Postdoc vacancy ‘Moral fitness of military personnel’

The section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology has the mission (i) to contribute to the bachelor and master programs of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences and (ii) to contribute to a reflective attitude of engineering students in all engineering disciplines at TU/e, with regard to the development and use of technology. The section is a dynamic group consisting of 16 people. In an open atmosphere they work together on the philosophical reflection on the nature of technology and of the engineering sciences.

Project description

Military operational personnel are increasingly confronted with unprecedented complexities in their expeditionary missions. Collaboration between diverse partners is an essential requirement in these operations. Military organisations increasingly make use of network technology to foster information sharing and interactions between the parties in the network. We use the phrase Network Enabled Operations (NEO) to describe the added value of a well-networked operational environment. Mission success is increasingly determined by the soldier’s capabilities to evaluate high-stake situations, to make balanced decisions, and to collaborate in ad hoc alliances. Ethics and morality play a crucial role in dealing with diversity of perspectives and balancing multiple interests of collaborating parties and own interests. This research program will investigate the critical competencies of military personnel needed for moral decision making in network enabled operations. This central question is subdivided into three subquestions: What characterizes moral fitness in a networked operational environment; which are the psychological and social conditions that enable morally responsible decision making in a networked operational environment; and, in what ways does a networked operational environment affect military behaviour? The analyses address three issues in NEO: information sharing, collaboration, and delegation of authority. The aim of this research program is to theoretically analyse and empirically assess the drivers of moral fitness for adequate decision making and collaboration. This should contribute to the strengthening and insurance of morally responsible actions and decisions of military personnel in a networked operational environment, resulting in changes in education, training and mission preparation for military personnel.
The goal of the project of this vacancy is to develop a notion of moral fitness applicable to networked operational environments (and new emerging C2 approaches) that is philosophically sound, and offers good chances for achieving morally responsible reactions and decisions.

The research will be accommodated at the 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology and at NIME (The Dutch Institute of Military Ethics) of the Netherlands Defence Academy in Breda.


The candidate will have excellent analytical abilities, a demonstrable interest in the ethical and social aspects of military practice. The candidate should be competent in contemporary philosophy or ethics as is apparent from relevant publications. A requirement is a completed PhD in ethics. Knowledge of the Dutch language is not required.

Appointment and salary

We offer:

  • a temporary appointment (0.8 fte) for a period of 2 years, or a temporary appointment (0,5 fte) for a period of 3 years;
  • a gross monthly salary between € 2379 and € 3755 (full-time position) depending on experience and knowledge;
  • a holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary and an end year allowance of 8.3% of the yearly salary;
  • a broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, child care, savings schemes, and excellent sports facilities;
  • a stimulating, internationally renowned research environment. According to the latest international assessment of research in philosophy in the Netherlands, the section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology can claim to be pre-eminent. The score on all four criteria of the assessment (quality, productivity, relevance, and viability) was “excellent” (top grade).


Additional information about the content of the project can be obtained from Lambèr Royakkers (, phone +31 40 2474693.
Further general information: Marc Roelands, HR advisor, phone +31 40 2474886, e-mail:

Information about the section Philosophy and Ethics of Technology can be found at:


Interested candidates are requested to send their motivated application together with a recent curriculum vitae to:

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences
HR Services, Pav. C 0.17
PO Box 513
5600 MB Eindhoven
The Netherlands

You are allowed to send your application by e-mail: Applications should be received by July 17th 2009. Please include the job vacancy code: V39.481.

As part of an equal opportunity scheme, women are explicitly requested to apply.