Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position, Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN Programme | Eindhoven

PhD project within STORMBOTS consortium: Electrically driven sensor skins for LCE-based soft robotics. A cooperation between TNO and Technical University Eindhoven.



Education type

university (wo)



Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will be your role?

Robots that mimic the soft, pliable, robust, and organic qualities of the natural world are preferred over rigid, cold, and inorganic conventional robots. Soft robotics immediately benefits industries such as agriculture, where they are already deployed in the collection of fruits and vegetables. However, to advance the emerging field of “soft robots”, these machines must be equipped with actuators and sensors to allow them to interact with their environment and render them more perceptive. Such solutions can also form the basis of smart electronic skins, which can augment the sensory abilities of humans.

However, the construction of a total soft sensor and actuator system requires the optimization and elaboration of fabrication methodologies. It also requires the fundamental characterization of new materials as a function of chemical structure and processing technique.

In this project the following objectives are to be achieved: i) Controlled integration methodologies of electrically driven LCEs on flexible and stretchable foils; ii) development of printable (strain) sensors to steer the actuation of the LCEs; iii) Understand the electrically driven haptic functions on flexible and stretchable foils.

How do you want to contribute to tomorrow's world? How big can your impact be? Come and work at TNO and envision it.

What we expect from you

  • Required MSc degree in Physics, Chemistry, Materials, Biomedical Science or Engineering;
  • English level: fluent in writing and speaking;
  • You are an ambitious MSc professional possessing critical scientific thinking capabilities, wanting to dive deep into materials properties and the processing of these;
  • Preferably you have experience with polymer coating technologies and flexible electronics;
  • You are enthusiastic about research, pro-active, and independent. You are a good team player, embracing multi-disciplinary backgrounds in a high-tech research environment.

What you’ll get in return

Challenging and varied work with a real impact. And plenty of opportunities as, at TNO, you are in charge of shaping your career. We offer a fixed, gross monthly salary of € 2.420,00 for the duration of PhD-ship, 8% holiday pay, a 13th month bonus of 8.33% and a flex budget (5.58% + € 180). Furthermore a Mobility Allowance of € 600,00 and, when complying with the requirements, a Family Allowance is provided. In addition, you will be given every opportunity to develop yourself.

TNO offers optional employee benefits, enabling you to tailor your benefits package to match your personal situation. You may also expect:
  • A Relocation Package;
  • A good pension scheme;
  • An extremely professional, innovative working environment where colleagues are leading experts in their field;
  • 28 days annual leave and 5 compensation days under the reduction in working hours scheme (ATV, arbeidstijdverkorting) on a full-time basis;
  • Great social events with your team and other TNO colleagues. That’s how you will get to know a lot of people really quickly;
  • Flexible working hours and the possibility of working from home and being facilitated in that;
  • The opportunity to attend courses, workshops and conferences, and to receive training and coaching based on your needs.
Read more about tailoring your benefits package.

TNO as an employer

Expected Results: (i) Insights in controllable electrically driven haptic LCE response on stretchable skin like foils (ii) advancing the state-of-the of controllable strain-sensor out-put to steer LCE actuators (iii) haptic robotic skin demonstrators.

The selected ESR will be employed at TNO as a PhD researcher and enrolled as a PhD student at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry (CE&C), Eindhoven University of Technology. CE&C aspires to be an academic institution for education and research in chemical science and engineering of the highest international standard. The aim is to generate and to develop technology and scientific knowledge relevant for the long-term needs of society. Scientific curiosity and the use of newly generated knowledge are the main driving forces behind the continuing enhancement of the chosen fields of expertise. As a PhD student you are supervised by research staff at TNO and academic staff at TU Eindhoven. The main activities for this ERP will take place at TNO the Holst Centre (the Netherlands) performing secondments at Eindhoven University of Technology (NL), at Institute of Nanoscience and Materials of Aragon (CSIC, Spain) and at the company Vention (the Netherlands).

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world.

Read more about TNO as an employer.

The selection process

You can apply till the 20th of July via this link. IMPORTANT: Please do not apply via the button below.
The process comprises at least two (selection) rounds. After a positive selection, we will finish off the process by discussing terms and conditions of employment. We try to complete the interviews and assessment within 4 weeks.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process.

Recruiter: Paul Verschoor
Mobile phone: +31 (0)6-29236794

Hiring manager: Jeroen Brand, van den
Phone number: +31(0)6-317 57081

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now


Dr. ir. Jeroen van den Brand

  • Printed electronics
  • wearables
  • sensors
  • interconnection technology

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