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

A fully funded PhD enhanced studentship of £24,718 plus fees 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 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 the 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 Industries 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?


Primary supervisor: Dr Niels Lohse

Secondary supervisor: Professor Michael Henshaw

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.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select ‘Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering’  and quote the advert reference number FP-NL-2023.

Please submit a CV and the minimum supporting documents by the advert closing date. Failure to do so will mean that your application cannot be taken forward for consideration.

Apply now

Business & Management (5) Computer Science (8) Economics (10) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

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).

Where will I study?

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