Women in Engineering Forum

Women in engineering and their contribution to robotics: still unexploited potential?

Date & Time: Oct. 24, 10:00AM -12:00AM

Organizers: Cecilia Laschi (NUS), Yukie Nagai (U. Tokyo)

Short message ????????????

Cecilia’s options


Recalling the 35th anniversary of IROS:

35 years of women in robotics and intelligent systems: what did we learn?

Our first 35 years – growth and perspectives for the IROS women community

Celebrating the women robotics community at/in IROS

More general for WiE:

Women in engineering and their contribution to robotics: still unexploited potential?

Growth and perspectives of women contribution to robotics

A provokative one:

Robotics is for all, but women do it better.


Takako Hashimoto

Chiba University of Commerce, IEEE Japan Council Chair

Women and men working hand in hand to realize together an equal and happier society in which diverse people can vibrantly participate.

Takako Hashimoto graduated from the Ochanomizu University in Japan, and received a Ph.D. in computer science, specialization in multimedia information processing, from the Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering of University of Tsukuba in 2005. She worked at the software R&D center of Ricoh Co. Ltd., in Japan for 24 years, and participated in the development of many software products as a technical leader. From April of 2009, she was involved in Chiba University of Commerce. In 2015, she stayed at University of California, Los Angeles as a visiting researcher. She is currently the Vice President and Professor of the faculty of Commerce and Economics at Chiba University of Commerce. She has focused on the data mining research and the social media analysis, especially topic extraction from millions of tweets related to disasters and topical problems like COVID-19. She is served as a Board Member of the Database Society of Japan, Chair of IEEE Japan Council, and BoG of IEEE Computer Society and has served as the Past Chair of IEEE Women in Engineering (2015-16). In 2019, she received the IEEE 2019 MGA Larry K. Wilson Transnational Award, and Fellow of the Information Processing Society of Japan.


Kanako Harada

University of Tokyo

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Kanako Harada is Associate Professor of the Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine (CDBIM), Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Japan, and she also belongs to the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering. She serves as a Project Manager for one of the national flagship projects “Moonshot” by the Cabinet Office. She obtained her M.Sc. in Engineering from The University of Tokyo in 2001, and her Ph.D. in Engineering from Waseda University in 2007. She worked for Hitachi Ltd., Japan Association for the Advancement of Medical Equipment, and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy, before

joining The University of Tokyo. She also served as a Program Manager for the ImPACT program of the Cabinet Office (2016 – 2019). Her research interests include surgical robotic systems, automation of robots for medical applications, skills assessment, patient models, virtual-reality simulators, and regulatory science.

Yu Jun Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Stop feeling like an impostor, we all (including women) can contribute to STEM.


Asst. Prof. Tan Yu Jun received her B.Eng. and Ph.D. from the Nanyang Technological University where her research focused on additive manufacturing and biomaterials. She continued her research as a postdoctoral fellow, focusing on stretchable and self-healing electronics. Dr. YJ Tan’s research interests include manufacturing technologies and functional materials (self-healing materials, electronic materials, biomaterials) to develop soft machines. She has authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles including Nature Materials, Nature Electronics, Nature Communications, Science Robotics and Advanced Materials. She is a recipient of the MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35” Asia Pacific 2021 (Pioneer), MRS postdoctoral award, and multiple Best Poster Awards and Best Paper Awards in international conferences.

Jamie Paik

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)


Engineers hold ethical and professional obligations to paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. The demographic of this public cannot afford to be exclusive as every event impacts everyone. The “Women in Engineering” responds to the true inclusivity in the body of engineers to promote a harmonious and sustainable future for everyone.

Prof. Jamie Paik is director and founder of Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL) of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and a core member of Swiss National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics consortium. RRL’s research leverages expertise in multi-material fabrication and smart material actuation toward unique robotic platforms. At Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, she started developing unconventional robots that push the physical limits of material and mechanisms. Her latest research effort is in soft robotics and self-morphing Robogami (robotic origami). Robogami transforms autonomously its planar shape to 2D or 3D by folding in predefined patterns and sequences, just like the paper art, origami. Soft material robots and robogamis are designed to be interactive with the users and their environments through both innate and active reconfigurations. Such characteristics of the RRL’s robots have direct applications in medical, automobile, space, and wearable robots. While this novel technology has been published in multiple academic journals such as in Soft Robotics Journal, IEEE Transactions in Robotics, Nature, and Science, RRL’s spin-off, Foldaway-Haptics, has pushed the boundaries of the industrial applications of these robots as seen in TED conference 2019. The latest robogami is part of Mercedez’s 2020 concept car, Avatar, presented during CES 2020.

Conception A. Monje Micharet

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Women engineers are needed as role models to inspire more girls to study STEM disciplines and foster a new generation of technical professionals.

