Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow in Planning and Optimisation

  • Develop robotics and automation technologies for optimising shipyard, dry-dock operations
  • Full time, fixed term for 2 years with the potential for extension.
  • Level A/B with base Salary $83,454 - $140,586 + 17% superannuation
  • POSTED: November 10, 2023
  • CLOSES: December 7, 2023
  • LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
  • POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow
  • ORGANISATION: University of Sydney
  • SUPERVISOR: Prof. Ian Manchester / Prof. Hanna Kurniawati

About the opportunity

We are seeking an ambitious and talented Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow in Planning and Optimisation to undertake fundamental and applied research related to the development, design and deployment of novel robotics and automation technologies for the optimisation of shipyard dry-dock operations. As part of the Australian Robotic Inspection and Management Research Hub (ARIAM), this position involves working closely with Hub Industry Partner, Thales Australia. The research will focus on modelling, planning, and automated decision making.

In this role you will advance the modelling, optimisation, and planning technologies required for complex operations at Australia’s largest dry-dock. Challenges arise from number of decisions to be made, the long planning horizons, and the need for resilience to uncertainties. Additional research activities may relate to sensing and estimation requirements for real-time situational awareness.

This project is part of an ambitious program to transform current approaches to shipyard and dry-dock operation.

ARIAM Research Hub is a collaboration between leading academic researchers and experts from the Australian robotics industry supported by the Australian Research Council to deliver research excellence in robotics for asset management. ARIAM spans 3 leading Australian universities: The University of Sydney, QUT and ANU. This position will be co-supervised by Professor Ian Manchester, Australian Centre for Robotics (ACFR) at the University of Sydney, and Professor Hanna Kurniawati, at the Australian National University. The ACFR is one of Australia’s leading robotics research groups. In this role you will work as part of the ARIAM team and collaborate across multiple groups across the Hub.

You will;

  • collaborate closely with a team of project academics, engineers, and PhD students
  • work partially on-site at our industry partner’s headquarters at Garden Island on Sydney Harbour
  • contribute to the ARIAM Hub’s robotic systems demonstrator program that will showcase your research and that of other Hub projects
  • contribute as a researcher to project report preparation, presentation at internal workshops, and dissemination at top international conferences and journals as well as via internal workshops and presentations.

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 and are looking for a Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow in Planning and Optimisation who has:

  • a PhD (or near completion) in a relevant field, or equivalent research experience
  • a demonstrated research track record of international standing.
  • strong mathematical and computational skills.
  • demonstrated expertise and research experience in robotics, control, planning algorithms, optimisation, operations research, or a related field.
  • an ability to coordinate multiple project objectives to meet established targets and deadlines
  • excellent written and verbal communication and strong interpersonal skills.

Essential criteria (Level B)

  • a PhD in a relevant field

In your application include a Google Drive link to a 2-minute selfie video covering the following:

  • Your strongest research and engineering/computing skills
  • What do you enjoy most about research
  • A description of a project that you’re proud of.

To keep our community safe, please be aware of our COVID safety precautions which form our conditions of entry for all staff, students and visitors coming to campus.

Pre-employment checks

Your employment is conditional upon the completion of all role required pre-employment or background checks in terms satisfactory to the University. Similarly, your ongoing employment is conditional upon the satisfactory maintenance of all relevant clearances and background check requirements. If you do not meet these conditions, the University may take any necessary step, including the termination of your employment.

EEO statement

At the University of Sydney, our shared values include diversity and inclusion and we strive to be a place where everyone can thrive. We are committed to creating a University community which reflects the wider community that we serve. We deliver on this commitment through our people and culture programs, as well as key strategies to increase participation and support the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, women, people living with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and those who identify as LGBTIQ. We welcome applications from candidates from all backgrounds.

How to apply

Applications (including a cover letter, CV, and any additional supporting documentation) can be submitted via the Apply button at the top of the page.

Please also include a Google Drive link to a 2-minute selfie video covering the following:

  • Your strongest research and engineering/computing skills
  • What do you enjoy most about research
  • A description of a project that you’re proud of

For employees of the University or contingent workers, please login into your Workday account and navigate to the Career icon on your Dashboard.  Click on USYD Find Jobs and apply.

For a confidential discussion about the role, please email

If you require reasonable adjustment or any documents in alternate formats, please contact Cherie Goodwin or Rebecca Astar at

Apply now