Hybrid cognitive architecture for deep understanding


Job description

The CoreSense project is a groundbreaking international and multidisciplinary project that aims at formulating a theory of awareness based on a systemic concept of understanding, and implementing it in a reference hybrid cognitive architecture and engineering toolbox for aware autonomous robots. The novel architecture will be validated in the development of three autonomous robot demonstrators with increased capabilities to work without/with limited supervision, and next-generation interaction with humans, with greatly improved intuitive, safe and efficient cognitive, social and physical capabilities, to assist humans. The results will be released in the form of reusable software assets for the ROS ecosystem.

We are looking for an enthusiastic team player to develop the necessary breakthroughs to bridge symbolic and data-driven approaches to AI in the novel hybrid cognitive architecture for autonomous robots. You will be collaborating very closely with the project team in Delft and the rest of the partners, especially Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, and travelling to Madrid and other partner institutions will be required.


  • Literature study on ontologies and other symbolic formalism for reasoning to support a theory of understanding.
  • Collaborate in the CoreSense ontology for understanding, based on category theory.
  • Contribute a key breakthrough for a reference hybrid cognitive architecture for robot awareness.
  • Develop architecture software assets to support the deployment of the cognitive architecture in ROS2 systems
  • Contribute to the cognitive modules for the architecture, such as anticipation, navigation, reconfiguration, explanation, control and diagnosis.

Other tasks include:

  • (Co) authoring scientific articles and thesis
  • Student supervision and teaching.


Required qualifications and qualities:

  • MA/MSc in: AI, or Robotics, or an adjacent field with a significant background on symbolic methods in AI and/or knowledge representation and reasoning.
  • Interest in software engineering.
  • Capacity of conducting academic literature research.
  • Proven ability to finish projects on time.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written and spoken).
  • Ability to work in an open, cooperative, multidisciplinary team.

Desired qualifications and qualities:

  • Interest in at least one of the following: systems theory, cognitive science, philosophy.
  • Experience with practical robotics projects and ROS (for example by controlling a robot arm or a moving robot) or willingness to train during the PhD.
  • Experience with scripting, programming, with regards to planning in robotics (PDDL, Prolog, Python, or another scripting language).
  • Willingness to travel to Madrid, Spain for collaboration.
  • Willingness to attend PhD schools in the project’s topics if needed.

Personal development
You will specialize in cognitive architectures and symbolic reasoning.
When you graduate you will have a diverse interdisciplinary network that includes roboticists, AI experts, software engineers and system architects. 
You are encouraged to develop your own (current) expertise/interest further within the CoreSense project.

In collaboration with the project partners, you will receive (additional) ROS (Robot Operating System) training. During your contract you will be part of the 3mE Graduate School (more information below). There are opportunities to guest lecture in existing BA and MSc courses, and you are expected to supervise MSc students.     

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? This video will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.

Additional information

The CoreSense project is funded through the European Commission with a Horizon Europe Grant . Project partners are located across Europe: Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Delft University of Technology, Fraunhofer IPA, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, PAL Robotics and Irish Manufacturing Research.

CoreSense addresses the pressing need for autonomous robots to fully understand their open environments, their complex missions, their intricate realizations, and the unexpected events that affect their performance. An improvement in the capability to understand of autonomous robots is needed. The project tries to provide a solution to this need in the form of 1) a theory of understanding, 2) a theory of awareness, 3) reusable software assets to apply these theories in real robots, and 4) three demonstrations of its capability to a) augment resilience of drone teams, b) augment flexibility of manufacturing robots, and c) augment human alignment of social robots. In summary, we will develop a cognitive architecture for autonomous robots based on a formal concept of understanding, supporting value-oriented situation understanding and self-awareness to improve robot flexibility, resilience and explainability.

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Carlos Hernandez, e-mail C.H.Corbato@tudelft.nl.

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply by 28 August 2022 via the application button and upload a letter of motivation, CV, contact details of (at least) two referees, two examples of written work (e.g. thesis, essay, published paper), and optionally an outline of your approach to this project, i.e. methodology, relevant theories and methods that you consider exploring, potential experiments and planning.

The first interviews will take place in September.

Note that invited candidates will be requested to give a short presentation.

Start date: as soon as possible from 1 October 2022.     

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.


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截止日期 2022-08-28




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