4th Summer School on Cognitive Robotics

6-10 July 2020 – CSIRO, Brisbane, Australia


As a consequence of COVID-19, the 4th Summer School on Cognitive Robotics‘ organising committee has decided to cancel this event. We are keen to host the summer school in 2021 and we will keep you updated as arrangements are made. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us via cogrob2020@csiro.au 


Welcome to the 4th Summer School on Cognitive Robotics!

Before you start wondering if we got our seasons wrong, we have kept the ‘Summer School’ name to keep with MIT’s tradition, as they started this School in 2017. Since it’s being held in Australia’s Sunshine State, it’s hardly real winter here, so you won’t even notice the mix up! 🙂


A course on creating capable cognitive robots, by combining mobility and decision layers

The goal of this unique summer school is to help catalyse the next generation of researchers (from both industry and academia) in AI and robotics, to work together to develop robots that are capable at both the task and motion levels. Our school will help students become equally conversant in the methods of cognitive systems and robotics, and will help them to build bridges between robotics and AI methods. The intended audience for this summer school includes top graduate students, postdocs and junior researchers, from both the cognitive AI and Robotics disciplines.

The summer school offers advanced tutorials on major elements of cognitive robotics that are required to develop capable autonomous systems. Tutorials will centre around the daily themes of robust execution, motion planning, activity planner, perception and manipulation, and planning under uncertainty and risk. This year, we have a new, transversal theme, which will impact all the others: learning.

CSIRO’s Data61 Titan – a member of our robot team competing in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.

Our speakers perform research at the crossover between learning, robotics and AI. Our students will get a chance to gain insight into imitation learning, learning to reach and grasp, hierarchical reinforcement learning and robust deep learning. Because tutorials alone are not enough to have a lasting impact, we complement the tutorials with hands-on lab exercises featuring a novel robotic architecture. At the end of the week, students will participate in a Grand Challenge competition that will incorporate aspects of all the labs and allow students to demonstrate what they have learned.

As a feature of our summer school, we will introduce students to the Enterprise system, a decision layer architecture which combines various decision-making components for planning and execution. We will combine this system with the Robotics Operating System (ROS) as a mobility layer to combine the perception and mobility components. Together, Enterprise and ROS will be used by the students during the labs and Grand Challenge. Students will also have the opportunity to test their software on different robotic hardware, building up to the use of a fleet of robots during the Grand Challenge.

Important Dates
6 February 2020 Applications open
17 April 2020 Deadline for early applications (applications will still be accepted after this date)
20 April 2020 Start of notification of admission
24 April 2020 Recommended date of application for Visas to Australia for some countries (we can supply a letter of support)
18 May 2020 Deadline for late applications
31 May 2020 Registration deadline 
6-10 July 2020 Summer School running



The 4th Summer School on Cognitive Robotics will be held at CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT), located in the western suburb of Pullenvale, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

QCAT is an integrated research and development precinct for the resources and advanced technology industries. Its facilities include the recently launched Robotics Innovation Centre, a flight test area, an underground test area as well as a Remote Management Centre.


Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia, wedged between the ocean and rugged national parks.

Brisbane is a cosmopolitan hub for arts, culture and dining but still retains a close connection with nature and a classic laid-back Queensland attitude. It’s also the gateway to the wonders of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Learn more about all that Brisbane has to offer here.



  • The Summer School will run from Mon 6 July to Fri 10 July, 9am-5pm.
  • Activities will include tutorials, labs and hands-on activities.

Note: The labs require students to use their personal laptops, so please bring yours to the summer school. Refer to the upcoming schedule for specific system requirements for each lab.


As a consequence of COVID-19, the 4th Summer School on Cognitive Robotics‘ organising committee has decided to cancel this event. We are keen to host the summer school in 2021 and we will keep you updated as arrangements are made. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us via cogrob2020@csiro.au 


So far we have the following confirmed speakers, with more to come!

Ashkan Jasour


Sven Koenig


Felipe Trevizan

Australian National University

Brian Williams


Simon Lucey


Dana Kulić

Monash University

Phil Kilby

CSIRO & Australian National University

Javier Civera

University of Zaragoza

Mary-Anne Williams

University of Technology of Sydney

Hanna Kurniawati 

Australia National University

Dragos Margineantu

Boeing Research and Technology


To see a list of speakers in the previous editions of the Summer School, click the respective year link: 2019, 2018 and 2017.



The registration process has two phases: application and registration. All applications will be reviewed for relevancy and shortlisted candidates will then be notified of their acceptance and asked to complete their registration and pay the applicable fee.

Applications are now open!


  • AUD770 for early applications (submitted by 17 April 2020)
  • AUD850 for late applications (submitted from 18 April 2020)

The fees are only payable upon notification of acceptance, following application submission, and include:

  • Admission to all tutorials and supervised laboratories;
  • Coffee breaks and lunch during the five days of the school;
  • Accommodation for 6 nights from July 5 (check-in) to July 11 (check-out) in a private room;
  • Transport to the Summer School venue;
  • Group activity and a social dinner;
  • Payment information will be provided to selected participants in the notification email.

Note: Registration will not cover the cost of transport to and from Brisbane to attend the Summer School.


Visa requirements

Please note that in order to be granted a visa to visit Australia you must demonstrate that you meet all the legislative requirements. It is strongly recommended that you apply for your visa 8-12 weeks prior to the event date. Details of visa application requirements are available on the Australian Department of Immigration’s website.

The organisers are able to provide a letter of support for visa applications, but take no responsibility for visa application processes. If you require a letter of support, please email us at CogRob2020@csiro.au .



  • Phil Kilby – CSIRO Data61 and Australian National University (Chair)
  • Peyman Moghadam – CSIRO Data61 (Local Co-Chair)
  • Brian Williams – MIT (Technical Program Panel)
  • Sara Bernardini – Royal Holloway, University of London (Technical Program Panel)
  • Sue Keay – CSIRO Data61 (Local Sponsor)



We have a limited number of sponsorship opportunities available. If you would like to be involved, please consider our sponsorship prospectus which can be downloaded here and secure your spot today! The deadline to purchase your sponsorship is 31 March 2020.

Thanks to:


Previous Schools

This is the fourth edition of this Summer School. The previous three summer schools were:



Contact us

For more information please email CogRob2020@csiro.au