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Job posted by K.U.Leuven - Mechanical Engineering (13/06/2013 16.26)

Marie Curie Actions funded job vacancy KU Leuven TEMPO ESR position on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) for Mechatronic Systems (industrial robot manipulators)

The ESR’s research focus is on the design, implementation, and experimental validation of Nonlinear Model Predictive controllers for nonlinear mechatronic systems such as a 6DOF industrial robot manipulator and an overhead crane, considering optimal trade-off between conflicting requirements such as energy efficiency, time-optimality, positioning and tracking accuracy. The main challenges in this research are (i) the kHz sampling rates required for these applications, (ii) the implementation of NMPC algorithms within the existing open controllers of the overhead-crane and industrial robot that are available at KU Leuven, (iii) developing, implementing and optimizing NMPC as a reference and feedforward generator for the traditional joint position controllers, and (iv) developing, implementing and optimizing NMPC at joint torque level, fully controlling the 6DOF robot.


TEMPO (Training in Embedded Predictive Control and Optimization) is Initial Training Network (ITN) Nr. 607957, funded under the FP7 Marie Curie programme of the European Commission. Duration: February 1, 2014 - January 31, 2018.TEMPO is an international PhD program for highly motivated young scientists, where state-of-the-art research is combined with a comprehensive training program. The network is funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework program. TEMPO addresses the needs of European companies and society for embedded control technology, through training on cutting edge research in the rapidly emerging inter-disciplinary field of embedded predictive control and optimization. The key objectives are:- to expand the scientific and technical knowledge platform for Embedded Predictive Control and Optimization in Europe;- to exploit this platform to train a new generation of world class researchers and professionals that are highly attractive for employment by the European industry;- to establish structures for long-term cooperation and strengthen the relations among the leading universities and industry in Europe in this field, to continuously develop the research training platform that European industry relies on.Ten partners from academia and industry, as well as three associated partners will provide a multi-national and interdisciplinary training infrastructure, designed to equip the participating fellows with the necessary knowledge and set of tools to pursue successful careers.

The research activities will mainly be carried out at the division PMA of the department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium ( in cooperation with the KU Leuven Optimization in Engineering Center OPTEC ( and combined with visits to other members of the network. The MECO research team focusses on modeling, estimation, identification, analysis and optimal control of motion and motion systems such as mechatronic systems, machine tools. It combines theoretical contributions (development of design methodologies) with experimental knowhow (implementation and experimental validation on lab-scale as well as industrial setups).

Nr of positions available : 1

Research Fields

Engineering - Mechanical engineering

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

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Required Education Level
Degree Master Degree or equivalent
Degree Field Engineering
Required Languages
Language ENGLISH
Language Level Excellent
Additional Requirements
Anideal candidate has a master degree in engineering (mechanical, control ...)and a strong background in control and dynamic system modelling, robotics, numericaloptimization, programming (Matlab, C/C++), a strong interest and experience inwork on real-world experiments, and enthusiasm for the project. Proficiency inEnglish is a requirement. Applicants whose mother tongue is neither Dutch norEnglish must present an official language test report. The acceptable tests are TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or CambridgeCertificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:
TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 100(internet-based test)
IELTS: 7 (only Academic IELTStest accepted)
CAE/CPE: grade B or A.
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K.U.Leuven - Mechanical Engineering



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Celestijnenlaan 300B 3001 Heverlee

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K.U.Leuven - Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering
Celestijnenlaan 300B 3001 Heverlee
- Heverlee
email bert.pluymers@mech.kuleuven.be