PHD in Bioengineering - Real-time monitoring of the human intention and physical capabilities in physical human-robot collaboration - [ PhD ]

Workplace: , IIT
Added on: 10/02/2017 - Expires on: 06/03/2017

The research line “Human-Robot Interfaces and Physical Interaction” (HRI²), led by Dr. Arash Ajoudani, is active at the IIT Central Research Laboratories in Morego (Genova), the main premises of Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). HRI² laboratory investigates the modelling and analysis of the human physical interaction behaviour as well as robot planning and control.

Following an agreement with the “Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB)” of the “Politecnico di Milano” HRI² is offering 1 PhD  position at Politecnico di Milano Phd  school of Bioengineering on the specific project “Real-time monitoring of the human intention and physical capabilities in physical human-robot collaboration”. The PhD call is online and available at the Politecnico website for the additional calls of the 32nd cycle.

Theme description

Recent technological advances in hardware design of the robotic platforms enabled the implementation of various control modalities for improved physical interactions with humans and unstructured environments. An important application area for the integration of robots with such advanced physical interaction capabilities is human-robot collaboration, representing high economic and social impacts and maintaining the sense of purpose of the involved people, as the robots do not completely replace the humans from the work process.

Nevertheless, since the human behaviour is usually highly unpredictable and difficult to model, the need for the development of appropriate human-robot interfaces to enable the robot to predict or extract the human intention from various feedback modalities (human motor behaviour, vision, interaction force, voice commands, etc.) becomes crucial.

Therefore, the main objective of this PhD theme is to develop multimodal human robot interfaces for real-time monitoring of the human intention (high-level) and physical capabilities (e.g. fatigue). On the robot side instead, adaptive and hybrid controllers will be developed to achieve effective physical interactions with the human and the external environment.

For more details, please see

Previous example videos can be found at: and


Ideal candidates should be extremely motivated, hold a Master’s Degree in Physics, Engineering or related subjects, have an outstanding academic record, besides strong communication and team-working skills.  


In order to apply for these positions it is mandatory to refer to the procedures required by the Politecnico di Milano. The official notice and the procedure for admissions is available at this link.

Interested applicants must follow the admission instructions and, additionally, can submit their CV electronically, outlining experience, qualifications, list of publications, a statement of research interests & plans and the names of at least two referees to Arash Ajoudani (, submitting their CV and two possible contacts for a recommendation letter

Until March 6th, 14:00 Italian time, candidates can apply online to the Politecnico di Milano PhD. (Application link)


Arash Ajoudani
Involved Research lines
Human-Robot Interfaces and Physical Interaction


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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.