Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA-PF): Call for expressions of interest for projects in Collaborative Robots

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    15/04/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Norway, Kristiansand
    The University of Agder
    Faculty of Engineering and Science

Associate professor Filippo Sanfilippo at the Department of Engineering Sciences, University of Agder, hereby invites expressions of interest from excellent post-doctoral researchers to apply for Marie Skłodowska-Curie – Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA-PF) scheme with the University of Agder as the host organization.

Sanfilippo is responsible for the research theme on Collaborative Robots (CoBots) at the Priority Research Centre Mechatronics, UiA, and he is also a member of the Centre for Integrated Emergency Mangement (CIEM), UiA. His research focuses on robotics, wearable haptics and safe human-robot interaction and is currently supervising four PhDs and co-supervising one PostDoc. He carries experience in participating to European research programs and various national projects from the Research Council of Norway (RCN). He is an IEEE Senior Member and is currently the Chair of the IEEE Norway Section. He is also the Chair of the IEEE Robotics and Automation, Control Systems and Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Chapter. Finally, Sanfilippo has authored and co-authored several technical papers in various journals and conferences and is a reviewer for several international conferences and journals.

Sanfilippo’s work focuses on cobots, or co-robot (from collaborative robot), intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. Cobots are advancing from being simple stand-alone manipulators passing tools or parts to human collaborators to becoming autonomous co-workers. However, there is a gap between the desire for humans and robots to work closely together and share control of operations, and how robustly we can measure and predict human motions and intentions in physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) operations. The effort of our research team aims at fostering the development of a novel paradigm to enable humans and machines for working hand in hand within a full-inclusive environment by achieving both human-robot and robot-robot collaboration in a robust, safe and secure manner. This model shall be designed to securely integrate proactive intelligent detection approaches with predictive methods for potentially dangerous events by complementing the workspace with a combination of novel sensing technologies and multi-sensor highly compliant robots. This research shall enable researchers to develop control algorithms for cobots with the human-in-the-loop (HITL). Based on these concepts, our team is prototyping cutting-edge technologies, including robots (i.e., manipulators, snake like robots, legged robots, …), as well as human-machine interfaces with multi-modal auditory-visual-tactile feedback (i.e., haptic devices, augmented reality (AR) interfaces, …). In this perspective, the candidate will be involved in one, or a combination, of the following ongoing projects:

  • Collaborating Robots in Uncertain Environments. A novel snake robot will be prototyped based on the experience matured by our research group. A novel design will be proposed to make the system more modular, robust and resilient to harsh environments. To enhance the robot compliant, an innovative design will be considered based on series elastic actuators (SEAs). Note that our team has already started this process with a PhD fellowship allocated to this task at UiA.
  • Wearable robots for enhancing situational awareness (SA) for people with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The overall objective is to design a personalisable, enabling technology solution to exploit the vast variety of ASD and similar challenges in the everyday life. Note that our team has already started this process with a PhD fellowship allocated to this task at UiA.
  • Cobots for assisting living. The foal of this project is to design, prototype and verify an ecosystem of assistive technology for assisting living. Note that our team has already started this process with a PhD fellowship allocated to this task at UiA.

We are looking for candidates that:

  • PhD in technology of engineering with focus on modelling and with knowledge in automatic control, mechatronics, cybernetics, computer science and/or similar fields.

Desired qualifications

  • Working knowledge of Linux, the Robot Operating System (ROS), the Gazebo simulation environment and multiple programming languages
  • Experience with the challenges of designing and rapid-prototyping robotic systems
  • Strong academic credentials and previous publications


Personal qualities

Personal suitability, good communication and teamwork skills, inventiveness, and a proactive approach, will be emphasized in the evaluation as well as relevant practical experience. The Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected to contribute to an active research community that promotes the personal and professional growth.

The position places great demands on the applicant’s capacity for independent goal-oriented work, ability to concentrate and attention to detail.

In return, we offer the opportunity to contribute to the strategic capabilities of a world-class research organization. The Postdoctoral fellow will collaborate with top scientists in your field and have excellent prospects for personal development in an innovative working environment for aspiring researchers.

Applicants will be assessed on the basis of academic background and results, attainment, and any previous research and development work.



Eligibility criteria

The MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships provide living allowance covering one to two years' salary, a mobility allowance, as well as research, training and networking costs and overheads for the host institution. The applicants submit proposals for funding jointly with the host organisation (UiA). The MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship proposals are evaluated on their research quality, the researcher's future career prospects, and the support offered by the host organisation. All domains of research and technological development are eligible for funding.

Formal requirements1 for the applicants at the date of the call deadline:

  • A doctoral degree
  • All nationalities
  • At the call deadline (September 2021), the applicant must have a maximum of 6 years full-time equivalent experience in research, measured from the date that the applicant was in a possession of a doctoral degree
  • The applicant cannot have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the beneficiary (Norway) for more than 12 months in the last three years immediately before the call deadline
  • Only one proposal per individual researcher may be submitted to the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships call

1Formal requirements are subject to change pending the acceptance of the final MSCA work programme


About the host institute

The University of Agder (UiA) is a major education and research institution located in the south of Norway, divided between two campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad, respectively. The university enrols more than 13 000 students and employs more than 1300 administrative and academic staff. The Faculty of Science and Engineering has a wide range of research communities and invites expression of interests within various fields and across all our four departments.

The Department of Engineering Sciences conducts research in multiple fields including civil engineering, renewable energy, and mechatronics. The department hosts the research centre SFI Offshore Mechatronics funded by the Research Council of Norway as well as the priority research centre Top Research Centre Mechatronics (TRCM). The centres and research groups at the department maintain strong and close links to the public sector and industry partners.


The research topic’s links to the research environment at the Department

  • Top Research Centre Mechatronics (TRCM): the projects are in line with the activities of the newly established TRCM. In particular, important synergies will be created with the following Research Themes (RT): Human-Robot Interaction and Collaborative Robots. Within the TRCM, the newly established Biomechatronic Lab will be used as a prototyping incubator for novel assistive technology.
  • Mechatronics Innovation Lab (MIL): the projects will benefit from synergies with MIL, which is a world-leading center for innovation, piloting and technology qualification in mechatronics and other related disciplines. MIL recently acquired a Boston Dynamics Spot robot that will be employed in the projects.
  • Centre for Integrated Emergency Management (CIEM). The projects will also utilise the CIEM Lab, which is a competence center for accelerating innovation and research in crisis management technology.
  • Top Research Center eHealth: The Center for eHealth carries out high-quality user-centred and evidence-based research in health and technology in a multi-disciplinary collaborative setup.
  • I4Helse AS: I4Helse is a collaboration between UiA, municipalities, business and users on technology, innovation, health research and practice. I4Helse will be used as a show case for the project.


How to apply?

Submit your expression of interest via e-mail to filippo.sanfilippo[at]uia.no including a single pdf file consisting of:

  • Motivation letter (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 4 pages)
  • Summary of the project idea (max 1 page)

Deadline for submissions: 15 April 2021.

Candidates for further interactions will be pre-selected following an internal evaluation. The candidates will be informed of the pre-selection results no more than two weeks after the deadline. All the selected applicants will be supported by the UiA research services in preparing the final proposals.

For more information, please contact filippo.sanfilippo[at]uia.no


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