Research Engineer Position on Robots Learning Social Behaviour Through Machine Learning

Research Engineer Position on Robots Learning Social Behaviour Through Machine Learning

Published Deadline Location
8 Nov 30 Nov Enschede

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Job description

For the next 15 years, a greater demand for well-trained healthcare workers is expected. Yet, current trends identified by the World Health Organization indicate shortages of such workers. The use of mobile manipulation robots could help alleviate healthcare workers by taking on physically demanding and repetitive tasks. In the EU project Harmony, we are developing a robot which can operate within hospital laboratories and deliver test samples throughout the hospital. During its travels, the robot will need social capabilities in order to navigate these human-centred environments in an acceptable and safe manner.

We are seeking a research engineer for a full-time 6-month project on “Robots learning social behaviour through machine learning”, with the possibility of extending the contract on a part-time basis for another 6 months. The goal of this project is to develop a machine learning module that automatically learns what social behaviours are appropriate in certain contexts while navigating hospital hallways. This will involve running a data collection study, programming a social behaviour learning model using machine learning techniques, and training these models with the collected data and other datasets that are publicly available. The possible extension is for a different project in an agricultural context where we are studying how sensor data from agricultural sites can be translated to the farmers and consumers. The exact activities are to be defined further.

For this position, you will be responsible for:
  • Setting up and running a data collection study with a newly developed robot.
  • Design, implement, and train machine learning models that a robot can use to learn what social behaviours are appropriate for certain contexts.


University of Twente (UT)


  • You have, or will shortly acquire, a MSc degree in the field of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Creative Technology, or a closely related field.
  • You have experience designing and evaluating machine learning models, ideally using reinforcement learning techniques. For instance for your graduation project.
  • You can program in either C++ or Python.
  • Ideally, you have experience using ROS.
  • You are a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and creative programmer.
  • You have good team spirit and like to work in an internationally oriented environment where many cultures meet.
  • Fluency in English is required.

Conditions of employment

As a research engineer at the University of Twente, you will be appointed to a full-time position for six months within a very stimulating scientific environment;
  • The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues.
  • Salary and conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU).
  • The gross monthly salary amounts to a minimum of €3.226 and a maximum of €5.090 based on a 38-hour working week, depending on qualifications and the number of years of relevant work experience (salary scale 10).
  • Excellent benefits, including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8.3% and a solid pension scheme.
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities.
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other university staff.


You will be positioned in the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group of the University of Twente, the Netherlands, and you will be a part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary team. The HMI lab does research into multimodal interaction: from interactive playgrounds to social robots. It is a multidisciplinary group in which computer science meets social science to investigate and design and evaluate novel forms of human-computer interaction. In addition, the research engineer will be part of a larger European project called Harmony. This EU project aims to develop assistive robotic mobile manipulation technologies for use in hospital environments. The Harmony Consortium is a partnership made up of various entities: six university research departments, two hospitals, and two companies.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1519


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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