Vacancy Phd student ‘Ethics and Modelling’

The Section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology (Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences) at Eindhoven University of Technology
has a vacancy for a

PhD in Philosophy and Ethics of Technology (1,0 fte)

Ethical Aspects of Modelling in Engineering
Sponsored by the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology
(Vacancy V39.473)

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 research on ethics of the Section is embedded in the 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology. This is a joint research centre of the three technical universities in the Netherlands, in which about 40 researchers in the field of ethics and technology cooperate.

Project description

The deployment of artefacts in present day society has numerous consequences – including issues related to ethics. Liabilities and responsibilities of designers of artefacts receive ample attention in the literature. Many studies assume that the designer – as decision taker – is the primary actor to balance advantages and potential risks in the design process. In the case of more complicated artefacts, however, designers’ work is substantially supported by the outcomes of (mathematical) models. The inner working of such models often obscures a direct understanding of the link between decisions and their consequences. This means that a new situation occurs: the model maker plays an important role in the design process.

The project aims to clarify issues with respect to responsibilities of model makers in addition to that of designers. Specifically, it aims to develop a conceptual framework to deal with the accountability-issues of model-makers and model-users; a framework that is sufficiently operational to be used in concrete cases where formal models serve to support design decisions in the design of technological artefacts.

To achieve this, the project combines engineering ethics, an analysis of modelling, the philosophy of technology, and case studies.

Tasks

The PhD student is expected to do both supervised and unsupervised research, write a PhD thesis and research papers on ethical issues regarding modeling and to participate in activities of the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology. A small part of the studentship may involve teaching in courses offered by the section.

Qualifications

  • Your prior studies and current interests prepare you to do research on and write a thesis on ethical issues related to modelling in the engineering sciences.
  • In particular, you have a Master degree in philosophy, with a proven interest in ethics and technology, or a Master degree in engineering science, with a proven interest in ethical issues. Prior knowledge of modelling techniques in engineering sciences is a strong recommendation.
  • You aspire to further academic development, you possess excellent analytical skills and you know how to make contact outside your immediate working environment.
  • You must have sufficient knowledge of the English language, proved by an IELTS certificate with a minimum score of 7. Knowledge of Dutch is not (initially) required.

Appointment and salary

We offer:

  • a full-time temporary appointment for a period of 4 years;
  • a gross monthly salary of € 2000 during the first year up to € 2558 during the fourth year of the appointment;
  • a holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary and an end year allowance of 6.4% of the yearly salary;
  • a PhD program of 1,000 course hours, suited to the specific needs of the candidate;
  • 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. In the international assessment of research in philosophy in the Netherlands (1999-2004), the section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology received top marks on all four criteria of the assessment (quality, productivity, relevance, and viability);
  • the university covers (partly) the costs of publishing your dissertation.

Attaining a PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology provides you with excellent career opportunities.

Information

More information on the research project “Ethical Aspects of Modeling in Engineering Sciences” may be found here.

Research in the Section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology is carried out in close co-operation with the Section of Philosophy at Delft University of Technology. The joint research program can be consulted here.

Information on research at the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology can be found here.

Additional information about this position can be obtained from Dr. Kees van Overveld (k.van.overveld@wxs.nl) or Dr. Sjoerd Zwart (s.d.zwart@tue.nl). Further general information: M.E.M. Roelands, personnel officer, phone +31 40 2474886, e-mail: pz@tm.tue.nl.

Application

Send a written (printed) application letter with a recent, detailed Curriculum Vitae, names and contact details of (at least) two referees, and a sample of written work to:

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences
Personnel Department, Pav R.1.23
PO Box 513
5600 MB Eindhoven
The Netherlands

Applications should be received by January 31st 2009. Please include the job vacancy code: V39.473. As part of an equal opportunity scheme, women are explicitly requested to apply.