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Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation

Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation

The Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation designs and analyses complex systems that involve technology, people and services. We have world-class expertise in design systems, solid mechanics, robotics and mechatronics, dynamics and control, optimisation and aerospace and structural engineering.

With more than 50 researchers and technical staff, we deliver our research through partnerships with industry, multi-disciplinary collaborations, and end-user engagement.

Research areas

Bio-mechatronics and robotics: Theoretical and experimental research towards mechatronic and robotic systems that assist people to achieve their goals, a particular focus of which is healthcare technologies.

Design sciences: Theoretical frameworks that underpin the processes of designing. They include design theory and methodology, traditional engineering sciences and an emerging body of design science that draws on the social, biological and physical sciences to underpin human-centred designing, meeting people’s physical, emotional and social needs.

Energy-efficient automotive and aerospace structures: Theoretical and experimental research into lightweight materials, structures and optimisation techniques. The outcomes of this research are applied to automotive and aerospace structures to create the next generation of energy-efficient vehicles; reducing vehicle mass whilst maintaining performance and adhering to safety requirements.

Surgical technologies: Research focuses first on developing engineering advances in three main areas: Sensing Technology, Soft Robotics/Systems and Medical Devices. We work closely with healthcare professionals to apply these specialisms to address challenges in areas including minimally invasive surgery, cardiac assistance, orthotics, global health and incontinence.

Future manufacturing processes: A large proportion of our work involves the design, engineering, and creation of unique electro-mechanical apparatus that operates under computer-control. Specialised areas of study include machine design and engineering, materials engineering for manufacturing processes, non-conventional manufacturing processes, computer-aided-manufacture, and more.

Collaborations and partnerships

Key collaborators within the university, include colleagues from Rehabilitation MedicineLeeds University Business SchoolPsychology and the School of Design.

The institute also has strong collaborative ties to prestigious external organisations, including Rolls-Royce, ABB, BAES and National Instruments, as well as partnerships with charities such as Age Concern and Heart Research UK.

Further information

View all members of our research group and publications.

PhD projects

We have opportunities for prospective postgraduate researchers. Find out more.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact the Institute Director, Professor Rob Richardson.