PhD Position in Data-driven Control with Industrial Applications
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern

The University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland includes nine schools with more than 12’500 students. We are looking for you to join the School of Engineering, Institute of Automation, in Windisch, Switzerland, at the earliest possible date:

PhD position:
Data-driven control with industrial applications

Your tasks: The research activities in this interdisciplinary field comprise several of the following activities:
  • use and comprehension of a system/process model using sensor data and plant parameters
  • adaptation or development of an appropriate control algorithm, applying an optimization-based approach
  • demonstration on the system
The availability and ease of integration of sensors opens the possibility of utilising additional data to monitor and control industrial processes for the optimisation of processing time and quality. The research activities within these projects will bring forward the integration of advanced control methods in combination with machine learning. So far, such methods have mostly benefited robotic applications. Systems of increased complexity can be modelled and controlled using data-driven methods to model the systems without full knowledge of their mathematical representation. We work towards creating a data-informed automation framework that will be demonstrated on high-end industrial systems, unifying ideas from black box adaptive control, iterative learning, and predictive control.

The approach consists of three pillars:
  1. scalability: ensuring that multiple parameters can be optimized simultaneously
  2. safety: ensuring that each combination of parameters is within the safe operational bounds of the motion system
  3. efficiency: ensuring that optimal parameters are found with a minimal number of iterations
We invite applications for PhD positions that are part of a long-term research effort through the NCCR Automation, with the goal of demonstrating data-driven process control methods with industrial applications. Successful candidates will join the Institute of Automation at the School of Engineering, FHNW under the supervision of Prof. Dr. John Lygeros (ETH) and Prof. Dr. Jürg Keller (FHNW).

Your profile: Suitable candidates need a graduate degree in engineering or a related field from a recognized university. Data modelling, programming (MATLAB, Python, C++), and proven understanding of control methods are essential for the successful completion of the proposed research.

Applications should contain a CV, 2-3 reference letters/contacts, a short statement of research interests and objectives, one publication/thesis, and transcripts of all degrees in English.
Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted via our online application portal as pdf files. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Applications with missing documents will not be considered either. Please allow a period of 2-3 weeks following your application.

Further information on the Institute of Automation can be found on our website

Please submit your application before 16 October 2020 online via the following button to Alberto Tagliatti, HR Manager.
For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Jürg Keller, P +41 56 202 77 62, Email:

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