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Opportunities

  • PhD Positions

  • Postdoc Position – Data-driven Optimal Control 

  • Postdoc Position – Variable Stiffness Robotics

  • Research Opportunity for Undergraduate Students


PhD positions

Two fully funded PhD positions are available in 2020. To register your interest, send your CV to david.braun[@]vanderbilt.edu [Subject line: PhD 2021]. We offer Candidates with research interest in Robotics, Dynamical Systems, and Optimal Control are encouraged to apply. Highly motivated students with a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics, or Computer Science are encouraged to apply.

We study fundamental aspects of robot dynamics, control and design. We utilize techniques from the fields of applied mechanics, nonlinear dynamics, optimal control and computational design. A list of research topics, which includes modeling and simulation of complex dynamical systems, control of legged locomotion as well as compliant (variable-impedance) actuation, can be found:

Candidates with outstanding academic credentials may be offered prestigious fellowships (see the fellowships of existing PhD students).

Expertise in one of these areas is essential to work in the Lab: dynamical system modeling, optimal control, machine learning, robotics, mechatronics, design.

Basic tools we use: (1) MATLAB (solving equations), (2) Mathematica (deriving models), (3) LaTeX (preparing reports and papers), (4) Adobe Illustrator (preparing figures) Photoshop (editing photos), Premiere (preparing videos), (5) SolidWorks (creating designs).

A strong background in fundamental disciplines, or a paper published in an international conference (IEEE ICRA, IEEE IROS, R:SS) or journal (IEEE T-RO, IEEE T-Mech, IEEE TNSRE, IJRR, APS PRE, or others) is a definite advantage.


Postdoc Position – Data-driven Optimal Control (NSF Project)

The ARC Lab at the Vanderbilt University invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the area of Data-driven Optimal Control and Reinforcement Learning. Applicants with strong interest in theoretic and algorithmic foundation of optimal control and reinforcement learning and their application to robots are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will play a key role in developing a new control theoretical framework for data-driven online optimal control, which will bridge the gap between classical model-based and state-of-the-art model-free reinforcement learning methods.

Applications, assembled into a single PDF file, should contain a CV, short cover letter including your background – examples of relevant previous work – technical skillset, research interests and goals – explain why you are interested in the position, and why you feel qualified for it – list of publications as well as the name and contact information of two references.

The position is guaranteed for a year to come with a possibility to extend. The position comes with competitive remuneration determined based on research achievements, experience, and qualifications of the applicant. Applications will be processed as they arrive until the position is filled. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.


Postdoc Positions – Variable Stiffness Robotics (Research, News)

The ARC Lab at the Vanderbilt University invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the area of Variable Stiffness Robotics to develop a new Human Augmentation Technology. Candidates with strong interest in the application to variable stiffness devices for human assistance and performance augmentation are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will play a key role in developing new variable stiffness spring actuators for robot locomotion, and variable stiffness exoskeleton devices for human performance augmentation.

Applications, assembled into a single PDF file, should contain a CV, short cover letter including your background – examples of relevant previous work – technical skillset, research interests and goals – explain why you are interested in the position, and why you feel qualified for it – list of publications as well as the name and contact information of two references.

The position is guaranteed for a year to come with a possibility to extend. The position comes with competitive remuneration determined based on research achievements, experience, and qualifications of the applicant. Applications will be processed as they arrive until the position is filled. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.


Research Opportunity for Undergraduate Students

  • We are excited to involve Undergraduate and Master’s students in our research projects. Please check out our guidelines to apply for a research position and the expectations to work with us on research problems HERE. Participating in one of our project may be a valuable experience before you apply for an industry job or before you apply for a grad school.
  • If you are interested in ROBOTS, and would like to work on research projects that involve, sensors, motors, mechanical design, electronics, then you may consider working on our LEARNING ROBOTS. Exploring this opportunity is easy, you can register your interest, select the work you would like to do on the robot, and provide information about your expertise by sending an email to Prof. Braun (david.braun[@]vanderbilt.edu):
    • Subject Line: Learning Robot
    • Body of the Email:
      • What you want to work on? Hardware, Software
      • Which body part you want to work on? Head, Torso, Joints, Limbs, Foot
      • What interest you? Motors, Sensing, Batteries, Electronics
      • Are you interesting in writing software to control the robot? Yes, No
    • Attachment: CV (include GPA and prior research experience)

Basic tools used in academic research: (1) MATLAB (solving equations), (2) Mathematica (deriving models), (3) LaTeX (preparing reports and papers), (4) Adobe Illustrator (preparing figures) Photoshop (editing photos), Premiere (preparing videos), (5) SolidWorks (creating designs).