MRC Graduate Research Assistantship Program

2021-2022 MRC Graduate Research Assistantship Program Announcement

The Maryland Robotics Center (MRC) in the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland (UMD) invites full-time UMD PhD students to submit an application to the 2021-2022 MRC Graduate Assistantship Program in the following eight research areas:

  • Multi-robot Systems: robotic swarms, robotic cooperation under limited communication, distributed robotics, crowd and multi-agent simulation;
  • Medical Robotics: MRI-compatible surgical robotics, haptics-enabled AFM, exoskeletons for rehabilitation, and magnetic micromanipulation for drug delivery;
  • Miniature Robotics: mesoscale robots, bio-inspired sensing, actuation, and locomotion, cell manipulation, and micro and nano manipulation;
  • Robotics for Extreme Environments: space robotics and autonomous deep-submergence sampling systems;
  • Autonomous Unmanned Systems: micro air vehicles, unmanned sea surface vehicles, unmanned underwater vehicles, and planetary surface rovers, robot motion planning;
  • Bioinspired Robotics: Robots inspired by biological forms, bio-inspired design and manufacturing, artificial muscles, adaptive control of bio-inspired robots, biosensors, soft robots, swarming, co-robotics, multifunctional materials and structures, biomaterials, biolocomotion, energy harvesting, autonomy, humanoid robots, and modular robots;
  • Cognitive Robotics: endowing a robot with intelligent behavior by providing it with a processing architecture that  allows it to learn and reason about how to behave in response to complex goals in a complex world; robots that integrate perception, cognition and action;
  • Human-Robot Interaction: human-robot collaboration, human behavior modeling, human-robot communication, learning and cognition, planning and re-planning, management of trust and its effects on collaboration.


  • The MRC Graduate Research Assistantship Program is open to outstanding mid-career UMD PhD students whose advisors are current members of the Maryland Robotics Center.
  • Applicant’s research must fall into one or more of the above eight research areas.
  • Applicants must be full-time students and be involved in ongoing research.

We recognize that strength comes through diversity and actively seek and welcome students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities. We especially encourage women and minority candidates to apply. 


The MRC Graduate Research Assistantship Program expects to fund 2-3 PhD students per academic year with funding guaranteed for one year. Recipients will receive an annual stipend, tuition, and benefits commensurate with their current appointment.

How to apply

The MRC Graduate Research Assistantship application should include the following materials:

  1. 1-2 page research statement stating the primary research area(s) above and highlighting the originality of the student’s dissertation research and its potential impact on the research field; 
  2. CV including publication list;
  3. Letter of endorsement from the student’s PhD advisor (MRC faculty member) that describes student’s research potential and highlights the relevance of the student’s research to MRC’s mission and critical activities; and
  4. a sample publication (optional).

Applicants should submit all application  materials as a single pdf file named Applicant’s LastName_MRCFY22GRA with the subject line of the email: MRC FY22 GRA APPLICATION. The letter of endorsement from the student’s advisor (MRC faculty member) should be included in the pdf file application. The application and questions should be directed to on or before the application deadline of March 1, 2021.

For best consideration, please submit application no later than March 1, 2021