Postdoctoral Researcher in Bio-inspired Robotics (a)

Updated: about 2 months ago

Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.

We seek a highly motivated and talented Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Soft Kinetic group (

) which pursues a vision of life-like robot movement by translating biologically inspired mechanisms as we conduct experimental validation of animal locomotion using robotic physical models. The candidate has demonstrable experimental robotics experience and a keen interest in biologically inspired mechanics and control as it pertains to locomotion. The successful candidate will develop bio-inspired robotic systems leveraging skills in mechatronics and embedded systems, whilst incorporating principles and concepts from biology. 

Responsibilities of the successful candidate include

  • Develop novel bio-inspired robotic devices in the context of locomotion transitions 
  • Design mechatronic rigs involving interfacing through microcontrollers to the motors, angular encoders, force sensors, etc. 
  • Design and implement closed-loop control strategies for robotic systems. 
  • Conduct experiments to evaluate the performance of robotic systems developed.
  • Determine engineering requirements based on physical foundations underpinning designs. 
  • Collaborate with other members of the research team to integrate the developed systems into larger projects.

Your Profile / Requirements (preferred)

  • Ph.D. in Robotics, Mechatronics, Electrical Engineering, or a related field. 
  • Background in bio-inspired robotics, mechatronics, and embedded systems. 
  • Experience with hardware design, additive manufacturing, prototyping. 
  • Methodological and goal-oriented working behavior, good management skills. 
  • Thrives in multidisciplinary environment, comfortable working collaboratively in a team linking Biology-Materials-Mechanical Engineering/Aeronautics disciplines. 
  • Excellent communication skills generally, and in English, both written and spoken. 
  • Record of publications in top-tier robotics conferences and journals is preferred. 
  • Experience with underactuated systems, bending actuators, and/or soft sensors is desired.
  • Knowledge of underactuated systems and computer vision would be a plus, yet not required.

Our offer

World class facilities on our campus include a Competence Center for additive manufacturing, ETH-Empa water and wind tunnels, and strong collaborative links within the ETH Domain family. You will be welcomed to join a vibrant, diverse environment in the heart of Europe. Empa’s main campus is located close to downtown Zürich and 20 minutes from Zurich International Airport. Zurich is among the cities with the highest quality of life worldwide, welcoming to non-German speaking people, and with ample opportunities for social, cultural, and outdoor activities. 

You will have the opportunity to work with a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary team of researchers in the field of bio-inspired robotics. The position offers a competitive salary and benefits package, as well as opportunities for professional development and career advancement. The desired commencement date is as soon as is practicable or mutually agreed upon. The duration of this position is offered for one year with possible extension of up to two years.  

[a] stands for «all» in our job advertisements. We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities. That's what counts - not age, gender, origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc....

PatriciaNitzsche, Stv. Leiterin Personal / Dep. Head Human Resources

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