Research Fellow in Agriculture Robotics: Translational Research

Sydney, Australia
06 Sep 2017
End of advertisement period
04 Oct 2017
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR)

Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies

  • Lead a team translating research in agriculture robotics with a focus on horticulture
  • Full-time fixed term for 24 months (further offers subject to funding)
  • Remuneration package: $120K p.a. which includes leave loading and up to 17% super

About the opportunity 

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) is based in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at The University of Sydney, and is dedicated to the research, development, application and dissemination of autonomous and intelligent robots and systems for operation in outdoor environments.

With major funding support from various government and industry partners, the ACFR has built up a successful agricultural robotics and digital agriculture technical and research program, ranging from the construction and fielding of robotic platforms and information systems, through to high-quality peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, as well as close interaction with national and international growers community: .

The ACFR agricultural robotics program has 25 world-class researchers, technical staff, and PhD students. The Centre forms a significant part of the larger field robotics community at the ACFR, which provides a range of specialists across over 100 research and technical staff. The group has substantial experimental facilities including three laboratories and a field test site, a range of experimental and production vehicles, industry-quality mechanical and electrical design and fabrication facilities, and employs the latest in embedded computing, sensing and control technologies.

We are currently seeking a self-motivated and well-qualified researcher to lead the team in the translation of the theoretical and applied tasks of the agriculture robotics group, with a focus on our horticulture activity. This will provide an exceptional opportunity to work closely with academia and industry at the intersection of fundamental research into field-robotics, machine learning, data analytics and their application to agriculture. You will be expected to engage with other researchers and technical staff, as well as industry, growers and the funding agencies, and lead translation of research into fielded operations, engage in academic publication of research.

This is purely a research translation role with no teaching requirements.

About you

The University values courage and creativity; openness and engagement; inclusion and diversity; and respect and integrity. As such, we see the importance of recruiting talent aligned to these values.

We are looking for a Research Fellow in Agriculture Robotics: Translational Research who can demonstrate the following:

  • Holds a PhD in robotics/mechatronics engineering or applied computer science.
  • Has a high-level understanding of fundamental algorithmic areas in robotics field: computer vision, machine learning, motion planning, numerical optimisation, estimation and filtering, classical control techniques and their relationship, and has a detailed understanding in one of the areas.
  • Has published scholarly articles in the robotics field in highly regarded international journals and conferences.
  • Has lead a team in fielding complex outdoor robotic systems, including troubleshooting issues in the field.
  • Methodical and detail oriented approach to planning work.
  • Advanced communication and interpersonal skills, to engage with a range of stakeholders. This includes: (1) articulating high level goals of a project and the technical roadmap to a range of audiences, (2) collaboratively making technical decisions with PhD students, researchers and technical staff and (3) communicating with external stakeholders who may not have a technical/engineering background.
  • Ability to make technical decisions that require trade-offs based on competing, incomplete and/or uncertain information, and articulate the reasoning for these decisions to stakeholders, both internal and external.
  • Willing to work in the field for 10 weeks per year (approximately once a month with field trials lasting 3-5 days).
  • Demonstrated experience in working within an established workplace health & safety framework.

In addition, highly desirable requirements are:

  • Experience in translating university research to industry.
  • Demonstrated experience working within an agile framework.
  • Demonstrated experience in programming in python, C++, or shell script (bash)
  • Familiarity with the Linux operating system and standard command line tools.
  • Understanding of the principles behind electro-optical sensing (visible spectrum, thermal, multi- and hyper-spectral, LiDAR) and/or experience in configuring these sensors and using one or more of these sensor modalities to collect data in an operational context.
  • Holds a valid driver's license.
  • Holds a valid first aid certificate

The position is full-time fixed term for two years, with potential for extension subject to funding and is subject to the completion of a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of employment for new appointees.

About us

Since our inception 160 years ago, the University of Sydney has led to improve the world around us. We believe in education for all and that effective leadership makes lives better. These same values are reflected in our approach to diversity and inclusion, and underpin our long-term strategy for growth. We’re Australia's first university and have an outstanding global reputation for academic and research excellence. Across our campuses, we employ over 7600 academic and non-academic staff who support over 60,000 students.

We are undergoing significant transformative change which brings opportunity for innovation, progressive thinking, breaking with convention, challenging the status quo, and improving the world around us.

For more information on the position and University, please view the candidate information pack available from the job’s listing on the University of Sydney careers website.

All applications must be submitted via the University of Sydney careers website. Visit and search by the reference number to apply.

Closing date: 11.30pm 08 October 2017 (Sydney time)

The University of Sydney is committed to diversity and social inclusion. Applications from people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; equity target groups including women, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTIQ; and people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, are encouraged.

© The University of Sydney

The University reserves the right not to proceed with any appointment.