Research Engineer-Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering (153506)



Research Engineer – Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit


Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people of the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence. 

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) is part of two colleges at the University of Illinois, The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and The Grainger College of Engineering. This means our students are able to utilize resources and connect with faculty in both colleges.

This position will serve as a member of the FRESH lab and at the Illinois Autonomous Farm under the direction of Dr. Girish Chowdhary. The successful candidate will engage in training, support, and collaboration with postdocs and graduate students on active research projects.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Focus on advancing the basic understanding of soft robots design, fabrication and modeling, with a view to field robotics applications.
  • Design robotic equipment for manipulation of plants/shrubs or other objects in challenging environments.
  • Plan, conduct, execute and report advanced research in the science and engineering of flexible robots.
  • Enforce consistent research methodology among members of the research team, including helping guide graduate/undergraduate students.
  • Conduct independent research work.
  • Collaborate with other research groups in the IAF and AIFARMS.
  • Develop laboratory protocols for safe and effective operation.
  • Contribute towards raising external funding.
  • Assume additional related responsibilities to enhance the mission of the unit.

Position Requirements and Qualifications


Required: Ph.D. degree in robotics with 3-4 years of related work experience.



  • Demonstrated experience in grant writing.
  • Experience in publishing in archival robotic journals and conference proceedings like ICRA, RSS, IROS etc.
  • Experience working in collaboration with multiple research groups on a project.
  • Experience in guiding graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Demonstrated experience with laboratory and field safety protocols.


  • Demonstrated experience with the following.
  • Robot manipulation in unstructured environments.
  • Physics based modeling of flexible soft arms.
  • System integration of field robots.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Broad knowledge in at least one of these areas: soft robot design, system integration, physics-based modeling and control, field robotics.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and demonstrated ability to give presentations to large audiences. 
  • Excellent track record as a team player.
  • Demonstrated interest in working closely with students and contributing to research projects/proposals.


The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is highly ranked, with 20 tenure-track faculty members, approximately 325 undergraduate students in two majors, and 78 graduate students. The department is one of seven academic units within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and is also part of the Grainger College of Engineering (GCOE). As part of the land grant mission, the ABE department conducts mission-oriented research and outreach in strategic areas related to food, energy, water, and the environment. The department offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Technical Systems Management (TSM) and ABE. The undergraduate and graduate programs in TSM are administered through the College of ACES. The undergraduate program in ABE is administered through both the College of ACES and the GCOE; the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in ABE are administered through the GCOE.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus has a student enrollment of over 40,000, and nearly 2,000 faculty members. The Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering is the department home of the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory, but it also works very closely with the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition. We collaborate closely with Departments in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering, and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Our associated programs are widely recognized for their commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate programs, teaching, research, outreach, and international programs.

Urbana-Champaign is located approximately 120 miles South of Chicago in a vibrant and diverse community of 110,000 and is easy driving distance from St. Louis and Indianapolis. Our community offers the residential advantages of a medium-sized university, excellent cultural opportunities, and a high quality of life. 


This is a 100% full time, benefits-eligible professional position. The proposed starting date is as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.


To apply, create your candidate profile at and upload your cover letter, resume, and names/contact information for three references by November 29, 2021. For further information regarding application procedures, contact Samantha Hurt at or 217-300-8457.

University of Illinois faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordance with applicable University processes.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.  Convictions are not a bar to employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The administration, faculty and staff embrace diversity and are committed to attracting qualified candidates who also embrace and value diversity and inclusivity.


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