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PhD Student - Ethics in Robotics and AI: a historical and intercultural perspective (FPI 2018 -MdM-)

Date of call





Carme Torras Genís




The "Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (IRI), CSIC-UPC" is seeking a PhD student to work under the framework of the María de Maeztu (MdM) Unit of Excellence Seal.

The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Carme Torras from IRI and Prof. Begoña Roman (Philosophy Department, Universitat de Barcelona)

IRI is a Joint University Research Institute participated by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) that conducts research in human-centered robotics and automatic control. The institute is a key player in the Spanish robotics and automatic control scenes, and a valued participant in a large number of international collaborations including more than ten ongoing H2020 projects and an ERC Advanced Grant. Recently, is has been recognized as a Maria de Maeztu Excellence Unit, the main accreditation given by the Spanish Government to research units that stand out for the impact and international relevance of their results

If we view technological evolution as a sequence of revolutions: agricultural, industrial, informational... how do the social effects of the current hyperconnectivity revolution differ from those of the preceding ones? Is there a continuity in the ethical issues raised or do social networks, learning apps and robot companions pose radically new questions? We will review ethical theories like consequentialism (maximizing the number of people that enjoy the highest beneficial outcomes), deontologism (acting only according to maxims that could become universal laws), virtue ethics (relying on the moral character of virtuous individuals), social justice (all human beings deserve to be treated equally and there must be a firm justification in case of mistreatment), common goods (living in a community places constraints on the individual), religious ethics (norms come from a spiritual authority), and information ethics (policies and codes for governing the creation, organization, dissemination, and use of information) in this new context, as well as from an intercultural perspective.

A four-year PhD position will be fully covered by an FPI grant under the Spanish Government Call "Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores 2018". The gross salary is 16422 Eur/year. In addition, there are secured funding to cover the attendance to national and international conferences, journal publication costs, research stays abroad, and lab experiments.

If you are interested, please send an e-mail to at your earliest convenience, including your CV, and your full academic record. Although the candidate selection will be done by the host group, the required paperwork will be coordinated and supervised by the Spanish Ministry of Science. The official application deadline by the Ministry is October 29th, but send us your documentation no later than 19th.


Qualifications: The candidate is expected to have a Bachelor/Master in Philosophy, Human Sciences or a related field, and have interest in science and technology.

S/he should be admitted in a PhD Programme or at least fulfill the requirements to be admitted in such a programme upon formalization of the PhD contract. This formalization is expected to take place by mid 2019.
Other: Ability to organise and write technical and scientific reports in a clear manner, motivation to perform research stays abroad.


Please, send your documentation before 19/10/2018 to:

Email: jobs (at)
Address: Parc Tecnològic de Barcelona. C/ Llorens i Artigas 4-6, 2a planta. 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Fax: 93 401 57 50
Note: Please, remember to reference the offer (ID-68) and include the following documentation: CV and academic transcripts