Theodoros Stouraitis

In 2021 Theodoros Stouraitis graduated with a PhD in Robotics having completed his MSc in AI in 2016.


Theodoros Stouraitis

Programme PhD in Robotics and MSc in AI
Graduated 2021 (PhD) and 2016 (MSc)
Photograph of Theodoros Stouraitis standing behind robot arm

Tell us about your time at the University

I still remember my first Edinburgh memories, these being the challenges of comprehending Scottish flavoured English and being amazed with the beauty of the city.

I knew that the school of Informatics is the birthplace of Artificial Intelligence and indeed during the intense MSc I realised that this is reflected both in the motivation of the students and the world class academics. These two bodies make an inspiring mix of people from all around the world (from Oceania to Americas), which allowed me to experience a variety of views and perspectives.  During my MSc, I was lucky to meet my PhD advisor, who convinced me to pursue a PhD at UoE in collaboration with the Honda Research institute Europe. The topic of my PhD was on human-robot collaborative manipulation.

Completing a PhD in such a top school is not easy, this entailed many late nights in the lab (world class facilities) working on papers, preparing for competitions or simply having fun while pushing the capabilities of robots a step further together with my colleagues.  Thankfully our hard work led to winning a competition, making it to best paper award finalist twice, once with a conference and once with a journal paper and it was perfectly interleaved with great trips in the Highlands and the great life (and nightlife :) ) that Edinburgh offers. I have to say that my years at Edinburgh were probably the most balanced years in terms of productivity and fun!

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

 Having a PhD from UoE opens many doors both in academia and in industry.

After Edinburgh, I was a visiting researcher at MIT in the USA working on assistive human-robot dressing  and now I am working for the Honda Research Institute Europe in Germany, where I do research on human-robot collaboration and develop robots that assist humans, such elderly, impaired, etc.  Both opportunities came about via the global network of institutions that UoE has.

In the meanwhile, the excellent mentoring at the school of Informatics enriched my scientific problem understanding and improved my ability to develop scientific methods towards solving them. I am convinced that both these skills were key towards securing my post-Edinburgh roles.

Further, my PhD thesis won the 2nd place of The Queen Mary UK Best PhD in Robotics Award for 2021, which is a strong endorsement to my PhD work and a clear indicator that the international robotics community values the cutting edge research done at Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB).

Alumni wisdom

Tip 1: Benefit from the criticism of your great peers; accept it, utilise it and enjoy it! It will only fortify your research and push you to the next level as a person.

Tip 2: Find your passion, do a PhD on it and don't hurry to complete it to move on! In Greece we have a saying: "The good thing takes time to happen"!

Related links

Theodoros on LinkedIn