Postdoc Soft Functional Interfaces

Published on
July 11, 2018
Location Wageningen
Scientific field Natural Sciences
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We are looking for

We seek a highly motivated postdoctoral candidate for a multidisciplinary project within the 4TU Soft Robotics research program. This initiative is a large collaborative program together with partners from all four Technical Universities in the Netherlands. The 4TU Soft Robotics program aims to develop an integrated design approach for soft robotic hardware, control and actuation. The project will be embedded in the Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter group at Wageningen University.

Your project will focus on developing flexible robotic skins that can be used in robotics contexts where soft skins are important, ranging from patient interactions to fruit picking. In particular, we aim to study the fundamental principles of soft contact mechanics to both develop the capacity for measuring (sensing) and applying local forces (grip). You will aim to further develop basic understanding of, and integrate novel sensing and actuation concepts to effectively control the 3D conformability and bond/grip strength of a generic robotic skin: a “soft functional interface”. Your project will run parallel to existing efforts on understanding adhesion/friction mechanisms, in which we focus on tuning interface dynamics with novel chemistry and through custom patterned interfaces, e.g. via the use of 3D printing.

Your efforts will be in collaboration with postdoctoral researchers and staff scientists at the local Experimental Zoology group and the vision-based control experts from the Farm Technology group. Bio-inspiration (think of cuttlefish grippers) and visual control elements are therefore natural components of this project, although it is not limited to these. We seek active collaborations with external partners as well, including the University of Amsterdam and ARCNL, also to widen the application area of soft robotics.

We ask

For this position we request a candidate with a PhD in (applied) physics, material science, mechanical engineering, soft matter or physical chemistry, preferably with experience with contact mechanics related studies. Experience with soft materials, microfluidics, 3D printing (CAD), actuation and mechatronics is a plus.

We offer

A job at an organisation that will challenge you every day to provide our clients with the best possible solution. As Postdoc Soft Functional Interfaces you will be part of an ambitious team working on a wide range of issues with plenty of scope for initiative. Personal input and responsibility are an integral part of our culture. 

We offer a temporary position with an average working time of 38 hours per week, for the period of 1 year, with the possibility of extension. Gross salary € 4.084,- maximum per month. There are teaching opportunities in our department for those who have such ambitions; teaching is however not required. Similarly, the postdoctoral candidate can get time and support to work on e.g. a VENI application. Apart from that, we not only offer a competitive salary but also good (study) leave and a pension of the ABP Pension Fund.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Joshua Dijksman, telephone number +31317482094, or or dr. Marleen Kamperman, telephone number +31317482358, or
For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact Nicole de Vries, HR advisor, telephone number +31 317 485677.

You can apply online at until 1 August 2018.

We are

Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter at Wageningen University is interested in phenomena at any scale where creative chemistry is essential, complex physics is a rule rather than an exception and biology comes to life. The laboratory works on Soft Matter in the broadest sense of the word, combining experiment and theory, chemistry and physics and fundamental and applied science. The laboratory has a large range of state-of-the art equipment. See

The Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group is part of Wageningen University & Research, an organisation that brings together fundamental and applied scientific research. We work on creating ‘healthy food in a biobased society’ with private sector companies, research institutes and government agencies in the Netherlands and abroad. Our innovations play a crucial role in solving the major issues which affect society today. Entrepreneurship and professionalism are key in all that we do. In short, we are a major international employer offering considerable potential for your career.

Wageningen University & Research
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain of good and safe food & food production, food security and a healthy living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 5000 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at

Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.