Dr Rafael Papallas

Dr Rafael Papallas


I am a Research Fellow in the School of Computing at the University of Leeds. My research interest is in robotic manipulation, manipulation planning, motion planning and motion control.



At the very bottom, there is a list of my publications. They are also available on my Google Scholar website here.

Research interests


I envision a future where robots co-exist with humans in dynamic environments to empower and improve the quality of their lives. For example, consider a robot at home assisting a motor-impaired person with daily tasks like the one in the figure below. The robot needs to retrieve the orange juice bottle from the back of a cluttered fridge. Other obstacles, at the front of the fridge, prevent the robot from directly reaching and grasping the orange juice bottle successfully. The robot needs to find a plan to manipulate those objects, perhaps by safely pushing them away, to create the required space to reach and grasp the orange juice bottle.


Example figure

My research deals with such challenging problems where a robot needs to interact with movable objects in cluttered and dynamic environments while reasoning about their dynamics. In particular, I am interested in developing motion planning and control algorithms for non-prehensile physics-based manipulation in clutter. This is a particularly challenging problem today in Robotics. We don’t have robots that can achieve such manipulation effectively in highly cluttered environments like a fridge or a warehouse shelf.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • B.Sc. (Honours) Computer Science (Industrial), University of Leeds (2017)
  • Ph.D. Computing and Robotics,¬†University of Leeds (2021)

Professional memberships

  • AFHEA (HEA Associate Fellow)

Student education

I teach introductory Robotics to final year Computing and Mechatronics students.