Postdoc in robotic 3D printing with novel architectural bio-materials

In our new research project, funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, featuring a unique partnership bridging three disciplines: architecture, biology and chemistry, we will seek to lay the foundation for a next generation of front-line material and digital solutions for circular architectural renovation, encompassing robotic 3D printing with a new material from renewable biomass.

This postdoctoral position will allow you to contribute to this challenging and exciting research agenda. You will be given a unique opportunity to collaborate in an interdisciplinary research setting and access exclusive experimental lab infrastructures of the three Chalmers departments involved: Architecture and Civil Engineering, Biology and Biological Engineering, and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

If you are interested in widening your scope on robotic 3D printing with novel bio-materials for cutting-edge architectural applications, enjoying teamwork and collaboration across disciplines, like to combine theory with laboratory experiments, are curious about the details and persistent in achieving your set goals, we can offer you this postdoctoral position.

Project description
The project is based on a unique knowledge synergy between the fields of architecture, biotechnology and materials science. It addresses the need for a deeper understanding and establishment of new design and fabrication solutions involving novel biobased materials, to achieve global goals of more green and circular architectural design and construction.

The successful candidate will carry out their work under the scientific mentorship of an experienced leadership team. Your main scientific mentor for the project is the project's leader Malgorzata Zboinska (associate professor in digital architectural design and fabrication). For aspects of materials science, relating to biomaterial development, you will be supported by mentors and project co-leaders Cecilia Geijer (associate professor in biology and biological engineering) and Tiina Nypelö (associate professor in chemistry and chemical engineering). You will also work with a small team of MSc students from the three involved disciplines.

Information about the division and the department
The Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, hosting the project, has its own facility for experimental architectural prototyping, the Robotic Fabrication Laboratory, which will be the hub of our research activity in the project. In addition, the experimental lab facilities of the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering will be paramount environments in which the postdoctoral researcher will investigate specific aspects related to establishing, analyzing and producing the new material formulations for architectural prototyping experiments.

Major responsibilities
Your main responsibilities will be to plan, drive and carry out your research tasks as part of the project's research agenda. The position will require tight interaction with scientific and industrial partners of the project. Research communication, through channels such as co-authored research articles, industry papers and exhibitions of prototypes, will also be a part of your assignment.

Your specific tasks involve a combination of digital reconstruction and 3D scanning of existing architectural components, parametric 3D modeling work and machine toolpath design via the visual programming environment Grasshopper and custom Python programming. The work includes developing and working with biopolymer suspension formulations, experimental trials with differently composed material recipes, quantitative data gathering and analysis, robotically assisted prototyping, and the development of software as well as hardware such as robot end-effectors needed for prototyping experiments with the new material.

The postdoctoral researcher is expected to conduct the preparation of the new biomaterial formulae with the master students from the involved disciplines, to design, evaluate and refine the digital workflows and instrumentation essential for the conduct of prototyping experiments with the developed material formulae, plan and conduct the material experiments and architectural prototyping rounds. If possible, the prototyping will embrace both work with 3D scanning and renovation performed on existing building components, as well as the production of standalone, second-skin architectural panels for renovation. The achieved results will be demonstrated and communicated to our industrial partners through exhibitions, workshops and other means of accessible communication.

The selected postdoc is expected to develop own ideas and be able to tackle complex material and prototyping issues independently, with guidance from the scientific mentors, while collaborating with the master students in architecture, biotechnology and chemistry, who will join our team in more basic phases of the experimental work.

A PhD (or close to completion) in architecture, materials science, engineering or other relevant field, with specialization in robotic additive manufacturing, preferably involving bio-based materials, qualifies you for this position. Accordingly, experience and skills in software Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper, Python programming, industrial robot programming, robot end-effector development are necessary to possess. Experience with machine vision and sensor-based systems, deployed in robotic fabrication systems will be extra merits. Hands-on experience from working in the chemistry or biology lab is highly meritorious. Evidence of being accustomed to laboratory work involving the preparation of material formulae and robotically assisted architectural prototyping are considered as important assets. Finally, genuine curiosity in the subject matter (as for example attested by the participation and presentations in conferences or exhibitions of research prototypes) and excellent verbal and written communication skills in English are a necessity.

To qualify for the position of postdoc, your doctoral degree should preferably not have been awarded more than three years prior to the application deadline (according to the current agreement with the Swedish Agency for Government Employers). You are expected to be somewhat accustomed to teaching, and to demonstrate good potential within research and education.

The working time of the postdoc will be mainly devoted to research. Undergraduate teaching duties, not exceeding 20% of the working time, will include the supervision of MSc students contributing to the research project. The appointment is a full-time employment (not a scholarship) for a limited period of not more than two years (1+1). The anticipated start of the position is March 2023, with some margin for negotiation possible, but with a start not later than in mid-August 2023.

Contract terms
This postdoc position is a full-time temporary employment for two years.

We offer

Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg
Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with Ref 20220687 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV: (Please name the document as: CV, Surname, Ref. number) including:
• CV, include complete list of publications
• Previous teaching and pedagogical experiences
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous research fields and main research results
• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:
• Attested copies of completed education, grades and other certificates.

Use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form.

Application deadline: 3 February, 2023

For questions, please contact:
Associate Professor Malgorzata Zboinska, Dept. of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Associate Professor Cecilia Geijer, Dept. of Biology and Biological Engineering

Associate Professor Tiina Nypelö, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. *** 

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!


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