Post Doc in Smart Materials for Soft Plant-inspired Robots - [ Postdoc ]

Added on: 30/06/2020 - Expires on 31/07/2020

A Postdoctoral position is available at the Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), in Pontedera (Pisa), Italy, in the context of a joint-lab IIT and Tel Aviv University to conduct a collaborative research under an agreement between Israeli and Italian Ministry of Science and Technology titled “A Plant-Inspired Robot Emulating Decision-Making Abilities of Plants in Dynamical Environments”.

The goal of this research is to take inspiration from the ability of plants to move by growing while exploring external contexts and adapting their morphology, accordingly. Specifically, the major objective of the joint-lab is to design and build a new generation of bio-robots equipped with decision-making abilities for dynamically-changing environments, merging knowledge from robotics with engineering-driven plant science.

The research will be conducted at the Center for Micro-BioRobotics in Pontedera (Pisa), Italy, within the Bioinspiered Soft Robotics research line (, led by Dr. Barbara Mazzolai, and will include periods of visiting research at the Tel Aviv University, School of Plant Sciences, Meroz Lab of Dr. Yasmine Meroz (

We are looking for a motivated PostDoc candidate to work on embodying plant decision-making strategies into artificial materials for soft growing robots.

The ideal candidate should have the following competences/skills:

  • PhD in one of the following areas: Chemistry, Polymer Science, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Physical Sciences & Engineering or related fields.
  • Solid background in engineering/material science, focused on advanced materials chemistry.
  • Experience on the development of polymeric materials.
  • Experience in the development, processing and characterization of polymer nanocomposites.
  • Experience in the development of polymeric composite materials that can tune specific properties upon interaction with external stimuli such as light, heat, water, touch.
  • Morphological and spectroscopic characterization techniques.
  • Excellent track record of research publication.

The successful candidate is expected to:

  • proactively perform research in a team of senior researchers, post-docs and PhD students;
  • collaborate in a multi-disciplinary team;
  • publish scholarly papers and be available to attend conferences, participate in meetings and other events.

Proficiency in written/spoken English is mandatory.

The successful candidate will be offered a contract with a highly competitive salary that will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applications, assembled as a single PDF file, shall include:

  • a complete CV with a full list of publications, plus a final section titled “Relevant skills” commenting on the strong points where your CV matches the required skills (list above);
  • copy of up to 5 relevant papers, plus a final section titled “Personal contributions” detailing your specific contributions to each presented papers;
  • name and contacts of 2 referees.

Interested candidates should email their applications both to, and to quoting “Post Doc in Smart Materials for Soft Plant-inspired Robots CB 78608”.

Please apply by 31/07/2020.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with its headquarters in Genoa, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy's technological competitiveness. IIT's research endeavour focuses on high-tech and innovation, representing the forefront of technology with possible application from medicine to industry, computer science, robotics, life sciences and nanobiotechnologies.

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

We inform you that the data you provide will be processed for the sole purpose of evaluating professional profiles and selecting them according to the needs of the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

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

We also inform you that, pursuant to article 15 and following articles of EU Regulation 2016/679 ("General Data Protection Regulation"), you may exercise your rights at any time by contacting the Data Protection Officer (telephone 010 28961 - email: dpo[at]

Dr. Barbara Mazzolai
Mrs. Emma Cappelleri