PhD position in Machine Learning for Mesh-based Representations of Robots and Deformable Objects in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Zurich, fixed-term

At the Soft Robotics Laboratory, we offer a doctoral position on the topic of real-time mesh-based reconstruction of deformable objects and robots from unstructured point clouds. This position at the Soft Robotics Laboratory (SRL) collaborates with the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) and the Computational Robotics Lab (CRL). In this collaboration, we develop an efficient, robust, and real-time mesh-based representation of articulated or deformable objects and robots, with material properties augmented in such a representation. Such a tool would greatly simplify the solution to complex downstream tasks such as real-time scene generation in moving cluttered environments or manipulation of articulated and/or deformable objects. We aim to release generalizable real-time points to mesh reconstruction framework that leads to a leap in performance improvements on existing grasping benchmark tasks as well as our own proposed manipulation benchmark challenges.

Project background

This doctoral position will focus mainly on the physics-based complex object simulation and data-driven point cloud to mesh reconstruction aspects, while the manipulation tasks will be aided by colleagues in SRL and CRL. Simulation to reality validation needs to be performed through experimental setups that the candidate should be able to design and use. A strong interest in working hands-on with robotic systems and validating simulations in the real world on robots and complex objects is desirable

Job description

As a PhD student, you will develop and publish new software frameworks and their real-world validation. You will regularly present your work at international robotics and machine learning conferences. Your responsibilities will also include supervising bachelor and master students in their thesis works, supporting the Soft Robotics Laboratory in teaching its graduate classes and preparing grant proposals.

Your profile

You are:

  • interested in the computer vision of robots for manipulation and are motivated to independently explore various research fields to combine their knowledge to achieve this goal.
  • a diligent worker driven to publish new insights and lead the research community forward by communicating your findings to a smaller community of researchers and a broader public audience.
  • curious about novel technologies, learning about different complex objects, and understanding their physical properties.

You persevere through:

  • challenges faced throughout the project and are able to quickly adapt when experiments do not deliver the desired results.

You have background knowledge in:

  • in object representations, computer graphics/vision, and physics-based simulation. Ideally, you have previously worked with robotics learning and (differentiable) simulations, with hands-on experience manipulating deformable objects, reconstructing mesh representations online, and matching with simulated and/or ground truth shapes.
  • Machine learning knowledge, especially in the field of deep learning for computer graphics, can be beneficial. Proficient communication skills in English are required.
  • computer science or engineering background, with BSc and MSc degrees or equivalent, in computer science, mechanical or electrical engineering, computational engineering, applied physics, or a related field. Your academic record is outstanding.


Your workplace
Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity, and attractive offers and benefits.

We value diversity
In line with , ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.
Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your application. Please submit the following application documents using ONLY the ETH online portal in a SINGLE merged PDF document, titled with your last name and initials as well as the application date (for example, 20230701_DoeJane_application) in the following order:

  1. Cover letter with a description of your research achievements and research interests
  2. Detailed CV
  3. Transcripts of all degrees (English)
  4. Names and contact information of at least three references
  5. Representative published research work (e.g., papers and thesis).

Further information about our group can be found on. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Federica Poltronieri, email (no applications).


About ETH Zürich
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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