Effect on society of gendered embodied and gendered virtual AIs and Robots with embedded emotion and conversational capacity

Effect on society of gendered embodied and gendered virtual AIs and Robots with embedded emotion and conversational capacity

Eligibility: UK/EU/International students with the required entry requirements.

Funding details: This is a self-funded opportunity.

Duration: Full-time – between three and three and a half years fixed term or part-time could be possible, subject to discussion and agreement.

Application deadline: This advert will remain open until an appropriate candidate is found.

Interview dates: Dates will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates.

Start date: This PhD could begin in January, May or September of each year. This project is advertised until a suitable candidate is found, so we recommend applying early to avoid disappointment.


Coventry University's Research Cente for Computational Science and Mathematical Modelling (CSM) is inviting applications from suitably qualified graduates for a self-funded PhD studentship for individual research supervised by a team to investigate the effect on society of gendered robots.

Project details

There is an expected increase in the production of ‘public sector robots’. This includes synthetic emotions for embodied (physical) robots, and synthetic emotions for disembodied (virtual) robots. Additionally, social robotics are being empowered with natural language skills (chatbots; digital assistants such as Alexa, Siri).

The outcome of this PhD research would be to produce the first taxonomy of conversational gendered physical and virtual robots with embedded synthetic emotions. It would also produce an ethical framework for the development of such systems for different cases (scenarios and circumstances) that are a benefit for society and are not a negative impact on human-robot collaboration, cooperation and cohabitation.

This project is part of the Research Centre for Computational Sciences and Mathematical Modelling which has reputed research groups bringing together leading machine learning and data science experts, applied mathematicians and software engineers, researchers in data privacy and AI ethics, with prestigious funding previously obtained. This project will continue our present research work in artificial intelligence ethics, trust in AI, social robotics and natural language processing (NLP).


This project is an opportunity for those who have secured their own funding.  Students with scholarships or funding from their home country are particularly welcomed to apply.

Postgraduate Loans (Masters by Research and Doctoral)

You may be able to get a UK loan from Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales for a Postgraduate degree.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year and a half period of study.
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).
In addition

This proposal is aimed at a self-funded candidate who has at least a 2-1 in either games technology, computer science with a focus on social robotics, and an interest in gender and technology studies. Understanding the principles of human-computer interaction would benefit the candidate.

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation and a covering letter, plus the following:

  • An up-to 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

Informal enquires are encouraged and should be addressed to Dr H Shah.

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