Autonomy provides a placement scheme in collaboration with doctoral training programmes

Help shape the future of work

For up to six months, doctoral graduates can work with the Autonomy team on developing new, ambitious research projects that aim to produce the policies necessary for our society to mitigate the ‘crisis of work’ that we are currently experiencing. If you are a doctoral student within either the CHASE or TECHNE doctoral training programmes then you are eligible. 


Some indicative research questions that guide our work are:


How do we deal with automation technologies in the coming years? 

How do work and the climate crisis intersect? 

How can we guard against the precarity that comes with the ‘gig economy’? 

How do we sediment gender equality into the world of work?


Placements at Autonomy offer an opportunity to garner new research skills, learn how the policy world operates, help shift the Overton Window and potentially make public interventions into the debate about the future of work. You will have the chance to work with our wider research network, including leading academics and other voices that are at the heart of contemporary debates (see our website for more details as to who this might be). 


You will be working in small teams, with a diversity of skills brought to bear on a problem: we want to bring architects in conversation with political theorists, policy specialists in conversation with researchers of AI. Diversity in approach will bring out a truly innovative project, beyond the grey documents of your average think tank report.


If you are interested in engaging with the placement scheme with Autonomy – either via CHASE or via TECHNE  – then email with a short description of your doctoral research alongside a short paragraph regarding which of Autonomy’s research strands interest you most. We can arrange a meeting and discuss details then.

The placement was a great opportunity for to become a part of Autonomy’s work and process; helping them build their knowledge base in post-growth economics was instructive for learning how to translate my research interests into policy. Even though my placement at Autonomy only lasted a few months, they made me feel like part of the team, had me involved in multiple strands and projects, and let me set the pace and direction of my research for them.


– Will Jamieson, Royal Holloway 

The placement met, and exceeded, my training needs by providing opportunities to consider how research findings could be applied practically.


It helped me to gain experience in building professional and collaborative relationships, develop collegiality with other researchers, and learn new skills in communications, publication and public engagement. I found the placement was structured yet flexible, and I was regularly encouraged to provide my own input which suggested confidence in my ideas and ability. I would definitely recommend this placement to others, especially those researching public policy, economic development, and politically radical alternatives around employment. 


– Kate Meakin, University of Sussex

A sample of our research strands

Our research strands, from which placed students are encouraged to identify interest are as follows. These strands often intersect and students working on a project will most likely engage with a number of them during their placement:


1. A Welfare State for the 21st Century



Our current welfare system is outdated, disciplinary and falling apart at the seams. Universal Credit has been shown to be a failure, even on the government’s own assessment. We need to design a better system.


  • Do we need a basic income, rather than means-tested benefits?
  • What would new welfare spaces and services look like? What is the Job Centre after the Job Centre?



2. Our Automated Future: the future of technology and its potential for freedom



The future will be automated, but who will that benefit? Policy needs to be in place to make sure the gains from advanced technologies can be shared evenly across populations.


  • What is the future of automation technologies and can they be a force for good?
  • How can government, trade unions and individuals deal with the huge potential of current and near-future automation technologies?
  • What can the history of automation tell us – or warn us – about its deployment within industries?
  • What kinds of technology are we really talking about here? Software bots, driverless cars, retail software, etc.

Links to the CHASE and TECHNE pages are below.