The world’s first Agri-Food Robotics Centre for Doctoral Training The world’s first Agri-Food Robotics Centre for Doctoral Training

Agriforwards logoThe UK food chain is under unprecedented pressure and it is clear that research and development are critical to addressing the challenges it faces.

We are looking for the next generation of highly skilled researchers to explore exciting developments in advanced robotic and engineering technologies, in order to investigate the problems facing the Agri-Food sector.

Funded opportunities for 2020 entry available now

We are seeking talented students to join our 4-year programme of funded Master’s + PhD studentships for students interested in computer vision, artificial intelligence, and related subjects within the wider field of Agri-food robotics.

Apply now

Centre for Doctoral Training 

Funded by the EPSRC, the AgriFoRwArdS Centre is designed to help equip the UK with the next generation of doctoral level researchers it needs across the breadth of the engineering and physical sciences landscape.

Established by the University of Lincoln, UEA and the University of Cambridge, the programme brings together the largest ever group of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) specialists for the global food and farming sectors.

The Centre brings together a unique collaboration of leading researchers together with the Manufacturing Technology Centre and supported by some of the leading industrial partners from across the food, farming and robotics industries including John Deere; Syngenta; G’s Growers; Beeswax Dyson; ABB; the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board; and Defra's Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

Training a new generation of highly skilled researchers

The advanced training centre is providing funding and training for doctoral students, who will be supported by major industry partners. Students based at UEA will benefit from expert supervision from UEA's School of Computer Sciences and at least one other partner university, and will specialise in areas such as:

  • Sensing and Perception
  • Human-Robot Collaboration
  • Robot Vision
  • Robot Learning
  • Human-Robot Interaction
  • Systems Integration

The AgriFoRwArdS Programme

The AgriFoRwArdS CDT will be awarding at least 50 funded Studentships over five years, which are open to applicants who meet the Research Councils' eligibility requirements as reflected in the UKRI Training Grant Guide. EU students will normally only be eligible for a fees-only award.  EU and International candidates may be considered for full funding although the number of awards available is limited: Students will receive four years of funding (Masters and PhD). Whilst the programme is set up for full-time study, applications for part-time study will be considered on an individual basis.

Year 1:  The AgriFoRwArdS CDT programme starts in September 2020 at the University of Lincoln. All students must successfully complete the MSc in Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Lincoln, including those with an existing Master’s degree.

Years 2-4: Students go on to carry out their full-time PhD research at their chosen university, supervised by academic experts and industry advisors from across the consortium.

Associated Training: an ongoing research training programme throughout the MSc and PhD phases will enable students to specialise between possible career routes of engineer, executive, entrepreneur and academic researcher


Studentships include payment of UK/EU fees and, subject to meeting EPSRC eligibility requirements, a tax-free maintenance stipend (for 2019-20 this is £15,009 per annum). Part-time studentship awards are paid pro-rata. 


We are looking for talented students to join our 4-year programme in a vibrant and research-intensive environment.

Apply now

Stage One:
A. Contact potential supervisors to discuss your application and potential PhD research

B. Apply for an AgriFoRwArdS Studentship

If your application is shortlisted by UEA, you will be invited to interview in Norwich.

Stage Two:
Application to UEA (for the PhD) and Lincoln (for the MSc)

If you are successful at interview and are offered an AgriFoRwArdS studentship you must then apply formally for both the MSc programme in Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Lincoln and the PhD programme at UEA. Continuation to the PhD phase is conditional on successful completion of the MSc phase.

For further information on funding, entry requirements and how to apply please visit the University of Lincoln’s AgriFoRwArdS webpages:


If you have any questions, please get in touch at or telephone (+44) 1603 59 1709.

Informal academic enquiries can be made to Professor Richard Harvey.