Field of work

Professor Erik Kyrkjebø is a robotics researcher and scholar in engineering cybernetics. His research interests span from modelling and motion control of mechanical systems, with a particular interest in robotics and maritime vehicles, to student-active online learning methods in engineering. His current focus is on physical Human-Robot Interaction and Cooperation: How can we estimate human motions and intentions to aid in the physical cooperation with robots? How can we control the physical interaction between robots and humans to allow for role-switching between leaders and followers? How can the robot learn a cooperative behaviour in a physical human-robot interaction? He currently supervises three PhD-students on these subjects.

He is currently the PI of the 4.5 M€ Teknoløft Sogn og Fjordane-project financed by the Research Council of Norway and other partners. The project has the ambition to double the industry-relevant research activity in the region Sogn og Fjordane through building and strengthening the research groups in Robotics at HVL and Big Data at the partner Vestlandsforsking. He is also involved in other externally funded research project on collaborative robots for AGVs (CoBotAGV) and robotic handling of surgical instruments (FoT). He is currently the head of the research group on Robotics at HVL.

Professor Kyrkjebø is the author of more than 30 scientific papers on modelling, motion control, and reinforcement learning for robots and martitime vehicles. He has been the PI of several externally funded robotics projects at HVL, and was during his 10 years as a researcher, research leader and senior scientist at SINTEF the PI of numerous projects and proposal toghether with industry partners such as Statoil (now Equinor), ABB and Elkem, and participated in several international research projects.  

Selected information from his Curriculum Vitae:


  • 2007 PhD, Dept. of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU
  • 2000 Master/, Dept. of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU
  • 1998 Bachelor, Dept. of Control Engineering, Sogn og Fjordane University College (HiSF)

Current and previous positions:

  • 2024- Professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Norway
  • 2018-2024 Associate Professor, HVL, Norway
  • 2018-2019 Vice-Dean of Research, Faculty of Engineering and Science, HVL, Norway
  • 2011-2017 Vice-rector of R&D, HiSF/HVL 2009- Senior Research Scientist (adjunct position) Applied Cybernetics, SINTEF
  • 2011-2011 Dean, Dept. of Engineering and Science, HiSF
  • 2007-2011 Research Manager Motion Control, SINTEF
  • 2003-2006 PhD-scholar, NTNU
  • 2001-2003 Research Scientist, SINTEF


  • 2005-2005 Marie Curie Fellowship, CNRS, Paris, France (8 months)

Supervision of graduate students and research fellows:

  • 2023- Main supervisor for PhD candidate in System engineering for Future Rasperberry production systems in Western Norway
  • 2018- Main supervisor of two PhD candidates in physical Human-Robot Interaction at HVL
  • 2021- Co-supervising a PhD candidate on Deep Reinforcement Learning for Soft Robots
  • 2001-2016 Co-adviced 2 PhD-students and more than 20 Master Students, Dept. of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU, Norway

Member of committees:

  • 2022- Deputy member of PhD programme committee in Computer Science, HVL
  • 2018-2022 Member of PhD programme committee in Computer Science, HVL
  • 2018-2019 Head of the Committee on Research and Innovation at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, HVL
  • 2018-2019 Member of Research and Innovation Committee, HVL
  • 2018-2019 Member of the PhD committee, HVL
  • 2014 Served as 2nd opponent for the PhD-defence of Espen Oland, NTNU, Norway
  • 2014-2017 Head of the Committee on Research Ethics, SFUC/HVL, Norway.
  • 2011-2017 Head of the Committee on Research and Development, SFUC, Norway.

Commissions of trust:

  • 2024- Board member, Stiftinga Vestlandsforsking, Norway
  • 2020-2023 Board member, Stiftinga Vestlandsforsking, Norway
  • 2020-2023 Deputy board member, Regionalt forskingsfond, Vestland, Norway
  • 2018-2020 Deputy board member, Sogn og Fjordane Vitensenter, Norway
  • 2015-2020 Deputy board member, Stiftinga Vestlandsforsking, Norway
  • 2014-2017 Board member, IT-forum Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
  • 2013-2017 Board member, Sogn og Fjordane Science Park, Norway
  • 2014-2015 Deputy board member, Sogn Næring, Norway

Memberships of academic societies:

  • 2017- Member ACM
  • 2015- Member IEEE
  • 2003-2007 Member IEEE

Major industrial research and innovation projects:

