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Research Assistant (PhD) - salary grade E 13 TV-L Berliner Hochschulen


Exzellenzcluster Science of Intelligence (SCIoI)

Reference number: SCIoI-C4-43A (starting not later than from 01/10/22 / for 3 years / closing date for applications 25/11/21)

The Technische Universität Berlin invites applications for a PhD position for the Cluster of Excellence “Science of Intelligence”. What are the principles of intelligence, shared by all forms of intelligence, no matter whether artificial or biological, whether robot, computer program, human, or animal? And how can we apply these principles to create intelligent technology? Answering these questions - in an ethically responsible way - is the central scientific objective of the new Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence (, where researchers from a large number of analytic and synthetic disciplines - artificial intelligence, machine learning, control, robotics, computer vision, behavioral biology, psychology, educational science, neuroscience, and philosophy - join forces to create a multi-disciplinary research program across universities and research institutes in Berlin. Interdisciplinary research projects have been defined (, which combine analytic and synthetic research and which address key aspects of individual, social, and collective intelligence.


Working field

Project: Generating Robust and General Real-World Behavior by Exploiting Regularities at Multiple Levels of Abstraction

Doctoral project: Generating consistent levels of abstractions as a basis for the systematic design of multi-layered feedback control

The systematic design of feedback control requires quantitative models describing the effect of control action on the evolution of state and sensor signals. For complex real-world scenarios, appropriate control action will depend on models representing different levels of task-specific abstractions, resulting in a multi-layer, hierarchical, control structure. The purpose of this project is to investigate how consistent abstractions can be generated such that the interaction of the resulting control layers leads to an overall closed-loop behavior satisfying the specified task. Adjacent levels of abstractions are linked by regularities that are imposed by the environment or by low-level feedback control. Such regularities restrict the evolution of the low-level state to certain manifolds (“primitives”), and the high-level abstraction will provide information on how primitives can be combined or concatenated.

To identify or impose appropriate regularities, a system of multiple mobile robots will be investigated for a range of search and deployment tasks. For example, task-dependent formations, imposed by distributed control, can be interpreted as intuitive regularities.

There will be a close cooperation with a second PhD student investigating the exploitation of regularities in robotic manipulation tasks. Moreover, there will be a cooperation with biologists studying the scenario-dependent evolution of formations of fish swarms.

Responsibilities include scientific research within the project and academic services in the Cluster. PhD position includes the enrollment in the Cluster's doctoral program. All positions require participation in research colloquia, lecture series and workshops, as well as an active engagement in the Cluster's research activities.



The successful applicant must hold a Diploma/Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Computer Science or Applied Math, preferably with a specialization in Automation and Control. In particular, we require the successful applicant to have:

  • a strong background in systems and control theory (previous experience in distributed and hierarchical control theory and hybrid systems theory is an advantage)
  • a genuine interest to pursue interdisciplinary research that involves control theory and both robotic and biological applications
  • strong interdisciplinary communication and cooperation skills
  • a good command of English and/or German, and a willingness to learn the missing language skills


Application procedure:

Candidates should upload their application (quoting our SCIoI reference SCIoI-C4-43A) preferably via the portal in order to receive full consideration.

Applications should include: motivation letter, curriculum vitae, transcripts of records (for both BSc and MSc), copies of degree certificates (BSc, MSc, PhD if applicable), proof of English skills, abstracts of Bachelor-, Master- and (if applicable) PhD-thesis, list of publications and one selected manuscript (if applicable), two names of qualified persons who are willing to provide references, and any documents candidates feel may help us assess their competence.

Please click here for the official, legally binding German version of this job post. 

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Jörg Raisch