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Industrial robots-as-a-service: understanding social and economic implications

   Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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  Prof Niels Lohse, Prof Michael Henshaw  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering has seen 100% of its research impact rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, underlining the wide-ranging positive impacts that our research has on the world (REF, 2021).

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Project Details

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for UK students to conduct industry facing research as part of a collaborative PhD programme between Loughborough University and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

The candidate will be work both at the MTC and the Intelligent Automation Centre (IAC) in Loughborough. The MTC and IAC will offer access to some of the best equipped industry facing research labs and research engineers in the UK. This will ensure that the candidate will build a highly sought-after portfolio of academic and industrial skills in social and economic modelling, simulation, robotics, and servitisation. Close links with key industrial partners will enable the candidate to build a strong network of contacts in parallel to their research.

The emergence of ever more skilled robots is expected to significantly increase labour productivity and penetrate areas which are currently reserved for human labour eventually becoming more like a service rather than an investment. This will have a significant transformative impact on the social and economic demographics in the UK and beyond. It is necessary to understand impact of Robots-as-a-Service to inform responsible innovation. This project will create social and economic models to study and analyse the consequences of injecting ever more skilled robots into the economy. This is highly timely and will inform the discourse of how emerging new robotic and autonomous systems will affect people’s lives and right to work in the mid to long-term future.

Research questions include:

  • What will be the social, economic, and ethical consequences of Robots-as-a-Service for affected workers, individual organisations, different manufacturing sectors and the wider UK economy?
  • How should investment policy for Robotics be structured to maximise the competitiveness of SME and large industry alike?
  • Which kind of skill changes and associated training programmes are necessary for workers affected by Robots-as-a-Service will be required to ensure their continued employment and contribution to society?

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in engineering, computer science or a related subject. A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: systems engineering, human factors, economics, or management.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Fees and Tuition

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £24,718 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to funding restrictions, this is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK fees. This project is funded between Loughborough University and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

How to Apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering’. Please quote reference number: FP-NL-2022.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

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