dr. ir. Sofie Haesaert

Opportunities for CSC students

We can welcome 1 to 2 CSC students in 2022 to do their PhD at the Control Systems group of the electrical engineering department of TU Eindhoven.

Introduction of TU/e

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is among the top 150 universities according to the QS Global World Ranking. It is located in the Netherlands in a highly industrialized region known as the Brainport region. This region is internationally recognized as a top technology area with a particular focus on integrating design and technology. The department of Electrical Engineering has a high global ranking and has a close collaboration with industry.

TU/e has an outstanding international reputation in automation & control, proven by its ranking in the top 50 according to the Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

Introduction of the Control System (CS) group

The CS group research activities span all facets of systems and control theory, such as linear, nonlinear and hybrid systems theory, model predictive control, distributed control, networked systems, machine learning for control, modelling and identification, and formal methods in control. The CS group has a strong interconnection with industry via national and European funded projects in various application areas like high-precision mechatronics, power electronics, and sustainable energy (mobility, transport, smart grids).


The CS group owns an Autonomous Motion Control (AMC) laboratory and hosts several high-tech setups. The PhD student will join the group and interact with the other CS group members (around 40 researchers), where he/she will participate in a mix of academic and industrial research activities. Research within the CS Group is characterized by personal supervision. The PhD student will have access to the advanced courses offered by the Dutch Institute for Systems and Control and will attend the yearly Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control.

Research topics

We are aiming at recruiting 1-2 CSC PhDs in 2022. The applicants can contact us with regards to one of the following research directions:

Multi-agent robotics learning and autonomous coordination

Multi-agent systems (multiple vehicles or autonomous multi-drones) have attracted increasing attention in many engineering fields such as parcel delivery, area surveillance, environment monitoring control. In this project, we aim to develop learning-based control methods to improve the autonomy and capability of multiple autonomous systems to address real-life coordination tasks. The learning+control methodologies will further advance theoretical development and application contributions of autonomous coordination systems. The outcomes of this project will be tested within the Autonomous Motion Control lab involving rotary-wing drones and ground vehicles.

[1] Sun, Zhiyong, Héctor Garcia de Marina, Brian DO Anderson, and Changbin Yu. "Collaborative Target-Tracking Control Using Multiple Fixed-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with Constant Speeds." Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics 44, no. 2 (2021): 238-250. [2] Greiff, Marcus, Patrik Persson, Zhiyong Sun, Karl Åström, and Anders Robertsson. "Quadrotor Control on SU (2) X R^ 3 with SLAM Integration." arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.01099 (2021). [3] Haesaert, S., Van den Hof, P. M., & Abate, A. (2017). Data-driven and model-based verification via Bayesian identification and reachability analysis. Automatica, 79, 115-126.

Autonomous complex control systems

Emerging applications in robotics, aerospace, and autonomous driving necessitate control systems to perform complex tasks autonomously. These control systems need to learn and adapt to unforeseen circumstances. This PhD project focuses on developing resilient control approaches for such autonomous control systems, design and verification of complex control systems with safety guarantees, and experimental testings on autonomous system platforms such as autonomous vehicles and drones.

[1] Sun, Zhiyong. Cooperative coordination and formation control for multi-agent systems. Springer, 2018.
[2] Haesaert, Sofie, Petter Nilsson, and Sadegh Soudjani. "Formal multi-objective synthesis of continuous-state MDPs." In 2021 American Control Conference (ACC), pp. 3428-3433. IEEE, 2021.

Autonomous systems in a spatiotemporal environment

Autonomous systems often interact with an uncertain environment that features spatiotemporal dynamic properties. The conventional control and coordination approach that models the interacting autonomous system as a perturbed dynamical control system cannot capture such spatiotemporal interacting rules, which demand new techniques for system modelling and control system synthesis. Let us know if you are interested in joining us in developing a new set of modelling techniques and control machineries for such (teams of) autonomous systems. The developed techniques will be tested in a multi-drone platform with a realistic interactive environment (with wind flows) for improved autonomy and resilience.

[1] Nilsson, Petter, Sofie Haesaert, Rohan Thakker, Kyohei Otsu, Cristian-Ioan Vasile, Ali-Akbar Agha-Mohammadi, Richard M. Murray, and Aaron D. Ames. "Toward specification-guided active Mars exploration for cooperative robot teams." (2018): 1-9. http://www.roboticsproceedings.org/rss14/p47.html

Expected background

Applicants to this PhD research shall have a background in control systems, automation, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or related domains.

Application procedure

It is a two-step process:
Step 1: Applying with us. According to the quality of the application documents, you might be invited for an interview (video conferencing, if necessary). If the interview gives positive advice, you will be offered an admission letter with a tuition fee waiver.
Step 2: Applying at CSC. We will assist and advise you throughout the CSC application process. We will help you adjust, refine and improve your research proposal, and help you improve the quality of other application documents.

If you are interested in applying, please first address your interest to dr. Zhiyong Sun (z.sun@tue.nl ) and/or dr. Sofie Haesaert (s.haesaert@tue.nl ) as early as possible for questions and guidance, and later prepare the following documents and submit them to the above emails, with “CSC PhD application 2022” in the subject:


Please notice the deadlines: 6 March 2022, at TU/e; Please check the CSC website http://www.csc.edu.cn/ for the deadline applying at CSC. We would encourage you to apply as early as possible for better support for your application. For visiting students supported by CSC there is no deadline for application. If you are interested to apply, please address your interest to dr. Zhiyong Sun (z.sun@tue.nl ) and/or dr. Sofie Haesaert (s.haesaert@tue.nl ) and we would encourage you to apply as early as possible.

For more information

See https://www.tue.nl/en/education/become-a-tue-student/scholarships-and-grants/china-scholarship-council/