I am Cosimo Della Santina (Della Santina is the surname!). I am Assistant Professor at CoR department, TU Delft. I am also a researcher at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Lecturer at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), both in Munich, Germany.

To discuss about opportunities, collaborations, research (yours, mine, or someone else's) the easiest is to send an email (see below).


My current main interest is in building the body (model based design, sensors, actuators) and the brain (control, perception, learning, planning) of Soft Robots of both articulated and continuum kinds.

In case you wonder what a Soft Robot actually is, we attempted to provide a general definition in THIS paper.

You can find HERE my (reasonably up-to-date) CV with publications.

I am also interested in
Geometrical Deep Learning for Mechanical Systems,Theory of Nonlinear Oscillations,Robotic Hands, and Prostheses,Manipulation of Soft/Flexible Objects,Modelling of Human Motor Control,Control of Rigid Robots,Control of Pandemics (started with THIS CoVid - 19 control paper).

Some recent publications:
... coming soon ...
Recent and upcoming talks and other activities:
... coming soon ...

Theses, internships, and
other visiting opportunities

I am always open to discuss about supervising students and hosting visiting researchers (e.g. PhD students, internships).

You can send me an email (see homepage) and we can discuss about possible opportunities.

Rules of Engagement

When you contact me, please
Include as attachment the list of your exams with grades, and your CVlet me know if you are a theoretical-minded person or if you are good with your hands,provide examples of previous projects proving your skills in one direction or the other,use some informative subject something like "Application for MSc Thesis @ TU Delft", or "Application for Internship @ DLR", or ...extra general informations on your background and your interests are also welcomed.


We have multiple Internships and theses available at TU Delft and DLR (German Aerospace Center, Munich). If you are excited about our research activities (see research page), you can reach us to us through email.

Opportunities at DLR are about nonlinear oscillations, robot locomotion, control of rigid robots, full body manipulation, and soft robotics.

Open internships @TU Delft include but are not limited to:
Implementing a simulator for Continuum Soft Robots, also including high-fidelity rendering solution such as Unity,Design of an (articulated) soft gripper for a soft robot (this may work also as a thesis).
Open theses @TU Delft include but are not limited to :
Learning interactions in a few minutes: Multi-modal and Residual Deep (Reinforcement) Learning for Grasping, Manipulation, and Assembling (daily supervisor: Padmaja Kulkarni), see here for more details,Learning forward jumping strategies with an articulated soft quadruped with a priory knowledge of models (co-supervisor: Jens Kober),Iterative Learning Control in Functional Space with possible application in robotic locomotion/control continuum soft robot/... (theory, simulation, and experiments),(Deep) Learning Geometrically Consistent Averaging Operations for Mechanical Systems (a lot of theory, possible experimental validation),Evolutionary Algorithms and/or Hebbian Learning of Stable Networks of Mechanical Oscillators (Theory and simulations).
See also HERE for some some available topics. Note that this document is not super-updated. See the group page for some examples of ongoing and past theses/internships.


I was born in Pontedera, Italy, the 6th of October 1989.
I hold a Bachelor in Computer Engineering and a Master in Robotics and Control Theory from the University of Pisa.
I was PhD student at the University of Pisa and IIT (Advisors: Prof. Antonio Bicchi, Prof. Lucia Pallotino), visiting researcher and post doc at MIT-CSAIL (Advisor: Daniela Rus), and senior post doc at TUM (Advisor: Alin Albu-Schaeffer).
I am now Assistant Professor at CoR department, TU Delft. I am also a researcher at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Lecturer at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), both in Munich, Germany.


2021 Best Communication Paper Award at RoboSoft2021, with the paper Milana et al. "Model-Based Control Can Improve the Performance of Artificial Cilia".2020 EuRobotics Georges Giralt PhD Award for my PhD thesis work.2020 Best Reviewer Award at ICRA2020.2019 IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters Honorable Mention, with the paper Della Santina and Rus "Control Oriented Modeling of Soft Robots: The Polynomial Curvature Case"Finalist of 2019 European PhD Award on Control for Complex and Heterogeneous Systems for my PhD thesis work.2019 IEEE RAS Italian Chapter "Fabrizio Flacco" Young Author Best Paper Award with the paper Della Santina, et al. “Toward Dexterous Manipulation With Augmented Adaptive Synergies: The Pisa/IIT SoftHand 2” Transactions on Robotics.2017 Best Robotics Paper, Best Student Paper at ICMUT17, Both awarded to the paper Averta, Della Santina et al. "From Humans to Robots: the Role of Cutaneous Impairment in Human Environmental Constraint Exploitation to Inform the Design of Robotic Hands"2016 Robotic Grasping and manipulation Competition IROS2016, Hand-by-hand track.2015 Best Interactive Paper at Humanoids15, awarded to my first paper, Della Santina et al. "Dexterity augmentation on a synergistic hand: the Pisa/IIT SoftHand+".

