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Doctoral Studentships - School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering

The Department of Computer Science, in the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering (SMCSE) at City, University of London is offering two full-time, three-year doctoral studentships for entry in October 2020. Applications are invited from exceptional UK, EU and international applicants wishing to pursue cutting-edge research in Artificial Intelligence.

The School is investing in academic excellence following its success in the REF 2014 which highlighted the world class quality of its research.

Closing date: August 9th 2020 for the PhD studentship financed by SMCSE.
August 23rd 2020 for the PhD studentship financed by Dstl (British and French applicants).

What is offered

Each doctoral studentship will provide:

  • An annual bursary (£18,000 per year)
  • Full Tuition fees for Home / EU applicants. Overseas applicants are also very welcome to apply but they must make appropriate arrangements to cover the difference between overseas (non-UK/Home) and home (UK/EU) tuition fees (please see the Computer Science research degree page SMCSE fees)
  • Travel budget.


This studentship is offered within a research collaboration between The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), ENSTA Paris and SMCSE under the UK-France Joint Research PhD programme on the project “Free Energy Principle as Drive for Adaptative Cognitive Architectures”. This project is focused on the design, implementation and evaluation of neural architectures for Artificial General Intelligence and Robotics.

Inspired by results from neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience, these architectures will articulate themselves around a unifying principle of reduction of Free Energy, following recent theories on the emergence of intelligence and self-organization in biological and artificial systems.

In the framework of this joint UK-France Joint Research PhD programme, one studentship will be financed by Dstl, and one studentship will be financed by SMCSE.


The studentships will be awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and the potential to produce cutting edge-research. Prospective applicants must:

  • Hold a Master’s degree in Computer Science or Artificial Intelligence.  Exceptionally, we can consider applications from those with a good Master’s degree in a relevant subject or extensive professional experience in the area of the proposed research
  • Be proficient in Python, have a strong experience in Deep Learning, and in-depth  understanding of Mathematics for AI
  • Have an interest in behavioural neuroscience (learning theory, computational cognitive science)
  • Be able to demonstrate proficiency in the use of oral and written English
  • Applicants whose mother tongue is not English must meet at least one of the following:
    • a minimum IELTS overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four components
    • a minimum TOEFL total score of 99, with a minimum of 22 in each of the four components
    • the award of a Master’s degree from an English speaking country.

Due to the nature of the studentship financed by Dstl, only French or British nationals can be considered for this studentship. The studentship financed by SMCSE is open to all applicants.

How to Apply

Applications are welcome from individuals wishing to pursue research in the project. You are encouraged to discuss your application in advance with Dr Michael Garcia-Ortiz (

The online application can be found in the How to apply section on the Computer Science research degree page and should include the following supporting documents:

  • Copies of Degree Certificates and Transcripts in official English translation – original will be requested before an offer is made.
  • Official work e-mail addresses (not private ones) for two referees (one of which must be an academic).
  • Proof of English Language proficiency.
  • Personal CV
  • Personal Statement.

Please identify the project “Free Energy Principle as Drive for Adaptative Cognitive Architectures” in your application.

For further information, please email: