Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna - The BioRobotics Institute

The Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA, is a public University whose missions are to perform excellence research through a number of highly qualified research institutes and to provide excellent education at graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels, in the field of applied sciences: Economics and Management, Law Sciences, Political Sciences, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology, Medical Sciences, and Industrial and Information Engineering. The BioRobotics Institute ( peculiarity is the capability to perform excellent research according to the standards of the scientific communities of robotics and biomedical engineering (i.e. high impact factor publications) and at the same time fostering the application and the exploitation of the research results (through patents), to the benefit of industry and of various communities of users. The BioRobotics Intitute has built and consolidated a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise from the previous ARTS and CRIM laboratories in the fields of Future and Emerging BioRobotics, Humanoid Robotics, Neuro-Robotics, Surgical Robotics, Micro-Robotics, Soft Robotics, Neural Engineering, Creative Design and Biomedical Signal Processing, as well as the know-how and advanced facilities to build components and robots at different scales (nano-, micro-, milli- and meter). A distinctive objective of the research and education activities of the BioRobotics Institute is to attract and educate young talents (males and also many females) to become competent, interdisciplinary, creative inventor and entrepreneur, able to manage new technological and scientific challenges, ready to take up new opportunities for society and industry, and acting as a linking bridge towards centres of knowledge worldwide.  The BioRobotics Institute is primarly located at the “Polo Sant'Anna Valdera”, in Pontedera, a research park specifically created to better house the research activities of SSSA and to favour technology transfer, with a surface of 6,300 m2 and important facilities for the design and (micro)fabrication of  robots, as well as for educational activities. The BioRobotics Institute has five additional laboratories distributed in the provinces of Pisa and Livorno, and has a vast network of international collaborations in Europe and strong scientific collaborations with universities in the US, Japan, South Korea, and China, in some cases supported by joint labs.

Our involvement in SMART-E: 

Two Early Stage Researchers (ESR) and one Experienced Researcher (ER) are based at SSSA:
- Yasmin Ansari (ESR2): Octopus based technologies for manipulation in manufacturing
- Syed Taimoor Hassan Shah (ESR12):Soft robotics and morphological computation
- ER2

SSSA is also responsible for Dissemination and Impact activities

Who we are: 

Research & ESR Supervision

Prof. Paolo Dario

Paolo Dario received his Dr. Eng. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1977. He is currently a Professor of Biomedical Robotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) in Pisa. He was the founder and Co-ordinator of the ARTS (Advanced Robotics Technology and Systems) Lab and of the CRIM (Center for the Research in Microengineering) Lab of SSSA, and he is now the Director of the BioRobotics Institute, where he supervises a team of about 150 researchers and Ph.D. students. He is the Director of Polo Sant’AnnaValdera, the research park of SSSA. In 2009-2011 he served as the Director of the Center for Micro-BioRobotics IIT@SSSA of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). He is and has been Visiting Professor at prestigious universities in Italy and abroad, like Brown University, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Waseda University, University of Tokyo, College de France, Zheijang University. His main research interests are in the fields of biorobotics, medical robotics, micro/nanoengineering. He is the coordinator of many national and European projects, the editor of special issues and books on the subject of biorobotics, and the author of more than 450 scientific papers (more than 200 on ISI journals).

Prof. Cecilia Laschi

Cecilia Laschi is Full Professor of Biorobotics at the the BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy, where she serves as Rector’s delegate to Research and PhD. She graduated in Computer Science at the University of Pisa in 1993 and received the Ph.D. in Robotics from the University of Genoa in 1998. In 2001-2002 she was JSPS visiting researcher at Waseda University in Tokyo. Her research interests are in the field of biorobotics and she is currently working on soft robotics, humanoid robotics, and neurodevelopmental engineering. She has been and currently is involved in many National and EU-funded projects, she was the coordinator of the ICT-FET OCTOPUS Integrating Project, leading to one of the first soft robots, and she coordinates the European Coordination Action on Soft Robotics RoboSoft. She has authored/co-authored more than 50 papers on ISI journals (over 200 in total), she is in the Editorial Board of Bioinspiration&Biomimetics, Frontiers in Bionics and Biomimetics, Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, Advanced Robotics. She is member of the IEEE, of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, and of the Robotics & Automation Society, where she served as elected AdCom member and currently is Co-Chair of the TC on Soft Robotics.

Dr. Matteo Cianchetti

Matteo Cianchetti received the MSc degree in Biomedical Engineering (cum laude) from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2007 and the PhD degree in Biorobotics (cum laude) from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. He is currently Assistant Professor with The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna where he leads the Soft Mechatronics for Biorobotics Lab. He has been and currently is involved in several EU-funded projects with the main focus on the development of Soft Robotics technologies. His main research interests include the study and development of new systems and technologies based on soft/flexible materials for soft actuators, smart compliant sensors and flexible mechanisms.


Dr. Laura Margheri

Laura Margheri received her Master Degree in Biomedical Engineering (with Honours) from the University of Pisa in July 2008 and her PhD in BioRobotics (with Honours) at The BioRobotics Institute (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna) in April 2012. She has a scientific and technological background mainly in the fields of biorobotics and biomimetics, soft robotics, marine robotics, and biology. She is currently Post Doc research assistant and Project Manager in the areas of soft robotics at the BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. She works for the management, the organization, planning and control of research and development activities, for the reporting of activities, the coordination of the consortium, and the public dissemination of project results. She has also experience in negotiations with funding agencies and companies, international cooperation, consultations, strategic planning, writing of texts for calls for proposals, evaluation of projects and papers. She has received an interdisciplinary education in robotics science and engineering, and she has worked and collaborated with biologists and roboticists, as well as with managers and politicians, acting also as a bridge between different disciplines and languages cultures. She has organized several international events in robotics (project meetings, workshops and special sessions at international conferences, exhibitions, Summer Schools). She is an active member of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society, in which she has been appointed as AdCom (Administrative Committee) Student Member in December 2011 and Chair of the Students Activities Committee in the 2012-2013 term. Since the beginning of 2014 she is the Chair of the Women In Engineering (WIE) Committee of the Robotics & Automation Society. She is also member of the Conference Activities Board and of the Members Activities Board in the same society, and she is member of the Soft Robotics Technical Committee Newsletter.


Contact us: 

Prof. Paolo Dario: paolo.dario[at]
Prof. Cecilia Laschi: cecilia.laschi[at]
Dr. Matteo Cianchetti: matteo.cianchetti[at]
Dr. Laura Margheri: laura.margheri[at]

Consortium Partner