Dr. mr. ir.Doorn, N. (Neelke)

Delft University of Technology

Section: Philosophy
Faculty: Technology, Policy and Management

Associate professor/Veni researcher.

Research interests: water ethics - philosophy of technology - water security - responsible innovation - philosophy of risk and safety - sustainable development - water governance - resilience management - water law

Energy and Sustainability
responsible innovation
Technology and Risk
Visiting address

Jaffalaan 5 Delft Room B4.220

Mail address

P.O. Box 5015 2628 BX Delft The Netherlands




Neelke Doorn is associate professor at the Department of Philosophy of Delft University of Technology and former assistant director of the 3TU.Centre of Ethics and Technology. Her primary research is dedicated to moral questions in water governance and in relation to the management of environmental risks and climate change, which she studies through the lens of resilience.

In 2013, Neelke received a personal NWO Veni grant for her project The ethics of flood risk management. In the past years, she also received various grants within the NWO Responsible Innovation (in Dutch: Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren; MVI) scheme (two 375 kEuro grants in 2015 and a 500 kEuro grant in 2016). Her most recent MVI-grant is on so-called crowd-based innovations. These are initiatives in which citizens collectively initiate activities, provide services, or arrange funding (e.g., local wind farms, community gardens, off-the-grid water treatment, repair cafes). These initiatives may provide opportunities for addressing societal challenges, but they may also pose significant challenges as they often occur in the context of traditional, well-established, institutional and governance structures and practices. The gap between these traditional structures and radically new initiatives prompts questions about how public values (quality, legitimacy, efficiency, equity) can be safeguarded.

Neelke has authored/co-authored over 60 peer reviewed publications. Together with Diane P. Michelfelder, Neelke is Editor-in-Chief of the peer reviewed journal Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology. Also with Diane, Neelke is editing the Handbook of Philosophy of Engineering, which is currently under contract with Routledge. In 2013, the edited volume Early Engagement and New Technologies: Opening Up the Laboratory appeared, of which Neelke was the leading editor. Neelke was also one of the co-editors of the edited volume Responsible Innovation: Innovative Solutions for Global Issues.


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Current research

Neelke’s primary research is dedicated to water ethics, for which she received a prestigious NWO Veni grant. She is also involved in Ibo van de Poel’s VICI project New Technologies as Social Experiments and the NanoNextNL project, in which she studies the governance and regulation of new technologies, with a focus on nanotechnology. In February 2015, Neelke received two grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research under the Responsible Innovation (in Dutch: Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren; MVI) scheme, both with a budget of over 500 kEuro. Both projects include responsible innovation research in the water sector. More information can be found on the website of the frugal innovation project and the Values4Water project.

Educational background

Neelke has a degree in Civil Engineering (TU Delft 1997, BSc+MSc, cum laude), Philosophy (Leiden 2005, BA+MA, cum laude) and Law (Open University 2016, LLB+LLM, cum laude). In May 2011, she obtained her PhD degree from the TU Delft for her thesis on Moral Responsibility in R&D networks.

Past research and working experience

Neelke has ten years working experience as a research engineer in the field of coastal engineering (1998-2007). In 2007, Neelke joined the Philosophy Section of the TU Delft. Between 2006 and 2010, she was also affiliated to the Radboud University in Nijmegen, where she held a part-time research position at the Centre of Ethics focusing on global justice issues. Neelke spent the spring 2010 term as visiting researcher at the Philosophy Department of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, where she did research on the philosophy of risks. In 2011, Neelke was awarded a grant to spend two months at the Brocher Foundation, a Suisse private law Foundation that facilitates multidisciplinary research on the legal, social, and ethical aspects of medicine and new technologies.


Selection of past and upcoming talks:

* American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting 2017, Boston, USA: “Compensation for flood measures in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands: A social justice perspective”; April 5-9, 2017.

* Invited talk at Wetenschap & Maatschappij symposium, Louvain/Leuven University, Belgium; March 1, 2017.

* Invited talk at PhD course Philosophy of Risk, OZSW/4TU.Ethics, Eindhoven: “Distributing risks: Allocation principles for distributing reversible and irreversible consequences”; November 2, 2016.

* FLOODrisk 2016: 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, Lyon, France: “Distributing responsibilities for safety from flooding”; October 17-21, 2016.

* Invited talk at Workshop: Risk Analysis & the Precautionary Principle, The Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS); May 3, 2016.

* Invited talk at Professional Ethics Network: How to distribute the burdens in flood risk management?, Inter-disciplinary Applied Ethics Centre, University of Leeds, UK; April 28, 2016.

* Invited talk at Wetenschap & Maatschappij symposium, Louvain/Leuven University, Belgium; March 23, 2016.

* Invited talk at Maatschappelijk Cafe: Gezondheid & Preventie, Nieuwspoort / Schuttelaar, The Hague; November 30, 2015.

* Invited talk at Environmental Risk – Assessing and Managing Multiple Risks in a Changing World, Roskilde University, Denmark: “Distributing responsibilities for environmental risks”; November 16-18, 2015.

Other academic activities

Neelke has organized several international conferences and workshops, including the international conference on moral responsibility at TU Delft (August 24-27, 2009), the international workshop on “Ethics in the laboratory. Encouraging reflection through interdisciplinary collaboration” (together with Daan Schuurbiers and Ibo van de Poel) at TU Delft on October 22-23 2010, and the first international conference on Responsible Innovation in The Hague in April 2011. In 2012, Neelke initiated an international expert community on water ethics. More information can be found at her water website. In her position as board member of the Graduate School of the Department of Technology, Policy and Management at TU Delft, Neelke organized several PhD seminars with international speakers.

Neelke is regularly invited to give public talks about topics on the interface of technology, risk, and morality. She is also blogger for the academic philosophy blog Bij Nader Inzien (in Dutch).

Published books and volumes

Public Forgiveness Wilsbekwaamheid Empty
Cover_Responsible Innovation 1 Volume_Van den Hoven Cover_Early Engagement Volume_Doorn Thesis_Doorn

Scientific publications (selection)


  • Doorn, N. forthcoming. "Allocating responsibility for environmental risks: A comparative analysis of examples from water governance". Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1799). available online
  • Doorn, N. forthcoming. "Resilience indicators: Opportunities for including distributive justice concerns in disaster management". Journal of Risk Research (DOI:10.1080/13669877.2015.1100662). available online
  • Toonen, Th. A. J. and N. Doorn. forthcoming. "Good governance for the commons: Design for legitimacy" In: The Design Turn in Applied Ethics. Eds: M. J. Van den Hoven, S. Miller and Th. W. M. Pogge. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


  • Doorn, N. 2016. "Distributing responsibilities for safety from flooding". FLOODrisk 2016. 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, France. E3S Web of Conferences 7, 24002 (2016) (DOI: 10.1051/e3sconf/20160724002). click to open pdf
  • Doorn, N. 2016. "Governance experiments in water management: From interests to building blocks". Science and Engineering Ethics 16(3) (DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9627-3). available online
  • Doorn, N. 2016. "Reasoning about uncertainty in flood risk governance". In: The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis. Eds: S.O Hansson and G.Hirsch Hadorn. Springer, pp. 245-263 (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-30549-3_10). available online
  • Doorn, N., S.L.S. Spruit and Z. Robaey. 2016. "Editors’ Overview: Experiments, Ethics, and New Technologies". Science and Engineering Ethics 16(3) (DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9748-8). available online
  • Spruit, S.L.S., I.R. Van de Poel and N. Doorn. 2016. "Informed consent in asymmetrical relationships: An investigation into relational factors that influence room for reflection". NanoEthics 10(2), pp. 123-138. doi:10.1007/s11569-016-0262-5. available online


  • Doorn N. 2015. "Book review: Lara Buchak. Risk and Rationality & Martin Peterson. The Dimensions of Consequentialism: Ethics, Equality and Risk", Ethical Perspectives 22(1), pp. 217-219.
  • Doorn, N and S.O. Hansson. 2015. "Design for the value of safety". In: Handbook of Ethics and Values in Technological Design. M. J. Van den Hoven, P. Vermaas and I.R. Van de Poel (eds.). Dordrecht, Springer.
  • Doorn, N. 2015. "A procedural approach to distributing responsibilities". In: Moral Responsibility and the Problem of Many Hands. I.R. van de Poel, L.M.M. Royakkers, S.D. Zwart (eds.). New York, Routledge, pp. 167-186.
  • Doorn, N. 2015. "The blind spot in risk ethics: Managing natural hazards". Risk Analysis 35/3: 354-360 (DOI: 10.1111/risa.12293). available online
  • Nihlén Fahlquist, J.A., N. Doorn, and I.R. Van de Poel. 2015. "Design for the value of responsibility". In: Handbook of Ethics and Values in Technological Design. M. J. Van den Hoven, P. Vermaas and I.R. Van de Poel (eds.). Dordrecht, Springer.


  • Doorn N. 2014. "Book review: David Miller. Justice for Earthlings: Essays in Political Philosophy & Kok-Chor Tan. Justice, Institutions, & Luck: The Site, Ground, and Scope of Equality", Ethical Perspectives 21(1), pp. 144-147.
  • Doorn, N. 2014. "Assessment of an Ambient-Assisted-Living project: Between technology and application". In: Responsible Innovation Volume 1: Innovative Solutions for Global Issues. Eds. M.J. Van den Hoven, N.Doorn, T. Swierstra, B.-J. Koops, and H. Romijn (eds.). Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 309-322.
  • Doorn, N. 2014. "Rationality in flood risk management: The limitations of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) in the design and selection of flood protection strategies". Journal of Flood Risk Management 7/3: 230-238 (DOI: 10.1111/jfr1113.12044). available online
  • Van den Hoven, M. J., N. Doorn, T. Swierstra, B.-J. Koops, and H. Romijn (eds). 2014 Responsible Innovation Volume 1: Innovative Solutions for Global Issues. Dordrecht, Springer


  • Doorn, N. 2013. "Book Review: Handbook of Risk Theory: Epistemology, Decision Theory, Ethics, and Social Implications of Risk" Science and Engineering Ethics 19/3: 1409-1411. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2013. "Peter G. Brown and Jeremy J. Smith (eds.) Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals" Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26/3: 723-725 (DOI: 10.1007/s10806-10011-19310-x). available online
  • Doorn, N. 2013. "Überlegungsgleichgewicht" In: Handbuch Technikethik. Ed: A. Grunwald. Stuttgart, J.B. Metzler, pp. 169-173.
  • Doorn, N. 2013. "Water and justice: Towards and ethics of water governance" Public Reason 5/1: 95-111 click to open pdf
  • Doorn, N. 2013. "Wide Reflective Equilibrium as a normative model for responsible governance”. NanoEthics 7/1: 29-43 (DOI: 10.1007/s11569-11013-10169-11563). available online
  • Doorn, N., and J.O. Kroesen. 2013. "Using and developing role plays in teaching aimed at preparing for social responsibility" Science and Engineering Ethics 19/4: 1513-1527.
  • Doorn, N., D. Schuurbiers, I.R. Van de Poel, M.E. Gorman (Eds) 2013. Early Engagement and New Technologies: Opening Up the Laboratory. Dordrecht, Springer.


  • Doorn, N. 2012. "Exploring responsibility rationales in R&D" Science, Technology, & Human Values 37/3: 180-209. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2012. "Responsibility ascriptions in technology development and engineering: Three perspectives" Science and Engineering Ethics 18: 69-90 available online
  • Doorn, N., and I.R. Van de Poel. 2012. "Editors' overview: Moral responsibility in technology and engineering" Science and Engineering Ethics 18: 1-11. available online
  • van de Poel, Ibo, Jessica Nihlen Fahlquist, Neelke Doorn, Sjoerd Zwart, and Lamber Royakkers. 2012. The Problem of Many Hands: Climate Change as an Example. Science and Engineering Ethics 18: 49-67. available online


  • Doorn, N. & Hansson, S.O. 2011. "Should probabilistic design replace safety factors?" Philosophy & Technology 24/2: 151-168. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2011. "Book review: David R. Keller, ed. Environmental Ethics: The Big Questions / Stephen M. Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson, Henry Shue, eds. Climate Ethics: Essential Readings" Ethical Perspectives 18/2: 291-295.
  • Doorn, N. 2011. "Book review: Harry Brighouse and Ingrid Robeyns. Measuring Justice: Primary Goods and Capabilities." Ethical Perspectives 18/3: 452-455.
  • Doorn, N. 2011. "Book review: Oskari Kuusela. Key Terms in Ethics. London: Continuum, 2011. 168 pp." Ethical Perspectives 18/2: 298-299.
  • Doorn, N. 2011. "Conceptualization or assessment: One at a time or both?" Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology 18/2: 153-155. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2011. "Mental competence or capacity to form a will: An anthropological approach." Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology 18/2: 135-145. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2011. Moral Responsibility in R&D Networks: A Procedural Approach to Distributing Responsibilities. Delft: 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology. click to open pdf
  • Doorn, N., R.P.J.M. Raven, and L.M.M. Royakkers. 2011. "Distribution of responsibility in socio-technical networks: the Promest case" Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 23/4: 453-471. available online


  • Doorn, N. 2010. "A procedural approach to distributing Responsibilities in R&D networks" Poiesis & Praxis. International Journal of Technology Assessment and Ethics of Science 7/3: 169-199. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2010. "A Rawlsian Approach to Distribute Responsibilities in Networks". Science and Engineering Ethics 16/2: 221-249. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2010. "Applying Rawlsian Approaches to Resolve Ethical Issues: Inventory and Setting of a Research Agenda." Journal of Business Ethics 91/1: 127-143. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2010. "Book review: James Garvey. The Ethics of Climate Change. Right and Wrong in a Warming World. London: Continuum, 2008. 179 pp." Ethical Perspectives 17/1: 125-127.
  • Doorn, N. 2010. "Paul Sollie and Marcus Düwell (eds): Evaluating New Technologies. Methodological Problems for the Ethical Assessment of Technology Developments" Science and Engineering Ethics 16/1: 217-219. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2010. "Responsibility ascriptions and organizational structure: The case of OSS communities" In M Arias-Oliva, TW Bynum, S Rogerson & T Torres-Coronas (Eds.), ETHICOMP 2010: The "backwards, forwards and sideways" changes of ICT . Tarragona, Spain: Universitat Rovira i Virgili: 118-126
  • Doorn, N. and J.A. Nihlen Fahlquist. 2010. Responsibility in Engineering: Towards a New Role for Engineering Ethicists Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 30/3: 222-230.


  • Doorn, N. 2009. "Lotte Asveld and Sabine Roeser (Eds), the Ethics of Technological Risk." Science and Engineering Ethics 15/2: 259-261. available online
  • Doorn, N. 2009. "Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence; David Wright, Serge Gutwirth, Michael Friedewald, Elena Vildjiounaite, Yves Punic (Eds)." Science and Engineering Ethics 15/1: 125-127. available online

Professional/Popular publications (selection)


  • Doorn, N. 2015. [Op-ed] Het Financieele Dagblad (Dutch national news paper): "Het Financieele Dagblad (Dutch national news paper): "Fossiele energie bestaat bij de gratie van wereldwijde miljardensubsidies", July 28, 2015.
  • Doorn, N. 2015. [Op-ed] Huffington Post: "Het Financieele Dagblad (Dutch national news paper): "Volkswagen Scandal Reveals Design Flaws: The Need for Value Conscious Design", October 13, 2015 (with Behnam Taebi).
  • Doorn, N. 2015. [Op-ed] Thomson-Reuters: "Renewable poised to soar as 'game-changing' moment comes", July 1, 2015.
  • Doorn, N. 2015. [Op-ed] Trouw (Dutch national news paper): "Volkswagendebacle is leerschool ontwerper", September 29, 2015.


  • Doorn, N, B. Broekhans, and E. Mostert. 2013. "Redactioneel: Normen en waarden in water governance" (in Dutch) Water governance 3: 5 click to open pdf


  • Doorn, N. 2009. Wilsbekwaamheid. Weldoen, autonomie, identiteit (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Boom.


  • Doorn, N. 2008. "Wilsbekwaamheid als levensontwerp: een antropologische benadering" Welzijnsgids - Gezondheidszorg, Gezondheidsethiek juni 2008: 75-86