PhD positions in Soft Robotics at University of Groningen 2018

Deadline: 15 July 2018
Open to: international students
Salary: 2,222 EUR gross per month in the first year


The Robotics group at the University of Groningen has two vacancies for doctoral students on soft robotics. The two Ph.D. positions will be part of the European Horizon2020 project MAGNIFY. The goal of MAGNIFY is to design and realize a new generation of artificial muscles for robotic systems, characterized by high force-to-weight ratio, high flexibility, fast reacting properties, and intrinsic rigidity tuning. The project will use artificial molecular machines, organized in polymer electrospun nanofibers and controlled by electrical stimuli, to realize an artificial macroscopic muscle.

The Robotics group develops systems that are intended to physically interact with uncertain dynamic environments and to cooperate with humans. The group’s main focus is the development of novel actuation systems, which are the key enabling components for motion generation. The work is accomplished by developing unique mechanical designs and intelligent control architectures. Current research projects focus on bio-inspired soft robots and lower-limb prosthetic devices. The Robotics lab is equipped with rapid prototyping facilities (3D printer and laser cutter), and instruments for electromechanical characterization.

The two Ph.D. positions focus on:

  • the design and fabrication of the different stages of the artificial muscle;
  • electromechanical characterization of the artificial muscle;
  • development of (analytical, numerical, predictive) models;
  • development of (non-linear) control techniques;
  • experimental validation.


The successful candidates should have:

  • a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, applied physics, or in closely related disciplines;
  • excellent skills and practical experience in one or more of the following research areas: (soft) robotics, systems and control, MEMs, material science, nanofabrication and electrospinning;
  • strong academic credentials;
  • written and spoken English proficiency;


The University of Groningen offers a salary of 2,222 EUR gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of 2,840 EUR gross per month in the fourth and final year (in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities CAO NU), based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE), excluding a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and a 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance. The positions are limited to a period of 4 years. A Ph.D. training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidates will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The successful candidates will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the Ph.D. thesis within the next three years is to be expected.

How to Apply?

The application should include:

  • letter of motivation;
  • CV (including contact information for at least two academic references);
  • transcripts from the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree;

The preferred starting date is 1 October 2018.

For more information please visit the official website.