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Postdoc Cognitive Robotics for Agro-Food Technology

Postdoc Cognitive Robotics for Agro-Food Technology

The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Department of Mechanical Engineering has a vacancy for a Postdoc Cognitive Robotics for Agro-Food Technology (V35.4307) in the group Control Systems Technology.
(Postdoctoraal) onderzoeker
Faculteit Werktuigbouwkunde


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e; website) is looking for a postdoc to strengthen its research on knowledge-driven, complex and distributed robotic systems, operating in semi-structured application contexts.

The primary research focus is to develop disruptive innovations in (knowledge-based, so called "semantic") world modelling, as the key enabler for integration of control, task specification and execution, perception, and monitoring. The integration is based on the hypothesis that we can extend mainstream approaches to robot "control" towards the real-time integration of the continuous, discrete and symbolic aspects.

The primary application focus is the physical object handling and manipulation in food harvesting, food processing and food packaging in the agro-and-food industry; the health care sector is an important complementary target, with a somewhat longer research horizon.

The candidate will play a central role between our senior robotics professors, and a team of a dozen or so junior researchers, to help them integrate their research into a large-scale system, and to coach them in how to understand and adapt real-world end-user requirements. The shared research efforts must lead towards self-configuring and self-analyzing robotic systems, with industry-grade performance, explainability and maintainability.

We expect, first of all, excellent analytical, algorithm and software development skills, together with the social skills and a passion for technology transfer, to interface junior researchers to the diverse high-tech industries in the Eindhoven region and beyond.

The Control Systems Technology (CST; website) group as part of the department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) has an internationally recognized reputation in mechatronics and precision motion control. CST targets areas in Precision Machines, Robotics, Biomedical and Automotive engineering by designing performance based controllers and intelligent machine designs. The control and signal processing theory, precision machine design and electronics are integrated to demonstrate the application of modern control laws to achieve innovative mechatronic systems. CST has a track record of over twenty years in bringing state-of-the-art systems and control theory into new designs and high-tech applications. On the basis of dynamic models of the system at hand, new controller and observer synthesis methods are being developed and applied to create innovative intelligent systems.

Since 2005 its research extends to robotics concepts for semantic understanding and dynamic world model state representations that aims to provide higher level of robustness and performant behavior in semi-open worlds. The CST group was coordinator of the FP7 – ROBOEARTH project, is and has been participating in H2020 projects EUREYECASE, ROPOD, AUTOPILOT and more recently SAFE-UP and many more European and nationally funded projects (INTEREG, OPZUID). In 2018 it initiated a major university-industry project (worth EUR 1.5 Million) funded by 5 robotics companies for the creation of the so-called semantic world model for semi-open world operation.

Since 2005, CST is the main contributor to the TU/e RoboCup team, named Tech United,  5 times world champion (’12, ’14, ’16, ’18, ‘19) in the Middle Size League and the 2019 world champion in the @Home Domestic Platform League with the TOYOTA Human Support Robot. The model-based, multidisciplinary-oriented approach has proven to be highly valuable in the field of robotics. The recent scientific visitation of the group resulted in the highest possible score excellent (5555). The CST group is led by Prof. M. Steinbuch and has produced 5 start-ups in the past 10 years (Preceyes, MicroSure, Eindhoven Medical Robotics, Smart Robotics and recently RUVU- behavior for robots).

As postdoc, you will be conducting research in the context of the FLEXCRAFT project (Cognitive Robots for Flexible Agro Food Technology; website) within the CST group. FLEXCRAFT is a Dutch research program to advance Cognitive Robotics for Flexible Agro-Food Technology and is supported by NWO/TTW. The project entails to deal with the large variations in shape, size, and softness of agro-food products, variation in environmental conditions and tasks that are typically required within the agro-food chain. The scientific challenge of the FLEXCRAFT project is to equip robot technology with active perception, planning, control, gripping and manipulation; capabilities needed to deal with the aforementioned conditions in a robust way. These capabilities will be integrated in pilot projects in greenhouse production, food processing, and food packaging. You will collaborate with 10 PhD’s and 2 Postdocs from different universities in the Netherlands supported by fourteen companies that participate in the project.


  • PhD degree in the field of robotics with educational background in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or embedded software engineering.
  • Ability to conduct academic research of high quality on relevant problems, demonstrated for instance by a relevant PhD thesis and/or publication.
  • Proven expertise in (close to hard) real-time control, in a Linux and C environments; EtherCat expertise is a plus.
  • Continuously looking to do more with less, to decouple too tightly coupled legacy systems, to reuse software patterns, "to buy" from non-robotics domains; especially "the Web", with its large and mature set of many small but integratable standards
  • Able to discuss in technical depth with control engineers, perception component developers, (graphical) user interfacing experts, NoSQL data base developers, FPGA and DSP developers, and web developers.
  • Focusing first on formal modelling, then on information architectures, and only then on software architectures.
  • Excellent mastering of the English language, good communication and leadership skills. Note that there is not a Dutch language requirement.
  • Aware of the opportunities and challenges of model-driven engineering.
  • Proven experience with version control systems, like GIT.
  • Proactive and entrepreneurial mind-set, getting things done mentality.
  • Active former membership of student teams participating in RoboCup are considered as a big plus.


We offer: 

  • A full-time appointment for a period of 3 years
  • A gross monthly salary between € 2.709 and € 4.274 (on a full-time basis), depending on experience and knowledge;
  • A yearly holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary;
  • A yearly end-of-year allowance of 8.3% of the yearly salary;
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, savings schemes, and excellent sports facilities).

Informatie en sollicitatie

  • Candidates can further inquire about this this position at  prof. dr. Herman Bruyninckx (herman.bruyninckx [ at ] and dr. René van de Molengraft (M.J.G.v.d.Molengraft [ at ]
  • More information regarding function and employer benefits, please contact Hind Boulgalag, HR advisor (phone: +31 (0)247 5902, email:   h.boulgalag [ at ] or hrservices.gemini [ at ]


We invite you to submit a complete application via our website by clicking on the "apply for this job" button.

The application should include:

  • A cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • A curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Your PhD thesis
  • Optionally letter(s) of recommendation

Screening of applicants will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the positions have been filled.