SCDTP Studentship for Ethical governance of military machine intelligence
University of Southampton School of Politics & International Relations
United Kingdom

SCDTP Studentship - Ethical governance of military machine intelligence



Politics & International Relations

Location:  Highfield Campus

Salary:   £15009

(19/20 UKRI rate)

Closing Date:  Tuesday 18 June 2019

Reference:  1078218CC



Ethical governance of military machine intelligence


A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) commencing in 2019/20 Academic Year.


Supervisory Team:


Christian Enemark (, Professor of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences (primary), and Sarvapali (Gopal) Ramchurn, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (secondary).


This interdisciplinary PhD research project explores the challenges—technological, institutional, ethical, and governmental—associated with the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine autonomy in a military context. For what purposes might military organizations use intelligent machines? Why might such use be justified or criticised on ethical grounds? What norms and rules should govern the development and use of partly or fully autonomous weapon systems? As AI technology advances and government investment increases, this project is intended to address an urgent need for more research into why and how the military use of intelligent machines should be prevented, restricted or facilitated.


Skills Required


Highly-developed critical thinking skills; excellent written and oral communication skills; demonstrated ability to conduct high-quality research using primary and secondary sources; ability to engage with ideas and information from multiple academic disciplines.




South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £15,009 (2019/20 UKRI rate), plus payment of all programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website (


Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at


Application Procedure


The closing date and time for applications is 4.00pm on 18th June 2019.  The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:


For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us at

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