  • 2023-2027 HVL Robotics Lab, Sparebankstiftinga Sogn og Fjordane, Head of research centre, 25 MNOK (2,5 M€)
  • 2023-2026 HVL, FutuRaPS – Future of Raspberry Production System in Western Norway, Research Council of Norway (RCN), Co-Investigator, 16 MNOK (1,6 M€)
  • 2022-2025 Nortura, DigiSpek – Digital and continuously learning dry cured sausage process, RCN, Participant, 33 MNOK (3,3 M€)
  • 2021 Retrams, Robotic handling of reusable surgical instruments, “Borrow-a-researcher”, RCN, Project leader (PI), 200 kNOK (20 k€)
  • 2020-2023 CoBotAGV, Research Council of Norway (RCN), Participant, 6 MNOK (600 k€)
  • 2018-2024 Teknoløft Sogn og Fjordane, RCN, Project leader (PI), 45 MNOK (4,5 M€)
  • 2015-2016 Robotic Rehabilitation of Upper Limb After Stroke (WRESTLE), RCN, Project leader (PI), 1 MNOK (100 k€)
  • 2014-2019 RELEASE - project on local barriers for renewable energy, RCN, Project responsible, 25 MNOK (2,5 M€)
  • 2014-2018 ASK – the effect of physical activity on school performance, RCN, Project responsible, 30 MNOK (3 M€)
  • 2009-2011 Jupiter Robotics – Uncertainty and collision handling, ABB, Project leader
  • 2009-2011 Next Generation Robotics for Norwegian Industry, RCN, WP leader
  • 2009-2010 Stabilization of antenna, Jotron SatCom, Project leader
  • 2009-2011 Cognitive Robotics, Strategic project SINTEF, Project leader 
  • 2008-2011 Unmanned platform - inspection and maintenance of unmanned platforms, StatoilHydro, Project leader 
  • 2009-2009 Pipe-inspection with Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), Strategic project SINTEF, Project leader 
  • 2008-2008 Unmanned Surface Vehicle control - analysis and verification of autopilot control system, Maritime Robotics, Project leader 
  • 2008-2008 Robot locomotion and sensor fusion for pipe inspection, Strategic Project SINTEF, WP leader of Locomotion
  • 2007-2007 From 3D-vision to Robot Navigation, Strategic Project SINTEF, WP leader of Navigation 
  • 2007-2007 Automation of anode replacement, Elkem Alu. Mosjøen, Project leader
  • 2007-2008 Motion Coordination Control, Scientific post. doc. project NTNU, Project leader
  • 2002-2003 Effective control and supervisory systems, Strategic project SINTEF, WP leader of Communication 
  • 2001-2003 HERO - Highly Advanced Coloration Methods: robot trajectory planning for high speed coloration of toys, EU, Project member
  • 2001-2002 LADDE - motion estimation for medical classification for diagnosis, St. Olavs Hospital, Project member
Courses taught
  • ELE 306 Robotics
  • DAT 160 Intelligent robotics
  • ING104 Introductory course - theme robotics
  • ADA527 Advanced Robot Control
Research areas
  • Robotics
  • Motion control
  • Motion modelling
  • physical Human-Robot Interaction
  • Cooperative control
  • Student-active online learning
  • Robot rehabilitation after stroke
Research groups


  • Exploring human-robot cooperation with gamified user training: a user study on cooperative lifting

    Venås, Gizem Ates, Stølen, Martin Fodstad, Kyrkjebø, Erik (2024)
  • Comparing and Configuring Soft Tendon Designs for Variable Stiffness Actuators on a Robot Arm

    Elstner, Laurenz, Tirach, Raquel Motzfeldt, Kyrkjebø, Erik, Stølen, Martin F (2023)
  • Comparing and Configuring Soft Tendon Designs for Variable Stiffness Actuators on a Robot Arm

    Elstner, Laurenz, Tirach, Raquel Motzfeldt, Kyrkjebø, Erik, Stølen, Martin F (2023)
  • Profesjoner i samspill om utvikling av progresjonsmåling i hjerneslagrehabilitering

    Hovland, Runar Tengel, Svarstad, Jeanette, Kyrkjebø, Erik (2023)
  • Student Perspectives on Online Hybrid Learning in an Undergraduate Robotics Course

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