Equal Opportunities

Gender Equality through equal opportunities: Valeria Santillán Lesseur visits the SPP2100

In a bold stride towards inclusivity, a young female researcher from Mexico secures a prestigious internship sponsored by the DFG Priority Program 2100. Join Valeria Santillán Lesseur on her journey as she delves into the realm of soft robotics at Saarland University in Saarbrücken. Guided by the APS team, she spearheads a groundbreaking project on self-sensing control of dielectric elastomer-driven manipulators. With enthusiasm brimming, Valeria shares her anticipation: "I'm honored to contribute to such an innovative field!"

Valeria Santillán, the winner of the SPP Internship 2024.

As part of a proactive move towards fostering diversity and genderequality in the field of soft robotics, a talented young female researcher from Mexico has been awarded and Intership founded by the DFG Priority Program 2100. The SPP2100 program will support Valeria Santillán Lesseur as she embarks on a six-month research visit with the Adaptive Polymer System (APS) group at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken. She will be working on the project „Self-sensing estimation and sensorless control of threedimensional Dielectric Elastomer-driven soft robotic manipulators“ under the supervision of M. Sc. Giovanni Soleti. The APS team focuses on developing intelligent actuator and sensor systems using smart materials like shape memory alloys and dielectric elastomers. In their research, they emphasize the importance of intelligent algorithms by translating these systems into real-world applications. The group's research encompasses mathematical modeling, simulation tools, and control algorithms, aiming to bridge the gap between theory and practice and unlock the full potential of smart materials for the next generation of intelligent mechatronic systems. Their research and teaching activities cover areas such as modeling, motion control, sensorless methods, real-time algorithm implementation, continuous and soft robots.


When asked how she feels about this achievement, Valeria answered:

„I'm thrilled and grateful for the opportunity. It's an honor to immerse myself in such an innovative and promising field. I'm eager to learn and contribute to the advancement of soft robotics!“


Initiatives such as this one represent important steps forward in the ongoing push for gender equality in the scientific community. A fully paid internship not only ensures a researchers dedication to scientific work but also offers opportunities for networking and gaining new insights, which can be beneficial for future career paths. As we witness the transformative impact of initiatives like these, we move one step closer to a future where scientific breakthroughs emerge from diverse perspectives, creating a more vibrant and inclusive scientific landscape.


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