Fully-funded 4-year Ph.D. position on “Fearful Technologies: Historical and ethical perspectives on the role of fear in pro-technology discourses”

 Eindhoven University of Technology

Technology, Innovation and Society Group

Starting the latest in June 2017

The PhD position is interdisciplinary with a shared advisory team from the Technology, Innovation and Society Group (dr. Kalmbach, prof.dr. v.d. Vleuten) and the Philosophy & Ethics Group (dr. Spahn) of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology and has a focus on the historical and ethical perspectives on the role of fear in pro-technology discourses. We invite applications for a 4-year fully funded PhD starting at the latest in June 2017.

Research Context:

Fears of technologies are a prominent research topic in Science and Technology Studies and Risk Research. Industry, academia, and policy makers have been eager to develop strategies to overcome such fears. An area that has, however, been neglected so far is the question how the promotion of new technologies has itself appealed to fears. To name only a few examples: The fear that ‘the lights could go out’ has been addressed continuously in the promotion of nuclear energy; the fear that one could miss out on the meaning of life is stressed in the promotion of in-vitro-fertilization; and the fear that the world’s knowledge could get lost is emphasized in the calls for digital archives.

Our project will therefore investigate the argumentative role of fear in pro-technology discourses and the effects of these appeals to fear. It will bring together research from history and ethics of technology. The main research question will be: Which role did and do emotions, and especially fear play (historically) in the pro-technology discourse of emerging technologies and how should these appeals to fear be evaluated from an ethical perspective? We will investigate this question on the basis of empirical case studies and in relation to the ethical debate on the role of emotions and fear in technology acceptance.

Your Profile:

The candidate holds a Master’s degree or equivalent degree in one of the following fields: History (of Technology / Sciences), Philosophy, Sciences and Technology Studies, Innovation Studies, or related fields.

The candidate has excellent writing and qualitative analytic skills, fluency in English (which is the working language of the research group), and a strong interest in conducting research in an interdisciplinary and international team. The candidate should be able to take up the position latest by June 1.

The TU/e is an equal opportunity employee. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Our Offer:

We offer a four-year PhD position in a vibrating research environment which is shaped by an interdisciplinary and international team of researchers and their tight integration in (inter)national research networks. The position comes with a gross salary of € 2.191 per month in the first year, increasing to €2.801 per month in the fourth year. Additionally, Eindhoven University of Technology provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amounts to 8% of the annual salary), an end-of-year bonus (amounts to 8,3%), and a number of additional benefits. The candidate will be given the possibility to gain teaching experience as well as to receive graduate training.

The application should contain the following documents:

–  Letter of motivation which explains your interest in the position and your qualifications for it;

–  Curriculum vitae (including, if applicable, a publication list and a teaching overview)

–  Research statement (roughly 500 words, plus (short!) bibliography) in which you elaborate on your ideas for a research focus in line with the project

–  Names and contact information of three persons willing to provide references.

If you are interested in this position, we invite you to apply before January 1, 2017. To apply please click HERE and use the ‘apply now’ button. Please note that a maximum of 5 documents can be uploaded, so if you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them. Please do not send us applications by e-mail. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Eindhoven (travel expenses will be covered) or via a video call end of January 2017, decision about the appointment will be made shortly after the interviews. The appointment is initially for a period of one year; contingent on satisfactory performance, the position will be extended by a maximum of an additional three years leading to the completion of a PhD thesis.

Further information:

For further information on the research context of this PhD position please contact: Karena Kalmbach (k.kalmbach@tue.nl) or Andreas Spahn (a.spahn@tue.nl).

Information about the terms of employment can be obtained from Mrs. Ellen van der Mierden, HR advisor (pz.ieis@tue.nl).

More information about the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences can be found at www.tue.nl/en/university/departments/industrial-engineering-innovation-sciences/research/