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Soft Robotics Lab

The Whole Group

Welcome to the Soft Robotics Lab

The research at Soft Robotics Lab explores how compliance in the robot body can be exploited for dealing with task and environment uncertainty and for interacting with humans. “Softness” offers higher safety, larger variability of movement and higher dexterity and shows the potential for building safer, cheaper and more intelligent autonomous robots than conventional robotics can achieve.

Taking inspiration from biological systems, which are able to survive in complex and unstructured environments thanks to the intrinsic compliance of their soft and flexible body, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms at the base of their high adaptability and in replicating them in robots for achieving intelligent behaviour. In particular the role of body morphology (i.e., form and structure), how biological systems use their body to control basic actions, and how intelligent behaviour emerges from the interaction between the body and the environment in which it is placed, constitute the foundation of the design of new soft actuators and sensors and new control strategies for the robot of the future.


We are recruiting!

PDRA Position

We are looking for a new PDRA to join us to work on the exciting project Embodied Intelligence from Sensing to Collaboration.

The position is a full-time Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Soft Robotics Lab, part of the Oxford Robotics Institute at the Department of Engineering Science (Oxford). The post is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is for a fixed duration of 22 months.

You will carry out fundamental research in soft robotics with a particular focus on the design of soft sensors and active perception. You will design and develop soft sensors for proprioceptive and exteroceptive sensing and you will develop robust approaches for soft active perception.

You should have a PhD/DPhil (or near completion) in robotics, mechatronics, computer vision, machine learning or closely related field. You have an excellent academic track record in topics relevant to robotics, tactile perception, soft sensing, soft actuators, control or related areas. You should have experience working on real robots and great team working skills. Informal enquiries may be addressed to Prof. Perla Maiolino (email:

Please apply here.


DPhil Position

We are looking for a new DPhil student to join our lab for the development of a soft robotic end-effector for complex manipulation tasks in confined spaces. This position stems from the collaboration of the University of Oxford with the British multinational energy company BP, which aims to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. To this end, robots receive much attention as they help drive operational efficiencies, empower the company's workforce and engage better with their customers. 

The position is a full-time DPhil student at Soft Robotics Lab, part of the Oxford Robotics Institute at the Department of Engineering Science (Oxford). The post comes with a 3.5-year scholarship open to both Home and International students, it will cover course fees at home or international rate and provide a stipend of no less than the standard UK Research Council rate (£17,668 per annum 23/24 academic year).

The candidate is expected to have excellent academic and commitment to developing soft robotics research. A first-class degree in engineering or computer science is desirable, but we will consider students from other backgrounds. Also, high degree of independence, excellent communication skills, and fluency in English are required.

To apply, please send your enquiries to the Principal Investigator of the lab, Prof. Perla Maiolino, at before noon on the 30th of June 2023.