No. of Position(s)


Research area

Soft Robotics


Employment as a PhD fellow is a 3-year salaried position (start salary amounts to approx. 3.378,- EURO per month incl. supplements).


SDU Biorobotics
Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute
University of Southern Denmark

Starting Date

Early 2021 and will be agreed with the successful candidate


Further information about this position is available via email from Associate Professor Ahmad Rafsanjani( and Assistant Professor Jonas Jørgensen(

If you experience technical problems you must contact  


The candidate should have a master’s degree in engineering or a related field, a genuine interest in interdisciplinary research, drive to design and fabricate physical robots, and preferably with experience in programming.

Responsibilities/Job Description

We are looking for a highly motivated, creative, and ambitious student with a good command of English (written and spoken), who can work well in a team as well as independently and quickly acquire knowledge in new topics. The ideal candidate is competent to acquire skills to conduct high-quality research and present and publish the outcome of the project at conferences and scientific journals. The candidate is expected to take part in the teaching activities of the Center for Soft Robotics and SDU Biorobotics.

Assessment Process

Read about the Assessment and selection process. Shortlisting may be used. Shortlisted applicants will be assessed by an assessment panel.

How to Apply?

fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file.

Documents required

The application must be in English and must include – the required forms must be found at the above mentioned Faculty website:

  • Completed TEK PhD application form for 5+3 applicants.
  • Motivation letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. 2 pages). Upload in the field called “Project description”. 
  • Detailed Curriculum Vitae, describing research, publication and teaching experience, computational skills and including personal contact information.
  • Verified copies of the official bachelor diploma and master’s diploma and transcripts of exams, both original and translated into English.
  • Completed TEK PhD form for calculation grade point average. Upload in one of the fields called “Publication”. 
  • An official document describing the grading scheme of the awarding universities (if not Danish). Upload in one of the fields called “Publication”. 
  • An official and verified written assessment of the thesis or dissertation project from the grade giving institution, if the thesis/examination project is evaluated by approved/passed. The statement must clearly state that the candidate has been among the top 30 pct. in the graduation class for the study programme.
  • References, if any. You’re welcome to use the form for reference letter at the Faculty website.
  • List of publications and maximum 2 examples of relevant publications, if available. Please attach one pdf-file for each publication. 

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

About the Project

Limbless vertebrates and invertebrates deform their compliant bodies to generate propulsive force. Emulating body deformation, surface characteristics, and associated neural control of limbless locomotion is a promising approach to design mobile soft robots capable of traversing complex terrains that are often impossible for conventional robots. The PhD position focuses on the design and fabrication of a generic untethered soft robot capable of multimodal limbless locomotion gaits by taking inspiration from nature’s soft experts in crawling and slithering. This project requires to integrate soft actuation, sensing, power supply, and computation in a unified soft robotic system.

About SDU Biorobotics

SDU Biorobotics spans a broad range of competences and research interests, including mechatronics, embedded electronics, soft robotics, artificial intelligence, and bio-inspired control. We design, build, and program new, innovative robots with Nature as a prime source of inspiration. Some of our robots have legs and resemble animals and insects more than traditional robots, while others are controlled and learn via bio-inspired artificial intelligence.

Other Benefits

The University of Southern Denmark in Odense is a rich environment for innovation within robotics and automation. SDU Biorobotics spans a broad range of competences and research interests, including mechatronics, embedded electronics, soft robotics, artificial intelligence, and bio-inspired control. The Center for Soft Robotics is a new and growing research group at the SDU Biorobotics. We design, build and program next-generation robots that use compliance as part of their intelligence to adapt to complex tasks. In our research, we aim for a systems-level integration in designing and building soft robots. We transform clever ideas from soft biological systems into soft robots and use innovative soft materials and structures such as flexible metamaterials, origami, and kirigami to create novel soft actuators and artificial skins with embedded sensing and interactive functionalities. We adapt biologically inspired control and learning strategies to enable such soft machines to communicate efficiently with humans through aesthetic expressions and navigate dexterously through complex terrains. We are building an engaging collaborative environment and work together with industrial partners to translate research into impactful applications.


Applicants are required to have a master’s degree (equivalent to a Danish master’s degree) at the time of enrollment and employment.

Employment of a PhD fellow can only happen after the Head of the PhD School has approved the candidate for admission to the PhD school. Employment and enrollment will cease without further notice at the end of the period.

A PhD fellow is not allowed to have any kind of sideline employment, while enrolled as PhD fellow at the faculty.

Employment is governed by the Protocol on PhD Research Fellows signed by the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Please check links for more information on salary and taxation.

The successful candidate will be enrolled at SDU in accordance with Faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order), read more here

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