ESR11 - Underwater robotics methods for fish hydrodynamics field measurements

Host Institution: TALTECH - Tallinn University of Technology

Location: Tallin (Estonia)

Doctoral degree: PhD in Computer and Systems Engineering at the Tallinn University of Technology 

Job description: The candidate will be part of a team developing advanced bioinspired underwater sensors. The devices use pressure and inertial measurement sensors, and are based on the fish’s sensory system. They are stealthy, passive and can detect and classify complex underwater environments.  The focus of this project will be to address two major research questions: (1) How can we use pressure and inertial sensors to study the information content of turbulent flows? (2) How can we use data from fish-like sensors in different types of flows (e.g. laboratory flume vs. river) to predict real fish behaviour? The results of this 3-year PhD thesis are fundamental, and will be important to a broad range of disciplines including fluid mechanics, fish biology, river ecology, and hydropower.

Workplace: The candidate at the Centre for Biorobotics will join a team of young, skilled, and motivated researchers and engineers developing new technologies for underwater sensing and robotics with the aim of designing new ways of exploring the aquatic environment by capturing Nature “in the act”. The Centre was the first to build fish-like sensors to measure turbulent river flows where conventional devices fail. These bioinspired sensors connect engineers and biologists, helping them understand how fish navigate the extremely complex underwater environment with ease. The team is interdisciplinary and international, and welcomes new members of all backgrounds who share similar interests and values.

Secondment period (to be confirmed): Expected duration: 4 months; Hosting institutions: FVT (Fiskevårdsteknik i Sverige AB - Lund, Sweden), UNIABDN (University of Aberdeen - Aberdeen, UK)

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Candidate requirements:


  • MSc in Software Engineering / Data Science / Computational Fluid Dynamics (available by the date of application)

Specific mandatory skills: 

  • Signal / sensor data processing 
  • High level of autonomy 

Specific desirable skills: 

  • Computational fluid dynamics (RANS, LES)
  • Software development (Python, C++)
  • Laboratory / field experimentation with multimodal sensors

Specific requirements of the Doctoral School:

Ability to read, write and teach in English at the level of an internationally active junior researcher. Coursework: 60 ECTS; PhD thesis: 180 ECTS; Teaching and student supervision load of 10 – 20%.

Mobility rule:

Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Estonia for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

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Contact person(s): 

Maarja Kruusmaa

Jeffrey Tuhtan

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Work package