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SMART recruitment

15.03.2020 - 31.05.2020

The FYSC research group and partners are recruiting early stage researchers (ESR) for the MSCA ITN SMART ( We are looking to recruit 15 ESR in the participating institutions. The FYSC research group has 2 open positions available, as does the R&MM research group from VUB. The students will work together on the interdisciplinary project, developing smart materials for robotic applications.

The SMART Innovative Training Network is recruiting 15 motivated PhD Students. SMART is a joint venture between academia and industry, providing scientific and personal development of young researchers in the multidisciplinary fields of soft robotics and smart materials. SMART will realize the technologically and scientifically ambitious breakthroughs to exploit smart, stimuli-responsive material systems with actuation, sensing and self-healing capabilities for intelligent soft devices. This allows the soft robots to interact with dynamic and unknown environments in a smart fashion to avert catastrophic failure and re-establish structural integrity and operational functionality. Control intelligence enables interaction with the outer world and structural health monitoring allows the establishment of autonomous healing procedures, where upon sensing of damage or loss of functionality the system will cease operation and start a repair action, followed by the evaluation of the effective recovery of functionality and finally return to operation, thus expanding the service lifetime. These technologies will be integrated in fully functional and autonomous demonstrators to disseminate, benchmark and exploit the results.

There is a need for future leaders with excellence in smart material systems and technologically advanced applications such as robotics and automation. The SMART ITN offers such multidisciplinary training by combining these two emerging fields with meaningful societal and economic impact (T-model). For this purpose, SMART brings together 8 beneficiaries and 11 partner organizations including 2 research institutes and 12 private companies, belonging to 7 EU member states, and to 2 associated states (Switzerland, Turkey). The consortium’s complementarity and multidisciplinarity will enable a top-level educational programme, with special focus on spanning TRL levels from innovative fundamentally new concepts to system prototypes and teaching them in a responsible research and innovation (RRI) spirit.

 Benefits and salary

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Early Stage Researchers ( in the form of a scholarship. The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States). The salary includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if already married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes secondments to other institutes members of the SMART consortium, 4 training schools, 1 workshops and 1 summerschool within the SMART and active participation in conferences. The ESR will be guided by 2 academic and 1 non-academic supervisors.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants need to fully satisfy the following criteria:

- Be Early-stage researchers (ESR). ESRs are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full- time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate.

- Have a diploma (or obtaining a diploma before 15/10/2020) granting access to doctorate studies and not have already a PhD.

- Not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.

- English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training.

We have 15 topics ranging from self-healing and other self-responsive material research, fabrication processes, sensor and actuator development to design and control of soft robotics. Please check the list on:

Candidates must provide all requested information, including a cover letter, a motivation for application (indicating which topics are preferred), a detailed CV, declaration of activities and residence status from 01/06/2017 and a duly signed reference letter from an academic referee, preferably the academic master thesis promotor. Application will only be considered eligible in case of submission of all documents before the deadline.

Applications are now open through (deadline: 30/4/2020 )

For more information contact us: