Registration closed

Summer School on “The Regulation of Robotics in Europe: Legal, Ethical and Economic Implications”

Focus area: 
Innovation Management
Sant’Anna, Pisa
Application deadline: 
11.07.2016 to 16.07.2016
ECTS Credits: 
Training hours: 
Maximum Number of Participants: 
Tuition fee: 

600,00 (The cost includes the tuition fees, reference material and lunch on class days)


Students at an advanced stage of their university courses (last year students ) or graduate students (master or Ph.D.) in law, political sciences, economics and engineering, interested in understanding the legal, ethical, social and economic issues raised by robotics. Young professionals working for policy makers or industries investing in or developing robotic products.

Course description

The course aims at providing students with a broad understanding of all implications of robotics that are going to be of increasing relevance in the legal, political and social debate over the coming years.

According to a study by McKinsey, robotics is a disruptive technology that may reach a market value of USD 4.5 trillion per year by 2025. Developing a leading industry in this field is therefore strategic and all major world economies are heavily investing in its research. This is the case in Europe, China, Japan, Korea, and the United States.

At the same time, some technologies – in particular biorobotics (bionic limbs, exoskeletons, brain machine interfaces) – are going to deeply challenge our understanding of human life and human limits. Others technologies – e.g. expert systems and AI – promise to reshape the labor market – triggering unemployment for some and opening up new possibilities for others.

As every aspect of our society will be touched upon, mere technological research is insufficient.

Social scientists – lawyers, political scientists, economists, – as well as engineers researching these technologies need to start addressing the many relevant issues raised. To do so, however, they need to acquire a novel and highly interdisciplinary approach, crossing law, economics, engineering and ethics.

The course will offer an overview

  • of relevant European regulation, both existing and prospective, in fields such as liability, privacy (privacy by design), robot-testing, and product safety
  • of European and international standards for certification and benchmarking,
  • of the ethical debate triggered by some emerging technologies, including autonomous vehicles, AI and biorobotic products for human enhancement
  • of the European approach to Responsible Research and Innovation,
  • of the economic challenges connected with innovation (start-ups and financing).

Moreover, it will introduce students to a highly interdisciplinary methodology – developed within the RoboLaw Project – to analyze these relevant issues.

The knowledge and skills acquired by the end of the course are intended to provide the necessary background to start independent research in law and technology, as well as to provide consultancy to industries involved in the development of robotic devices.


Training objectives

Provide students with a solid background and methodological approach to either (i) enter the market for consultancy services to businesses developing robotic products, or (ii) undergo independent research in law and technology, or (iii) understand the non-technological issues to take into account in robotic products design.

Teaching methods

Front lessons and case studies analysis

Course programme

Courses will take place in the buildings of the Scuola Sant’Anna in the heart of the historical city centre of Pisa from 9 am to 1pm and from 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm every day, and will address the following topics:

  • The definition and the legal definition of robots
  • The taxonomy of existing robotic devices
  • Liability rules, insurance and risk management in light of existing and emerging EU law
  • Standardization and benchmarking
  • Privacy regulation and privacy by design
  • Design and social perception of robots
  • Ethical assessment of technological innovation
  • Responsible research and innovation
  • Bioethics and roboethics
  • Business modelling and innovation in high-tech markets

The teaching body includes a broad range of professors of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, from various fields such as law, engineering, philosophy, social robotics, management and innovation, providing an extremely interdisciplinary perspective, with a unique experience in the field. Most of the professors have actively participated in the RoboLaw project, financed by the European Commission (FP7), which developed the “Guidelines on Regulating Robotics” presented to the European Parliament and Commission in September 2014. Those guidelines triggered political debate and led to the establishment of a Commission of the European Parliament, currently discussing necessary legal reform and political action to ensure the development of a strong, yet responsible, European robotic industry, and manage the many ethical, social and economic issues that robotics brings about.

Dr. Bertolini is the coordinator of the Jean Monnet Module on Europe Regulates Robotics within which the summer school is organized. His research on law and technology addresses a wide range of issues, from liability, insurance and risk management of robotic devices, to human enhancement and roboethics. Since 2014, he has advised both the European Parliament and Commission on the regulation of robotics and his research was covered by national and international press (including the Economist, BBC radio, The Times, Wired, Motherboard, Corriere della Sera, Sole24Ore).

How to apply

Students will be selected according to their academic curriculum, professional experiences, motivation for participating and knowledge of English.

Course fee

€ 600,00 (The cost includes tuition fee, reference material and lunch on class days)


One scholarship will be awarded to the best ranked candidate


At the end of the Summer School participants who have attended at least 90% of the classes and who have passed the final test will receive a Certificate of Attendance.

Scientific coordinator Andrea Bertolini
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – DIRPOLIS Institute - Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa (PI) - Italy
Tel:  0039
Contact person Pericle Salvini
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna - Biorobotic Institute - Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (PI) - Italy
Tel:  0039


Call for application
File PDF - 308 kb
List of admitted candidates
File PDF - 207 kb