Autonomy offers a placement scheme in collaboration with doctoral training programmes

Make the most of your PhD

For up to six months, doctoral students can work with the Autonomy team to develop new, ambitious research projects producing the policies needed to tackle the ongoing crisis of work and the challenges of climate change.

Am I eligible?

Our placement scheme runs for funded PhD students at UK universities. While we have ongoing arrangements with doctoral training partnerships like CHASE and TECHNE, we have also organised placements with other funders on a case-by-case basis.

What can I expect?

You’ll get the opportunity to garner new research skills, learn how the policy world operates, and help shift the Overton Window in debates about the future of work. You’ll work in a small team to develop the innovative, cross-disciplinary outputs that make our work unique.


Email info[at] with a short description of your doctoral research alongside a brief paragraph regarding which of Autonomy’s research strands interest you most. We can then arrange a meeting and discuss potential opportunities.

Further details about placement schemes are available on each of the DTP websites:

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, Univesity of Sussex

Jack Kellam, University of Cambridge

My placement at Autonomy offered invaluable insight around turning the latest, cutting-edge research into engaging, accesible policy interventions, able to influence political actors and change the terms of public debate. While working as a placement researcher, I was lucky enough to collaborate on a piece of research – exploring findings from trials of a shorter working week in Iceland – that made news headlines worldwide, and has become one of the most cited studies on working time reduction in the press. There is nowhere quite like Autonomy, where data scientists and mathematicians collaborate with political theorists and architects to design the policy proposals the world of work desperately needs. I couldn’t recommend a placement enough.

The placement was a great opportunity to become 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


Autonomy_Urban develops projects, programs and proposals that support new forms of sustainable work and leisure within urban environments, designing radical and pragmatic visions for the future. We help create physical and digital infrastructures for community and economic resilience in the face of climate change, involving data analytics and mapping techniques.

Green job transitions

We’ve created the UK’s first green transition database for occupations and industries. Using the unique insights that this affords, we will be advising local and national governments, trade unions and campaign groups on the path the net zero.


Advances in digital technology have transformed the global economy at unprecedented speed: from the arrival of the gig economy, to new forms of ‘platform’ and ‘micro’ work. Autonomy_Digital seeks to understand the contours of this digital world and develop its potential towards more sustainable and empowering horizons.

Feminist Futures Programme

Autonomy’s Feminist Futures Programme is a theory and policy laboratory that seeks to develop visions of the future that can orientate our political and economic actions today. It acts as a node for academics, politicians, research organisations and activists interested in the economic, technological and political questions that contemporary feminism poses.