Assistant Professor Soft Surgical Robotics at Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology has an opening professor position in mechanical engineering. The funding allows successful candidate to work for six years. Applications will be evaluated on a continuous basis.

The faculty of 3mE of Delft University of Technology presents itself as a dynamic and innovative faculty that aims to make a substantial contribution to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and well-being, with its employees, students and alumni. The staff of the faculty of 3mE carries out groundbreaking and pioneering research that leads to challenging applications and new fundamental insights in the areas of mechanical engineering, maritime technology and materials sciences. The basis and results of this research are reflected in excellent contemporary and modern design.

In 2018, the 4TU Federation has started research programs within the theme ‘High Tech for a Sustainable Future’. With this she gives a strong impetus to research into sustainable technology. The Netherlands' four universities of technology (TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University of Twente and Wageningen University) are making a significant impact on social challenges in the long term. Within the programs, the four technical universities work closely together.

Within the 4TU federation, the research theme "Soft Robotics" has been established. Robots that operate in human environments will need a 'soft touch'. The robots we know from industrial production are extremely precise and fast, but very rigid as well. For physical and safe contact with people, or for handling vulnerable tissues and food products, they do not perform well. The '4TU Soft Robotics' program chooses a nature-inspired approach: the grip of a tree frog and the flexible arm of a cuttlefish. For this, knowledge of biology, new control systems and innovative robot design strategies go hand in hand. The partners of the technical universities strengthen each other in this.

Robotics is a booming field of research, with the potential to transform our society. Soft robotics is a very young and promising field, and offers an exciting, radically different approach to operate safely and reliably in human-inhabited environments. Many scientific challenges arise from the vision of integrated design of soft robots, including desirable mechanical properties, embedded sensors and actuation, modelling and control. Soft robotics are especially interesting in the medical field, in which the robot needs to interact with tissues in a non-traumatic way and needs to adapt to the constantly changing soft environment of the human body. Our ambition is to take the lead in realizing the next generation of medical soft robotic systems by looking into nature and integrating nature's approaches with our knowledge on mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and material science. Our main foci are realizing innovative soft surgical robots that open up unprecedented opportunities to transform the healthcare sector in a number of areas including minimally invasive surgery, rehabilitation, and prosthetics. Potential applications are non-traumatic soft robotic tissue manipulators that can reach behind obstacles, probes that can examine soft tissues, and soft robotic endoscopes that can safely navigate through delicate structures.

During your tenure track, you will be embedded in a thriving national 4TU Soft Robotics program that has been established to advance the emerging field of soft robotics. You will be working in a team of top scientists and you will have the opportunity to carry out excellent research, set up and contribute to educational programs, and work on concrete solutions within our broad network of partners in policy and practice. We foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the six tenure trackers and the six postdoc positions to be appointed within this 4TU Soft Robotics program, associated scientific staff, and public and private partners. All six tenure trackers will be actively involved in the scientific, educational and valorisation activities of theprogram. You will also be involved in Bachelor and Master level courses, supervising BSc and MSc theses, and will contribute to the development of new courses. You have obtained (an equivalent of) the Dutch Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO) or are willing to do so. The position will offer prospective candidates excellent opportunities to extend their research networks with academic and societal partners.

At the start of the tenure-track you will be appointed as Assistant Professor for the duration of six years. Section leader, department leaders and you will agree upon expected performance and (soft) skills. You will receive formal feedback on performance and skills during annual assessment meetings and the mid-term evaluation. If the performance and skills are evaluated positively at the end of the tenure track, you will be appointed in a permanent Assistant Professor position.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

TU Delft sets specific standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. TU Delft offers training to improve English competency.

Inspiring, excellent education is one of our mainaims. If you have less than five years of experience and do not yet have your Dutch Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO), we allow you up to three years to obtain this.

For more information about this position, please contact Prof.Paul Breedveld, Head Bio-Inspired Technology Group (BITE), e-mail:, website:

- a motivation letter, - a detailed CV, - a research statement, - electronic copies of your top three publications, and - contact data of three references. Applications should be submitted in one PDFdocument to, referring to vacancy number 3mE18-67 in the subject of the email. Application deadline is 1 November2018.


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