cameras and range sensors) and computer vision hardware, strong writing and oral communication skills, and a background in robot navigation, neural networks and computational neuroscience. Candidates who are both experienced and interested in pursuing truly interdisciplinary research are desirable.

Application Process

Step 1: Read the full application process available here:

Step 2: Consider whether you think you have a realistic chance at getting scholarship funding based on your record to date. There are some notes on how competitive scholarship funding is down below. 

Step 3: If you are interested and think you will be competitive for funding, send a full resume, including publications, degrees (undergraduate, postgraduate) and relevant research / work experience to michael DOT milford AT


Domestic Students

QUT and the Australian Government offer a range of scholarships for excellent candidates. Further details on scholarships are available here:

The basic, but highly competitive Australian Postgraduate Award amount is $25392 per annum in 2014.

For truly exceptional students, top-up funding may be available, up to a total of $44,436 per annum tax free. This is the maximum allowable funding for a PhD student, which is the basic Australian Postgraduate Award ($25392/annum in 2014) + 75%. Note that in the current highly competitive research climate, an exceptional PhD candidate would probably have several peer-reviewed journal and conference publications in relevant fields, a perfect or near perfect GPA, and/or a high quality masters by research degree.

International Students

There are a range of scholarship programs available to international students, however competition is typically very competitive:

Criteria for Acceptance into the PhD Program 

If you are a domestic undergraduate student or recent domestic graduate, I also welcome enquiries about doing shorter term research assistant positions on these projects. I cannot take international internships at this time. 

Note - acceptance into the PhD program and funding approval is very competitive so the following are important. Please do not waste your time applying unless you meet all or almost all of these criteria: 

  • ESSENTIAL: A very good undergraduate GPA at an internationally recognized university (preferably one ranked in the top 300 internationally). There is a list of the top-ranked universities here: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-2013. Grade requirements vary but an example would be scores of 19+ out of 20 or 9+ out of 10 and first class honours.
  • ESSENTIAL for International Students: A high score on the standard international English tests - see the QUT website for guidelines.
  • DESIRABLE: Peer reviewed RELEVANT journal and conference papers, especially journal papers that have a recognized impact factor and top conferences such as:** HIGHLY DESIRABLE: A completed research masters degree can be a help
    • Journals:
      • (Robotics / computer vision): IEEETRO, IJRR, JFR, AURO, RAS, IJCV, PAMI, CVPR
    • Conferences:
      • (Robotics / computer vision): ICRA, IROS, RSS, FSR, ICCV, ECCV
      • (Neuroscience/biol): NIPS, COSYNE, SFN

 As I receive a large number of applications, many of which have very little chance of being accepted into the PhD program here, I can only read and respond to applications that meet these criteria.

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