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Ph.D. student in Robotic Materials

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Ph.D. student in Robotic Materials
Empa - the place where innovation starts

Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.

The general guiding theme and vision of the new Empa Materials and Technology Center of Robotics is to develop novel bio-hybrid aerial robotic systems for infrastructure maintenance and environmental monitoring. The work uses a bio-inspired robot development methodology and focusses on the integration of advanced materials with machine-learning based controllers and multi-sensory perception. We are looking for a

Ph.D. student in Robotic Materials

to perform a pioneering research in bio-hybrid materials for aerial robots in the Materials and Technology Center of Robotics (robotics.empa.ch) in collaboration with the Cellulose & Wood Materials Laboratory (empa.ch/cwmlab).The Center is based on an institutional partnership between Imperial College London and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa).

Your Profile / Our Requirements (mandatory):

  • B.Sc., M.Sc. (or equivalent) in Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, or other closely-related discipline. 
  • Strong background in physics and chemistry of materials.
  • Strong interest in robotics.
  • Experience in material characterization, including optical and electron microscopy, rheology, mechanical properties of materials. 
  • Knowledge of CAD software (such as SolidWorks).
  • Experience in design (CAD; preferred: Rhino; others) and additive manufacturing of materials.
  • Experience and will of work in a multidisciplinary environment, especially in the one linking Materials-Chemistry-Mechanical Engineering/Aeronautics-Computer Science disciplines.
  • Ability to lead work independently and work in teams.
  • Excellence in English, both written and spoken.


In addition (requirements preferred):

  • Experience in aerial robotics.
  • Experience in soft actuation and sensing for soft robotics.
  • Acquaintance with machine learning.
  • Experience in material simulation.
  • Experience in bio-hybrid materials.
  • Experience in finite elements analysis.
  • Project management skills.
  • Experience in composing academic writing pieces (manuscripts, reviews, etc).
  • Knowledge of the German language.


The Ph.D. degree will be granted by Imperial College London. Work location will be at Empa in Dübendorf, next to Zurich, Switzerland. Strong collaboration and exchanges will be maintained with the Aerial Robotics Lab at the Imperial College South Kensington campus in central London. The London-Zurich link offers an excellent ecosystem for furtherance of the project and for personal development in a variety of areas.

For further information about the position please contact Dr Mirko Kovac, Head of the Empa Materials and Technology Centre of Robotics at Empa and Director of the Aerial Robotics Lab at Imperial College London m.kovac@imperial.ac.uk or Dr Gustav Nyström, Head of the Cellulose & Wood Materials Laboratory at Empa gustav.nystroem@empa.ch and visit our websites www.empa.ch/web/s799 and Empa-Video

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts and contact details of two referees. The evaluation will start immediately.

Please upload the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.

Empa, Patricia Nitzsche, Human Resources, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Dübendorf / St. Gallen

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