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Research Associate in Mechatronics

Durham University
Durham, United Kingdom
£37,099 - £44,263 per annum

The Role

As the world's most successful pollinators, bees play a huge part in every aspect of the ecosystem. Any decline in bee populations could pose a threat to global agriculture. In this context, the EU-funded Sensorbees project is developing and combining micro-robotic, biological and machine learning technologies into a system that can support the well-being of the honeybee colonies. Specifically, the micro-robotic system will operate inside of the honeybee hive. For instance, this multi-robot system will visually inspect comb cells and will interact with the content with its micro tools.

The successful applicant will be responsible for mechanical design, programming and developing controllers, as well as implementation and testing the robotic system and its appropriate frameworks. Therefore, the main task is the mechatronics design of the actuators and monitoring agent. The second important task will be the low-level programming. You will focus on development of compact circuits and electronics for new types of complex bio-hybrid (insect-robot) entities.

We anticipate it will necessitate close working with our European partners. You will not be constrained to using any available hardware and algorithm or approaches, and instead will have a creative approach to problem solving, exploring multiple potential techniques. Ideas will be verified on software systems (e.g. SOLIDWORKS, MATLAB, etc) and with real world tests inside of honeybees' hive, and so, you will be willing to get involved in experimental work for real-world verification with biologists.

The project is an EU-H2020-FET funded collaboration between the University of Durham in the UK, the University of Graz in Austria, Czech Technical University in Prague, and Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy. This role will involve close working with external partners. You will be expected to visit all of these institutions in the course of your work and will be based in the Biohybrid Robotics Lab at the Department of Computer Science, Durham University.

This post is fixed term for 24 months.

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