Postdoc on “the design of better iCub hands” - [ Postdoc ]

Workplace: Genova, IIT
Added on: 11/06/2018 - Expires on: 31/01/2019

The iCub team ( at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is seeking to appoint a postdoctoral fellow to work on “the design of better iCub hands”.

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic postdoctoral fellow to design, build, install and test new hands for the iCub robot. This postdoc position foresees the conceptualization, design, CAD modeling, fabrication (by relying on our fully-equipped machine shop), installation (with support from our technical staff) and testing of robot hand systems for our iCub humanoids. In particular, we would like to improve on the reliability of the current hand’s design possibly increasing also the overall grasping force. The iCub with the new hands will be interacting with people in generic human-robot interaction experiments. The new hands will therefore require means of “protection” to ensure the robot’s safety.

This research is part of a large-scale project, funded directly by IIT, that aims at developing innovative robotic technologies applied to the diagnosis and therapy of neuro-developmental disorders (NDDs), as well as to study neurotypical development.

Required qualifications/skills

  • PhD in robot design, mechanical design, mechanical engineering or related fields;
  • Experience with parametric 3D CAD (preferably of Creo Parametric);
  • Ability to communicate proficiently in English (written and spoken);
  • Experience in robotics showing a portfolio of previous projects, publications, etc.

Additional desirable skills

  • Knowledge of basic machining techniques, fabrication methods, materials;
  • Knowledge of the mechanics or control of multi-finger manipulation;
  • Knowledge of the Python programming language and its scientific computing libraries;
  • Knowledge of multi-body/robot simulation tools;
  • Experience in control or motion planning of robots.

The successful candidate will be offered a salary commensurate to experience and skills.

Please apply by January 31, 2019, by sending your application to quoting BC75196 – GSL-3 – Postdoc on the design of better iCub hands in the e-mail subject. Your application shall contain a detailed CV, a research statement, and contact information of two reference persons.

Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT, is a non-profit institution that promotes technological development and higher education in science and technology. IIT’s research program seeks innovation and following a multidisciplinary approach at all levels. Our scientists can count on state of the art laboratories. The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an equal opportunity employer that actively seeks diversity in its workforce.

Privacy information

In responding/applying to this call please note that:

  • Information will be used solely for the purpose of evaluating and selecting the best professional profiles to meet the needs of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia;
  • Data will be process by the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, headquartered in Genoa (ITALY), Via Morego 30, acting as Data Controller, in compliance with the rules on protection of personal data and data security;

Please also note that, pursuant to articles 15 et. seq. of the European Regulation no. 679/2016 (General Data Protection Regulation), you may exercise your specific 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.

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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.