TU Delft

Assistant Professor or Associate Professor Bio-inspired Micro Air Vehicles

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Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

Functie omschrijving

Flying animals are currently capable of feats that make drones look hopelessly bleak. Birds demonstrate power-efficient flight combined with remarkable maneuverability, achieved by multiple-degree-of-freedom control (subtle wing motion adjustments, wing morphing, tail deflections, changes of body posture, …). Fruitflies are able to fly, navigate, avoid obstacles and predators, find food and shelter, learn, and interact socially with other fruit flies, all with a brain that consists of only ~100,000 neurons.

The assistant professor position will focus on achieving similar capabilities with artificial, bio-inspired Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The position may be geared towards the design and low-level control of such MAVs. Research could then for example focus on the design and control of novel, bio-inspired vehicles, and their sensing, control, and actuation. One challenge here lies in the high sensory input dimensionality (think of distributed airflow sensors integrated with the MAV’s wing) and high degree of freedom actuation (e.g., morphing wings). These pose a significant challenge to current sensing and control algorithms and require fundamental new approaches to low-level, distributed sensor fusion and control. However, the position may also be geared more towards the bio-inspired intelligence behind the successes of flying animals such as flying insects and birds. In that case, a focus may be on bio-inspired navigation and control skills of flying MAVs.

You will be expected to:

  • develop courses and conduct teaching at undergraduate and post-graduate levels

  • perform top-quality research in fields such as (Bio-inspired) Robotics, Aerospace, Control, or Artificial Intelligence

  • establish and execute an externally funded research programme

  • interact and collaborate with other researchers and specialists in academia and/ or industry

  • be an inspiring member of our staff and have excellent communication skills

The selected candidate will be employed in the section Control and Simulation (C&S) in the Faculty of Aerospace of Delft University of Technology.
Delft University of Technology is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive university of technology in the Netherlands and an establishment of significant international standing. The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering is one of the largest in the world, with a unique technical infrastructure including an aircraft and wind tunnels. The candidate will be associated to the Micro Air Vehicle lab (MAVLab: http://mavlab.tudelft.nl/). This lab brings together knowledge and experience in many fields including MAV flight dynamics and control, aerodynamics, electronics, and artificial intelligence. The lab includes all the machines necessary for going from the design of a novel MAV to its realization, including 3D printers, milling machines, wire cutters, etc. Furthermore, the lab runs the “Cyberzoo” facility, a 10x10x7m motion tracking arena, and has the possibility for outdoor testing in various test locations.

Functie eisen

We expect the candidate to have:

  • a PhD degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Control Systems Theory, or a related discipline and several years of post-doctoral experience

  • excellent track record in scientific research, as evidenced by publications in academic journals

  • experience in the acquisition of external funding and an entrepreneurial mindset

  • ability to work with others in a team

  • proven ability to provide inspiring teaching in English

It is desired for the candidate to have experience in designing / working with robotic systems, (embedded) programming and software development.


A tenure-track position is offered for six years. In the fifth year we’ll decide if you will be offered a permanent faculty position, based on performance indicators agreed upon at the start of the appointment. We expect that you have the potential to grow towards an Associate Professor and/or Full Professor role in the future.

Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. We expect you to obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) within three years if you have less than five years of teaching experience. This is provided by the TU Delft UTQ programme.
TU Delft sets high standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency. If you do not speak Dutch, we offer courses to learn the Dutch language within three years.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

Informeren en solliciteren

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Guido de Croon, Full Professor, email: g.c.h.e.decroon@tudelft.nl, tel: 0031152781402, mentioning vacancy number TUD00284 in the subject.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Bertine Markus, Management assistant, email: b.m.markus@tudelft.nl.

If you are interested, please send a mail to b.m.markus@tudelft.nl before September 1, 2020, with:

  • A motivation letter

  • CV

  • Three reference letters

When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number TUD00284.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the application procedure.

Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

Uren per week: 38.0 uur per week

Salaris: € 3.746,- tot € 5.127,- per maand


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