Ph.D. Degree in Industrial Engineering (2006) from the University of Extremadura, Spain, awarded with the European Doctorate Distinction and the Doctorate Extraordinary Award. She joined the University Carlos III of Madrid (2006), Spain, as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation, where she is currently an Associate Professor.

She has been working on the area of control and robotics for over 20 years. She did two research stays with the CRONE team from the ENSEIRB (Bordeaux, France) (2003-2004), publishing several works related to the tuning of fractional order controllers and co-organizing the conference FDA’06. She has also collaborated with the Electrical, Electronic, Automatic and Communications Engineering Department of the Technic High School of Industrial Engineers of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (research stay in 2005), where she worked on the application of fractional order controllers to the control of flexible manipulators. Her collaborations in this field also extend to the Center for Self-Organizing and Intelligent System (CSOIS) of the Utah State University, in USA, where she did a research stay (2005) and was invited to deliver a research lecture to Ph.D. students and a joint public lecture to members of the IEEE Control Systems Society San Diego Section. She has also collaborated with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) (research stay in 2015) and the Biorobotics Institute of Pisa (Italy) (research stay in 2019-2020) on the control of soft robotic links, giving several talks and publishing high impact research papers on this field.

She has participated in 10 European projects (1 PI), 9 national projects (2 PI), 8 regional projects and 21 contracts with companies (14 PI).  She has published more than 130 research papers in high impact conferences and journals on control and robotics, with more than 5190 cites, h-index 23.  She also received two Best Paper Awards in Control Engineering Practice (2008) and International Journal of Humanoid Robotics (2020).

She has been member of Organizing Committees of international conferences (IROS 2018, HUMANOIDS 2014, etc), Scientific and Technical Program Committees (CLAWAR 2017-2020, FSS 2017, IEEE ASME MESA 2007-2011, etc), Workshop organizer in international conferences (IROS 2018-2021, CLAWAR 2016, Robocity 2015-2016, etc), Editorial Board in international journals (ISA Transactions, Frontiers in Robotics and AI, IJMERR, Robotics, IJARS, IJHR) and Senior and Associate Editor in international conferences (ICRA 2022, IROS 2018-2020, Humanoids 2014, CCDC 2008-2020). Reviewer of more 30+ international journals and conferences (ISA Transactions, IEEE Transactions on Education, IROS, ICRA, CLAWAR, etc), she has also been invited as a speaker in international conferences (TEDx talks, IEEE Control System Society, IFAC FDA, etc).

She is currently Expert Evaluator of the European Commission for Horizon Europe Program and National Research Evaluator of the Spanish Ministry of Competitiveness and Industry. She is Deputy Director of Promotion and Dissemination of the UC3M School of Engineering, with 100+ collaboration with relevant media.

Other awards: Gigante Extremeño (2019); Ada Byron a la Mujer Tecnóloga de la Universidad de Deusto (2019); Excelencia Investigadora de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (2018); Mujer y Tecnología de la Fundación Orange (2018); Mejor Científica Contemporánea – QUO-CSIC (2017).

Marwa ElDiwiny

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

You should be judged by how passionate you are, not judged for being a woman or being different. We always hope to create inclusive opportunities for all passionate women from diverse backgrounds. It is so crucial for the younger generation to relate and  see themselves represented in the robotics community.

Marwa ElDiwiny is the host and founder of IEEE Soft Robotics podcast, she interviews guests from both academia and industry to discuss their latest research besides highlighting the soft robotics challenges in the academic and industrial worlds. In Oct 2020, she was named one of 30 in robotics you should in 2020 by Robohub. In 2016, she was one of 90 women from 13 countries to be a Techwomen Fellow at Google[x] currently named Waymo, which was a life changing experience for her. She is currently an early stage researcher PhD working on modeling and simulating tough and soft materials for industrial applications at VUB.


Daniela Rus

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Hong Qiao

Chinese Academy of Science

Women are the indispensable backbone of engineering


Hong Qiao is a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of Management and Control for Complex Systems, the group leader of Robotic Theory and Application (with more than 50 researchers) in the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She is Winner of National Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholar, IEEE Fellow, IEEE Awards Board Member (2020-2021), IEEE Fellow Committee Member (2022), IEEE RAS Fellow Nomination Committee Member (2022) and IEEE RAS AdCom Member (2014-2019). Prof. Qiao has made excellent contributions to interdisciplinary research between robotics and multiple disciplines and also among different directions in robotic area. She is an internationally-recognized and highly-cited pioneer researcher in high-precision robotic manipulation and biologically-inspired robotic cognition and manipulation.

Her contributions are evidenced by more than 320 international journal and conference papers (179 SCI Indexed), and 50 patents. Her theory of “Attractive Region in Environment (ARIE)” —reported as “Qiao’s Concept” —has been widely applied in industrial robots in China. She was awarded Second Prize of the National Natural Science Award (the highest fundamental research award in China) in 2014. She also serves as AEs of 6 IEEE Transactions and Editor-in-chief of Assembly Automation (SCI).