[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] Funded PhD opportunities in Skippy Project at IIT

Roy Featherstone Roy.Featherstone at iit.it
Fri May 26 08:59:43 PDT 2017

Reminder:  PhD Openings in Skippy Project at IIT

Act now.  The deadline is approaching.


Skippy is an extraordinary monopedal robot that exhibits an unprecedented
level of athletic ability.  It is strong enough to make a 4-metre-high hop;
robust enough to crash land after a bungled 4m hop without being damaged;
independent enough to get up by itself after a fall or crash landing; skilful
enough to balance on its toe, launch into a backward somersault, and land back
on its toe; and versatile enough to exhibit a large repertoire of energetic
and skilful movements both individually and in smooth flowing routines.  The
purpose of Skippy is to explore the limits of physical performance that can be
achieved with today's motion technologies, and to demonstrate athletic
abilities beyond the reach of any other robot.  Right now, Skippy is still at
the design stage, and we plan to build it next year.  In the meantime, we have
built a precursor to Skippy, called Tippy, to implement and test the
high-speed balancing skills needed by Skippy.  For more information about the
Skippy Project go to

To achieve this level of performance requires careful attention to every
aspect of the robot's physical design and commanded behaviour, always with the
objective that the robot as a whole should achieve the highest possible
physical performance.  Working as part of a team, your role within the project
would be to help take Skippy from the design stage all the way through to a
working prototype that can perform all of the behaviours mentioned above.

The Skippy Project aims at demonstrating unprecedented levels of physical
performance, and is therefore genuinely an exploration of the unknown.  For
this reason, we are looking for applicants who want to make a major
contribution to the advancement of robotics, and who are willing to put up
with all of the frustrations, setbacks, rethinks, and high risks of failure
that go with a pioneering and ambitious attempt to explore the unknown and
achieve something amazing.


You must have a Masters degree in robotics, or other relevant discipline, with
excellent grades.  Additional evidence of excellence (e.g. awards, prizes,
publications) would be helpful.  Ideally, you should have excellent
programming skills, hands-on experience with robotic or mechatronic hardware,
and a strong educational background in mathematics, engineering, physics
and/or AI.

How to Apply:

IIT is not a degree-awarding body, so PhD students who study at IIT are
enrolled at the nearby University of Genoa, and are awarded their degrees by
that university.  The application procedure therefore consists of three steps:

1. Send to me (roy.featherstone at iit.it) copies of the following documents:
     * bachelors degree transcript
     * masters degree transcript
     * CV
     * letters of reference (if available)
     * a letter stating the reasons for your interest in the Skippy Project,
       what contributions you hope to make, and why you think you are a good
       candidate for this project
     * (optional) any other supporting materials you think are relevant

2. Apply to the PhD program in Bioengineering and Robotics of the department
   'Dibris' at the University of Genoa, selecting a theme from the curriculum
   'Advanced and Humanoid Robotics'.  Use the following URLs:
      * Bioengineering and Robotics:
      * Theme List:
        use the above URL and click on 'Advanced and Humanoid Robotics'
      * Application Form:

3. Send to me (roy.featherstone at iit.it) an email stating which theme you have
   applied for.  (See note 2.)

You must complete ALL THREE steps, or your application will not be considered.

1. The DEADLINE for applications is 13th June 2017 at noon (Italian time)
2. For complicated reasons, the Skippy Project is not in the list of themes.
   You should therefore (1) pick whichever theme you find most interesting,
   (2) inform me which theme you have chosen, so that I can inform the
   relevant researchers that you are really applying for Skippy, and (3)
   proceed as if you were applying for your chosen theme.  I can help you with
   the choice of theme.
3. These are fully-funded PhD places, complete with scholarships.
4. Some additional information can be found at

More information about the robotics-worldwide mailing list