New studentship opportunity: Everyday Regulation. How do policies become practices?

News | Posted on Friday 31 March 2023

The Albert Centre for Doctoral Training is concerned with the design of interactive robotics for the Chemistry Laboratory. We are looking for a talented lawyer with a sound background in regulation and empirical socio-legal studies.

As part of these efforts, we are looking for a talented lawyer with a sound background in regulation and empirical socio-legal studies to carry out research into the relationship between rules, practices, and regulation, and into how abstract policies are translated into practical processes and practices in the context of scientific laboratories. 

The work you will carry out will include understanding the complex relationship between the regulatory world of policy and the experiential world of practice.

You will have a fascination for human interaction with law and regulation and the personal and organisational practices through which people working in scientific contexts navigate the mesh of rules applicable to them within the laboratory space; and the processes through which they construct the relationship between rule, conduct, and space. You will also be interested in the way that embodied human interaction is shaped by their understanding of the scientific mission they see themselves as pursuing, their views as to the world of law, and the organisational cultures in which they are embedded.

You will have expertise in regulation studies and an understanding of empirical socio-legal studies. You will have a working knowledge of law and technology and / or science and technology studies, and an ability to carry out and disseminate research in a timely and constructive manner.


The principal motivation for the ALBERT mini-CDT is to develop the science, engineering, and socio-technology that underpins the building of a laboratory-based robotic system for use in applied experiments across the physical sciences.  Creating a Chemistry-based eco-system that is cleaner, greener, safer, and cheaper than anything achievable by current conventional techniques and technologies, is a key driver for this research.


This research will study the multifaceted relationship between the regulatory world of policy and the experiential world of practice in the specific context of the chemistry laboratory. It will:

  • study the manner in which the regulations driving the chemistry lab are instantiated at a practical and interpersonal level within, and through, everyday behaviour in the laboratory.
  • identify the role and impact of relational and organisational hierarchies of control, the emergence of organizational and disciplinary cultures through the communication of rules and practices via instruction and implicitly through practice, the material and textual instantiations of rules and procedures, and the establishing of habitual behaviours and practices.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of the manner in which these behaviours and practices interact with regulatory goals, procedures, and structures to provoke questions of adherence and responsibility
  • develop a detailed account of the practical instantiation of regulation in practice as instituted, socio-technical process
  • draw on your findings to provide clear design requirements for other members of the Albert CDT


The legal researcher will undertake a focussed study of the development of compliance-oriented and compliance-informed processes, procedures, practices and cultures in chemistry laboratory. The purpose of the study will be to identify the manner in which regulatory goals and policies are translated into concrete processes and practices, and the cultures of responsibility and adherence to which they give rise.  Your work will be informed by a rich and nuanced engagement with regulatory theory, which you will combine with empirical socio-legally informed analysis of a laboratory environment.

Autonomous Robotic Systems for Lab Experiments (ALBERT)

This position is part of a larger project looking at Autonomous Robotic Systems for Lab Experiments (ALBERT). This is an interdisciplinary project across several departments working collaboratively.

When completing your application form, please select CDT Autonomous Robotic Systems for Lab Experiments from the drop down menu for How will your studies be funded?
Application deadline is 18 May 2023
Fully funded for up to 3.5 years by the EPSRC/University and covers: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£17,668 for 2022-23), (ii) tuition fees , (iii) funding for consumables. 

Candidates of any nationality are welcome to apply as a limited number of studentships may be awarded to exceptional international students.

Not all projects will be funded; candidates will be appointed via a competitive process 

Candidate selection process:

You should hold or expect to receive at least an upper second class degree in a relevant subject

Applicants should submit a PhD application to the University of York by 18 May 2023

Supervisors may contact candidates either by email, telephone or web-chat

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview later in May - date to be confirmed but likely to be 23-25 May 2023
Although we sometimes have a limited number of fully funded international awards available, at this time we can only accept applications from students who qualify for UK home fees.