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Meet Silvia Tolu

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

Silvia Tolu is an Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark and a Researcher in Neurorobotics. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Granada, Spain.



Since childhood, Silvia had a keen interest in programming and understanding how computers worked. Unfortunately, Silvia mentions that she did not have any mentors to look up to or to guide her. Despite this, she did not let her interest die. Silvia got enrolled at University of Cagliari where she got her degree in bachelor of Electronics Engineering. After her bachelor, she got her first master’s degree which is in Electronic Engineering, later Silvia got her second master’s degree, which is a degree in Computing Networks Engineering. After completing her master’s degrees, Silvia decided to pursue a PhD in Computer Science from University of Granada, Spain.


STEM to Silvia means “to apply concepts in a practical way for making technology”. Silvia is an expert in her field, and she is among the very few females in the world – this for Silvia is one of her biggest achievements. Silvia has been involved in many projects; these projects range from creating learning algorithms for artificial systems to developing brain-based control systems for robots. Silvia has also been a part of a 10-yearlong scientific research project, based on supercomputers, that aims to build a collaborative ICT-based scientific research infrastructure to allow researchers across Europe to advance knowledge in the fields of neuroscience, computing, and brain-related medicine. She has also worked with other projects like Sensopac and BioModular. Silvia’s goal is to combine neuroscience, computer science, and biology towards the design of bio-mimetic control architectures for real-time motor control and learning of compliant robotic systems. Currently, Silvia’s research is in the field of Neuro-robotics Engineering, in particular is focused on understanding a modular approach for developing brain structures and to connect them for controlling different robotic platforms, e.g., modular robots, musculoskeletal robots, humanoids robots, and soft-robots. Recently, a documentary was released with the name, ‘In Silico'. The documentary is based on the Human Brain Project. A panel got together to discuss the documentary and Silvia was also invited to be a part of the panel, and she was the only woman in the discussion panel. You can watch the discussion below:


Silvia is doing exceptional work within STEM, but there are some changes she wishes to see, which she believes will make life for women easier. She wishes that there existed more organisations like NWiSTEM, more women involved in getting girls interested. Silvia also hopes for more female teachers and leaders in the future, so that being a woman in these fields does not make anyone stand out but hopes that it just becomes the norm. Silvia thinks that it vital to promote girls studying STEM and highlighting their achievements and creating more women-centric representation.


Lastly, here are Silvia’s closing words of encouragement for young girls who want to join a STEM field:

“Never never give up! If we believe in ourselves, we can achieve anything! Following our instincts, desires, dreams certainly leads to create value in the society, in the world. Anybody can do it, men and women!”

I thank Silvia Tolu for taking part in this project and answering all the questions in a very informative manner. I hope, your experience and STEM story will inspire a young girl to join a STEM field and excel just like you have.

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