This paper presents simulation and experimental characterization of an electro-thermally actuated micro gripper. This micro actuator can conceptually be seen as a bi-morph structure of SU-8 and silicon, actuated by thermal expansion of the polymer. The polymer micro gripper with an embedded comb-like silicon skeleton is designed to reduce unwanted out-of-plane bending of the actuator, while offering a large gripper stroke. The temperature and displacement field of the micro gripper structure is determined using a two-dimensional finite element analysis. This analysis is compared to experimental data from steady-state and transient measurements of the integrated heater resistance, which depends on the average temperature of the actuator. The stability of the polymer actuator is evaluated by recording the transient behaviour of the actual jaw displacements. The maximum single jaw displacement of this micro gripper design is 34 νm at a driving voltage of 4 V and an average actuator temperature of 170 °C. The transient thermal response is modelled by a first-order system with a characteristic time constant of 11.1 ms. The simulated force capability of the device is 0.57 mN per νm jaw displacement.