[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD scholarship in “Port-based Modeling and Control of Soft Robots” at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands)

R. Carloni r.carloni at rug.nl
Mon Mar 16 07:15:58 PDT 2020

1 PhD position in Port-based Modeling and Control of Soft Robots (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.
Within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence conducts – among others – research in port-based modeling and control of soft robots.
Scholarship opportunity
We are looking for a talented student who wishes to design his/her own PhD research project on the topic of port-based modeling and control of soft robots. This PhD project intends to use (and, possibly, further enrich) the port-Hamiltonian formulation as the core instrument for (1) analyzing and modeling soft robots, realized as the interconnections of different sub-systems with dynamic properties in the electrical, mechanical, and thermal domain; (2) determining the best geometrical configuration for the design of soft robots with the main goal of maximizing the actuation capabilities (contraction forces and stiffness characteristics); (3) controlling the soft robot with a biologically-inspired architecture. The theoretical findings will be experimentally validated.
As a PhD scholarship student, you will develop your own research project in consultation with the associated supervisors. You will conduct independent and original scientific research, report results via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and ultimately a PhD thesis. This research will be carried out in an international, and English spoken, research environment. The PhD thesis has to be completed within four years. Being part of a cutting-edge research programme, you will receive training in the form of hands-on instruction, advanced courses, summer/winter schools, as well as complementary workshops on generic research and transferable skills. Special attention is paid to training activities directed towards your future (academic or non-academic) career after the PhD trajectory, in the context of our Career Perspective Series.
The successful candidate should have:
- A Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, applied mathematics, applied physics, or in closely related disciplines.
- Excellent skills and practical experience in one or more of the following research areas: (soft) robotics, mechatronics, systems and control.
- Strong academic credentials.
- Written and spoken English proficiency.
Conditions of employment
The position is offered within the UG PhD Scholarship Programme. This programme is issued by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW) within the framework of the national PhD Scholarship Programme. PhD scholarship students receive a scholarship (stipend) of € 2,181 per month (gross) from the University of Groningen for a period of four years. PhD scholarship students are not employed by the university. PhD scholarship students have therefore different rights, obligations, and a different income than employed PhD candidates. Please consider the terms and conditions of the PhD Scholarship Programme on the following website:
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.rug.nl/education/phd-programmes/phd-scholarship-programme/conditions-application/__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!4BH_wH8JBnHEzgz5WKZRDZocyD50pqIBH8cm3p3nM4auol1ofDJX8P11PyCUsLdNnoPqKPAK$  <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.rug.nl/education/phd-programmes/phd-scholarship-programme/conditions-application/__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!4BH_wH8JBnHEzgz5WKZRDZocyD50pqIBH8cm3p3nM4auol1ofDJX8P11PyCUsLdNnoPqKPAK$ > 
The selection procedure will proceed in three stages:
1. Application (before 1/4)
2. Development of a full research proposal (1/4 – 29/4)
3. Assessment by selection committee (29/4 – 1/6)
1. Application (before 1/4)
Please upload your complete application in English until 1 April 11:59 pm / before 2 April 2020 Dutch local time. Combine all required documents in a single PDF file and upload it via the online application form (click on 'Apply' below on the advertisement on the university website to access the application form). Please use the following format to complete your application file:
a) Title page (1 page max.):
• Topic number and name (see above link for list of topics)
• Name of the applicant
• MSc degree and university
• Name(s) of the intended supervisor(s)
• Intended starting date (1 July, 1 August, or, ultimately, 1 September)
b)    Cover letter (1 page max.): a letter introducing yourself, describing your motivation and qualifications to conduct scientific research in the topic of your choice, and your expectations of the PhD programme
c)     CV (2 pages max.)
d)    Academic records and a certified copy or scan of your MSc diploma (or equivalent; provide a certified University letter stating when your graduation will be between the application deadline and start of the project)
e)     Proof of sufficient competence in English (https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.rug.nl/research/gradschool-science-and-engineering/phd-programme/admission/english?lang=en__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!4BH_wH8JBnHEzgz5WKZRDZocyD50pqIBH8cm3p3nM4auol1ofDJX8P11PyCUsLdNnheXVQEs$  <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.rug.nl/research/gradschool-science-and-engineering/phd-programme/admission/english?lang=en__;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!4BH_wH8JBnHEzgz5WKZRDZocyD50pqIBH8cm3p3nM4auol1ofDJX8P11PyCUsLdNnheXVQEs$ >)
f)     Names and contact details of two academic references
g)    Initial research project idea: brief description of the research question(s) that you wish to address with respect to the topic of your interest and your approach to address the research question(s) (500 words max.)
h)    Applications that do not satisfy the requested format will not be taken into consideration.
2. Development of a full research proposal (1/4 – 29/4)
The application files of candidates will first be assessed by the intended supervisors. On the basis of the observed qualifications of the candidates, the quality and originality of the candidates’ initial research project idea, and the fit with the supervisors’ ongoing research, (teams of) supervisors will invite up to three candidates to develop their initial project idea into a full research proposal of approximately 1500-2000 words (excluding references). The proposal must include:
a) Introduction, importance, state of the art, fit with Data Science and Systems Complexity
b) Main goal(s) and research question(s)
c) Approach and methods
d) Feasibility, research budget and timeline.
In the course of this stage, (teams of) supervisors will nominate at most two candidate(s) for a PhD scholarship to the selection committee.
3. Assessment by selection committee (29/4 – 1/6)
A selection committee will assess both the application and full research proposal of nominated candidates, using the following criteria:
a)     qualifications of the candidate: grades, research experience, motivation
b)    the research proposal: i.e. quality, originality, feasibility, and fit with the (interdisciplinary) research theme
c)     the admission requirements of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.
The highest ranked candidates will be invited to an interview with the selection committee. This interview will take place in May 2020.
Deadline for application: 1 April 2020
Interviews: May 2020
Announcement of selected/rejected candidates: 1 June 2020
Start of the position: between 1 July and 1 September 2020
For information, you can contact the supervisors:
Prof. Dr. Raffaella Carloni, r.carloni at rug.nl
Prof. Dr. Arjan van der Schaft, a.j.van.der.schaft at rug.nl
(please do not use for applications)

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