Partner Institutions

The programme is a joint initiative of Portuguese higher education institutions delivering PhD degrees (Instituto Superior Técnico and Universidade de Coimbra), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Portuguese research institutions (LARSyS, Institute for Systems and Robotics - Coimbra, INESC-ID and the Champalimaud Foundation):
IST is the oldest, largest and most prestigious School of Engineering, Science & Technology in Portugal, with approximately 700 professors and 1,200 PhD students. IST hosts nearly 1,000 international students from 70 countries, and is a member of the prestigious CLUSTER network ( IST is strongly involved in multiple international MSc and PhD Programs: Erasmus Mundus, KIC Innoenergy, IST_EPFL joint PhD, the US-Portugal Partnerships. IST participates in RBCog through the Associate Laboratories LARSYS and INESC-ID.
ISR/LARSYS has 40 senior researchers working in systems & robotics. The team has a long track record of multidisciplinary research in robotics, biomedical engineering, learning, cognition & neuroscience, in many EU Projects: MIRROR, CONTACT, ROBOTCUB, ROBOSOM, HANDLE, URUS, NARVAL, RoCKIn, MOnarCH). ISR/LARSYS offers cutting-edge research infrastructure, including an iCub humanoid robot (, motion/ gaze trackers, robot/camera networks, mobile robots, manipulators, etc. In the past 5 years, it has secured 6M€ from EC Projects alone.
GAIPS/INESC-ID develops intelligent characters that act in an autonomous way in complex, dynamic environments, with research in affective computing, virtual agents, cognitive agent architectures, human-robot interaction and muti-agent collaboration. The group creates cutting edge technology in terms of intelligent believable creatures, and has been involved in many projects: Safira (coordinators), NIMIS (I3-ESE ), DiViLab , VICTEC, COLDEX, MindRaces, Humaine, Kaleidoscope, E-Circus (FP6), LIREC (FP7), SIREN, Ecute and SEMIRA, raising about 2.5M€ of EU funding in the last 5 years.
José Santos Victor
Patrícia Figueiredo
Alexandre Bernardino
Ana Paiva
Rodrigo Ventura
João Sequeira
Jorge Marques
Maria Isabel Ribeiro
Pedro Lima
Joao Sanches
José Pinto Gaspar
Margarida Silveira
Ricardo Ferreira
Plínio Moreno
Francisco Santos
Carlos Martinho
Adelia Sequeira
University of Coimbra is involved in the programme through the faculty of science and technology (FCTUC).
ISR/U-Coimbra promotes advanced multidisciplinary R&D in Robotics, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Computer Vision, Biomedical Engineering, Automation, Control Theory, Operations Management, Sustainable Energy Systems, and cooperates with local Neuroscience groups. ISR-UC is involved in over 25 national and 12 international projects. It was one of the 2 (out of 25) institutions in ECE to be awarded the "Excellent" grade in the last R&D Portuguese Unit Evaluation
Helder Araujo
Jorge Dias
João Barreto
Rui Cortesão
EPFL is one of the world’s best teaching and R&D institutions: in 2009, EPFL was ranked 1st in Europe and 15th worldwide in the Shanghai ranking of engineering. With 120+ nationalities, EPFL is home to 6200 undergraduates, 2000 PhD students and 1000 post-docs, and 340 research groups using excellent technological infrastructures. The team has a long record of research in robotics with a focus on cognitive systems and biological inspiration. EPFL has an iCub humanoid platform and participates in numerous EC Projects. Auke Ijspeert
Aude Billard
José del R. Millán
Rolf Gruetter
Pierre Dillenbourg
Francesco Mondada
Dario Floreano
Hannes Bleuler
Michael Unser
Alcherio Martinoli
Fabio Nobile
Daniel Kressner
Stephan Morgenthaler
Simone Deparis
Champalimaud Foundation hosts a multidisciplinary centre for translational research of excellence, with the best possible conditions to attract and retain the best researchers, academics and medical doctors from Portugal and abroad in the fields of neurosciences and oncology. The Centre includes laboratories for basic and clinical research, an ambulatory care centre, a vivarium, an auditorium, conference rooms, teaching facilities and an exhibition area. The state-of-the-art facility for basic and clinical research and for teaching fosters front line research in molecular biology, genetics, immunology, neurosciences and behaviour, and oncology, as well as post-graduate and doctorate programmes. Zachary Frank Mainen
Carlos Vidal Ribeiro
M Eugenia Chiappe
Michael Orger
Joseph Paton

IST plays a pivoting role in the program with all students benefiting from the joint supervision of one IST researcher and one from either Universidade de Coimbra, EPFL or the Champalimaud Foundation in three separate tracks. For further information see the Program Structure .

Associated partners

In addition to institutions involved in the RBCog-PhD consortium that provide a rich and diverse set of interaction opportunities , the programme benefits from the collaboration with a vast number of institutions, active in the area of RBCog, which will enrich the training and research experience in RBCog.

Students will participate in the following activities with leading academic and industrial institutions, extending international networking, experience and research impact:

  • Research internships: All RBCog doctoral students will have the opportunity to take Research Internships with an average duration of 3-months in one or more of the RBCog-Colab associate institutions.
  • Distinguished Lecturers: the rich pool of collaborations between the RBCog partners will allow the establishment of a programme of “RBCog Distinguished Lecturers”, whose lectures will become available to the RBCog students, possibly through videoconferencing. These lectures may be integrated in some of the doctoral courses taken by the students.
  • Research workshops: the RBCog Distinguished lecturers will be invited to participate in research workshops with the participation of the RBCog students.

The Associated Partner network will be a dynamic set of institutions that will change over time. The institutions below are leaders in their respective fields and cover the diversity of multidisciplinary topics in RBCog. Currently they compose the list of associated partners:


  • Collège de France, Paris, France (Profs. Alain Berthoz, Jacques Droulez)
  • Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University, USA (Prof. Miguel Nicolelis)
  • Italian Institute of Technology, Genova, Italy (Prof. Giorgio Metta, Prof. Luciano Fadiga)
  • Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan (Prof. Atsuo Takanishi)
  • Imperial College, London, UK (Prof. Yiannis Demiris)
  • Tsinghua University, State Key Lab of Intelligent Technology and Systems, China (Prof. Huaping LIU)
  • Scuola Superiore di Santanna, Biorobotics Institute, Pisa, Italy (Profs. Paolo Dario, Cecilia Laschi)
  • University of Maryland, USA (Prof. Yiannis Aloimonos)
  • University College London, UK (Prof. Louis Lemieux)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany (Profs Tamim Asfour, R. Dillmann)
  • University of Freiburg, Germany (Profs. Wolfram Burgard)
  • INRIA, Flowers Lab, France (Dr. Manuel Lopes)
  • Orebro University, Sweden (Prof. Alessandro Saffiotti)
  • Physiology Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal (Profs. Tiago Maia)
  • Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brasil (Prof Mario Campos)
  • Escola Politécnica Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil (Prof. Anna Reali, Jun Okamoto Jr.)
  • T.U. Darmstadt, Simulation, Systems Optimization & Robotics Group, Germany (Prof. Oskar von Stryk)


  • KUKA Robotics, Germany
  • Aldebaran Robotics, France
  • Shadow Company, UK