Postdoctoral Position in Robotic Vision & Manipulation for Agricultural Robotics - [ Postdoc ]

Workplace: Genova, IIT
Added on: 31/05/2018 - Expires on: 30/06/2018

The Advanced Robotics Research Line at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, an English-language research Institute, is seeking to appoint a highly motivated full-time post-doc who will have a leading research role in developing Advanced Robotics and Industrial Automation.

Workplace: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza.


The selected candidate will join an interdisciplinary team and have the opportunity to pursue research within an agricultural robotics project.

The position advertised is part of a Joint Lab project between IIT and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, following the Agricultural Robotics track of the project.

The project tackles the emerging challenge of the dramatic shortage in skilled labour and lower grape price by using robotic solutions. The main goal of this project is to develop and test innovative robotic mobile manipulation technologies for grapevine winter pruning automation. Robot vision, and learning processes on grape vine pruning skills will be merged into a quadruped robot with an arm, with advanced locomotion and manipulation capabilities. Multi-modal sensing system, in particular stereo vision, will be developed and integrated to a full torque controlled robotic manipulator for grapevine recognition, manipulation, and pruning automation using this robotic arm. Robot manipulation performance (e.g., pruning efficiency) and locomotion on various terrain types will be assessed. Impacts of the project embrace the still unreached goal of selective and full automation of grapevine winter pruning.

The results of the vision and manipulation research will be merged with those of our legged locomotion group, resulting into a robotic platform able to navigate and manipulate the grapevine environment in order to achieve the manipulation tasks. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct part of the research within the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore premises.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a PhD in Robotics, Computer Vision, Control, or other fields related to vision and manipulation tasks for robots, and with an excellent track record in the area of robotics.

Desired qualifications:

  • PhD Degree (or expected to graduate soon) in engineering, robotics, or related fields;
  • Experience with computer vision methods and algorithms, deep learning;
  • Experience with robotic manipulation tasks;
  • Experience with ROS, C++, TensorFlow, Python
  • Strong team player, able to work effectively as part of a multi—disciplinary, international research team and carry out tasks autonomously;
  • Willingness to contribute novel ideas and approaches to support scientific and industrial investigations;
  • Proficiency in oral and written English and ability to represent the team with the companies;
  • Creative and proactive attitude.

IIT is an English language Institute and international applications are strongly encouraged.

The successful candidate will be offered a contract for 24 months with a highly competitive salary which will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Expected start date could be September 2018 or as soon as possible.

To apply, please send electronically a detailed CV (including list of publications), a letter outlining motivation, university transcripts and names of 2 referees to and by June 30th 2018 stating “Post Doc Agricultural Robotics CB 75409” in the subject of the email.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), with its headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness. The institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision, neuroscience, drug discovery, nanoscience and technology.


We inform you that the information you provide will be used solely for the purposes of evaluating and selecting professional profiles in order to meet the requirements of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, based in Genoa, Via Morego 30, acting as Data Controller, in compliance with the rules on protection of personal data, including those related to data security.

Please also note that, pursuant to articles 15 et. seq. of European Regulation no. 679/2016 (General Data Protection Regulation), you may exercise your rights at any time by contacting the Data Protection Officer (phone +39 010 71781 - email:

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

Darwin Caldwell
Claudio Semini
Involved Research lines
Advanced Robotics Dynamic Legged Systems


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.