Editorial Work

2020-ongoing Associate Editor IEEE RA-L2020-ongoing Associate Editor IEEE ICRA2021-ongoing Associate Editor IEEE/RSJ IROS2021-ongoing Associate Editor Frontiers in Soft Robotics2018-2020 Guest editor IJRR Sage, for a special issue on Control of Soft Robots2019-2021 Review Editor Frontiers in Soft Robotics...

Open Positions

You are welcome to contact me if you would like to discuss support for applications to PhD or postdoctoral Fellowships via external funding sources (e.g. CSC, Marie-Curie etc.). Please send a copy of your CV, and a short summary of research interests.

Currently actively looking into expressions of Interest for Marie Curie Individual Fellowships (PostDoc), expected to open the 27th of May.

Postdoc Soft robotics, data-driven automatic design, and biomechanics

Many tasks in industrial environments require repeating the same class of movements for hours. This is very demanding on the workers, and may result in mental and physical illness. Examples are packaging, assembly, and harvesting. Instead of substituting the human with a robot, we believe that a more convenient, cost-effective, and ethical solution is to augment workers. Our long-term vision is to enhance the human body through a Symbiotic Suit, which is worn to improve performance and reduce metabolic energy consumption while performing periodic tasks.

More informations can be found here.

Postdoc Articulated Soft Robots Control, Quadrupeds, Reinforcement Learning

Opening soonish



Luis Pablo Borja Rosales (TU Delft), working on nonlinear control of soft robots. Co-supervised with Azita Dabiri.

PhD students and PostDocs

Maximilian Stölzle (TU Delft), working on combining machine learning and model based strategies for controlling soft robots.Padmaja Kulkarni (TU Delft), working on manipulation of soft objects using Reinforcement Learning. Co-supervised with Jens Kober, and Robert Babuška.Davide Calzolari (TUM/DLR, mentoring), working on nonlinear control of complex mechanical systems, strict modes, and nonlinear modes. Main supervisor: Alin Albu-Schaeffer.Mathew Jose Pollayil (visiting PhD student @DLR)

Master Students and Interns

Current Interns:
Filip Bjelonic (from TUD), Internship@DLR, "Numerical Evaluation of Nonlinear Modes in Multi-Body Systems." Co-Supervised with: Arne Sachtler.
Current MSc students (at and from TU Delft if not differently specified):

Rick Elfferich, "Design of a Soft Gripper for Harvesting Small Fruits." Co-supervised with: Dimitra Dodou.Nidhin Sugunan, "Robust MPC for Soft Robots." Co-supervised with: Azita Dabiri.Pradeep Janakiraman, "Piecewise Polynomial Curvature models and control"Grace Lee, "Teleopration of the SoftHand 2."Lars Besselaar, "Manipulation of Soft Objects."Francesco Stella, "Stiffness control in Soft Robotics."Emanuele Rosi (from UniGenova), "Soft Robotic Proprioception through Vision and Models.''Sjoerd Drost (at the company Moba), "Handling eggs with a flexible arm." Co-Supervised with: Gerwin Smit.Willem Heeringa, MSc, "Sensorized grippers optimized for fast pick and place." Co-Supervised with: Gerwin Smit.

Past students:
Markus Wagner (from TU Munich), MSc@DLR, "Dynamic Locomotion of the Quadruped Bert using DCM Framework." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Johannes Englsberger, George Mesesan, Prof. Alin Albu-Scheffer.Luigi Bono Bonacchi (from Politecnico di Milano), MSc@DLR, "Repetitive control for efficient pick and place motions." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Maximo Roa.Yannik Wotte (from UTwente), Internship@DLR, "Numerical Evaluation of Nonlinear Modes in Multi-Body Systems." Co-Supervised with: Arne Sachtler.... Coming Soon ...