DFG Priority Programme on Soft Material Robotic Systems Issues New Call for Proposals

Three-year research grants for interdisciplinary projects dedicated to advancing soft material robotic systems.

Following a successful initial research phase, the DFG Priority Programme ‘Soft Material Robotic Systems’ (SPP 2100) is now inviting proposals for its second three-year funding period.

The Priority Programme seeks to reveal the advantage of the shift from stiff to soft robot designs in an interdisciplinary context. It is designed to help harness the power of the soft paradigm and make it accessible, thereby leading to the development of more flexible and adaptable robotic systems.

The programme comprises five core research areas, in which the transition from stiff to soft robot designs is to be explored:

  • Material engineering
  • Design and fabrication
  • Soft actuators and sensors
  • Modelling and simulation
  • Morphological computation and control

The focus of the second funding period is on research that specifies the benefits of soft material systems in contrast to traditional systems and highlighting the intrinsic compliance of the materials and the additional integrated functionalities such as actuation, sensing and morphing capabilities.

Projects must address the opportunities arising from the use of soft materials with reference to the following areas:

  • Active and passive adaptability
  • Whole-body deformation and dexterity
  • Complexity reduction by exploiting morphological computation
  • Functional integration/fusion of soft robotic systems approaches
  • Control improvement in actuation/sensor integration
  • Human-robot interaction

The programme is dedicated to interdisciplinary research that brings together experts from engineering, computer science, materials science, natural sciences and biomechanics.

Eligible to apply are researchers who work in Germany, or at a German research institution abroad, and who have completed their academic training (usually with a doctorate). In justified cases, the participation of researchers based outside Germany is also possible.

Funding is available for a period of three years and covers project-related costs such as personnel, materials and instrumentation.

Proposals for the second three-year funding period must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system elan.

The deadline for the submission of research proposals is 30 August 2021.