Nancey Green Leigh Receives Grant to Study the U.S. Robotics Industry and Economic Impacts
College of Design Associate Dean for Research Nancey Green Leigh is the principal investigator of a new $784,887 grant from the National Science Foundation National Robotics Initiative to study the U.S. robotics industry and the economic impacts of robotics technology.
Leigh, also a professor in the School of City and Regional Planning, is co-PI with Henrik Christensen, former director of Georgia Tech’s Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. He is now director of the Contextual Robotics Institute at the University of California, San Diego.
The two-year grant will enable researchers to generate data and conduct analyses about the U.S. robotics industry and the economic impacts of robotics technology. The work will advance the understanding of the relationship between 21st-century technology and work, meeting a need to assess robots as more than just advanced manufacturing technology.
According to Leigh, much of existing discussion on robots and industry has been speculative. The data that does exist ends at 2007.
The project will have several components, but the researchers will start by surveying the manufacturing industry about its robot use and employment patterns, followed by a survey of systems integrators. They also will perform case studies with representatives from all stages of the robotic supply chain.
In the end, this research is expected to inform policymakers, workers, and corporate leaders as they make decisions in anticipation of the use of robots throughout the economy. Employment structures, the changing nature of work, among other factors will be some day be impacted, the grant proposal states.