What are you currently researching?
I am trying to understand how different national institutional contexts influence the adoption and consequences of automation in the European economy.
For example, it is clear that countries like Germany and the UK are very differently structured in terms of their labour market institutions and education systems etc. I am trying to understand how this influences the way in which firms replace workers, say, with robots or AI.
What attracted you to this area of research?
For a long time now, I have been interested in the way technology changes the fabric of society. As such, it is hard not to be fascinated by the ‘future of work’ debate. Will we have jobs left? If not, what will that look like? I feel this is one of the salient questions of our time.
How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?
Clearly, human labour has historically been fundamental to the way in which we create and distribute wealth across the world. However, AI and robotization can have a profound impact on that status quo.
By looking at how national institutions shape this process, I hope to understand automation in a differentiated way. Hopefully this can help us create tailormade policies which will help individual countries or regions deal with the specific social and political consequences of automation affecting them.
What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?
I do not think I would have started this PhD if I did not want to stay in academia long term. However, I also feel the urge to contribute more concretely to policy-making so I would not discount a foray into that world as well.
What are your top three tips to prospective students on the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?
I think it is important to start with the fundamentals and read, read, read. Owning your topic and the literature surrounding it is the only way to make a serious contribution.
Secondly, I really believe in the importance of little side projects. Taking some time away from your PhD by writing a blogpost or working on another project can really be refreshing and help you avoid tunnel vision and fatigue. However, it is of course important not to overdo it and keep your priorities straight.
Finally, research should not be an isolated activity. Discussing your work with a broad range of people will really help to give new perspectives.
What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?
The PhD academy is a lovely place to relax and also offers a wealth of workshops and group activities, from writing clinics to socials. However, most importantly, LSE sponsors a range of scholarships that allow young researchers like me to pursue a PhD in the first place.
What do you enjoy most about studying at LSE?
It is a terrible cliché, but it has to be the people. From students to professors, everyone here is very open and approachable. LSE’s baffling diversity means there is a wealth of perspectives to learn from which is truly enriching.