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Gang Zheng, winner of the ULNE I-SITE's EXPAND call for projects

Gang Zheng - © Inria / Photo Kaksonen

Gang Zheng, a researcher with the Defrost* project team at the Inria Lille center, is one of the winners of the Université de Lille Nord Europe's I-SITE EXPAND 2017 call for projects. His soft robotics projects is among the eight EXPAND projects financed to up to €200k (including the recruitment of a PhD student). These calls for projects were launched with the support of the MEL (Métropole Européenne de Lille) and the collaboration of SATT Nord, the French technology transfer accelerator company.

ULNE I-SITE calls for projects

The ULNE I-SITE strives to reinforce (SUSTAIN) and spread (EXPAND) research and training excellence. The project is structured around three interconnected hubs that cover a wide spectrum of disciplines: 'Precision Human Health', 'Science for a Changing Planet' and 'Human-Friendly Digital World'. Internationalization and adding value are also at the heart of the ULNE I-SITE's priorities.

EXPAND Project

Among the different calls for projects proposed by the ULNE I-SITE, the EXPAND category rewards eight projects with up to €200k each in order to extend the scope of excellence.

Gang Zheng, Inria researcher with the Defrost project team, is a winner in the EXPAND category for his project:

« Project Title: Innovative tool for soft robot design and its application for surgery »

Soft robots are rightly able to adjust their shape and flexibility to suit the task in hand and their immediate environment. The design of such robot is currently based on nature, including the elephant’s trunk, the octopus, and the worm. Their potential use in surgery has been clearly identified. Up to now, numerical method exits only for the design of rigid robots. This project proposes an innovative tool to design the soft robots and check in advance all the functionalities (such as the controllability which indicates whether the designed robot can be controllable or not) before passing the fabrication phase. Having an idea to design a soft robot, by using the expected results developed in this project, the users can largely reduce the design duration. Also, the designed robot has been verified in advance, which guarantees the feasible functionalities of the final product. The development of such an innovative tool for soft robot design has absolutely huge interest and influence both for research and industries.

The I-SITE project

Certified I-SITE in February 2017 as part of the second wave of the Investments for the Future program, the Université Lille Nord-Europe (ULNE) project federates 14 founder members* with the aim oftransforming the research and training landscape in the Hauts-de-France region, by reinforcing and expanding its excellence. Its goal consists in creating a major international university, ranked in the top 50 in Europe within 10 years: the Université Lille Nord-Europe (ULNE).

Health, Planet and Digital World: the project is structured aroundthree interconnected themescovering awide spectrum of disciplines. Internationalization and adding value are also at the heart of its priorities.

* Université de Lille, Centrale Lille, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille, Institut Mines-Télécom de Lille-Douai, Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme, Sciences Po Lille, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Industries Textiles, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et du Paysage de Lille, Arts et Métiers Paristech, CNRS, Inserm, Inria, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille et Institut Pasteur de Lille.

*Defrost project-team is associated with Inria Lille – Nord Europe research center, Centrale Lille, l’Université de Lille – sciences et technologies, le CNRS. Au sein de l'UMR 9189 CNRS-Centrale Lille-Université de Lille − sciences et technologies, CRIStAL.

Keywords: I-SITE ULNE Defrost project-team Soft robotics