Postdoc Position on Responsible Innovation and Ethics in Industry

At the TU Delft a vacancy has opened up for a postdoc for two European project in the field of Responsible Innovation. This position is located in the Section of Ethics and Philosophy of Technology of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Department of Values, Technology & Innovation.

3 year, 0.7 fte

Starting as of September, 1 2016

Please apply by sending a short motivation letter and a CV to Ibo van de Poel, no later than Friday, July 01, 2016.

Job interviews are (provisionally) planned for Wednesday, July 06, 2016.


We are looking for a post-doc researcher that can contribute to two European projects (PRISMA, CANVAS) in the field of responsible innovation. The majority of the activities are related to the PRISMA project (about 0.5 fte of the 0.7 fte for 3 years) . This project researches the challenges for implementing Responsible Research and innovation (RRI) in industry through a number of pilot projects in companies. The CANVAS project aims to develop a community of legal and philosophical scholars and empirical researchers to share their experience and contribute to value-driven cybersecurity.  A short summary of both PRISMA and CANVAS are provided below. The candidate will also be involved in teaching.

We look for a candidate with a PhD on a subject relevant to responsible innovation, (engineering) ethics or corporate social responsibility. Apart from having good academic qualifications, as proven for example by a PhD thesis and scientific articles, the candidate should be willing and able to engage with industry, be well-organized and be able to keep deadlines. The position will allow you to expand your international network, and to work on academic publications and teaching in a stimulating academic environment.

Main activities

For PRISMA project (0.5 fte):

  • Contribute to inventory of RRI tools that can be used in industry
  • Investigate how companies can integrate RRI in their CSR (corporate social responsibility) policies and activities
  • Support of pilots with RRI at various companies (including spending some time for participatory research at companies)
  • Contribution to evaluation of pilots with RRI at companies
  • Writing reports and deliverables
  • Participation in project meetings etc.

For CANVAS project (0.1 fte):

  • Write a deliverable with a comprehensive review on the discussion of ethical aspects regarding cybersecurity (literature study)
  • Participation in project meetings etc.

Teaching (0.1 fte):

  • Involvement in regularly engineering ethics teaching of the Section of Ethics and Philosophy of Technology


There is now only limited experience with RRI in industry and there is also limited evidence of the added value of opening up the innovation process in industry for social engagement and gender considerations. We will overcome these current limitations by carrying out eight RRI pilot projects in a real-world industry context. To establish the added value of the RRI approach and the gender dimension in and for industry, we will assess the pilot projects on a number of product and process RRI dimensions and compare the score of the pilots on the relevant RRI dimensions with the score of similar projects in the same companies in which the RRI approach has not been followed. We focus on implementing RRI for some of the major technological challenges in the EU including nanotechnology, synthetic biology, Internet of Things and self-driving or automated cars. These are all transformative technologies that have the potential to transform existing modes of production and to change the relation of the company with users, suppliers or other stakeholders. The pilots aim at integrating RRI in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policies of the participating companies. Some pilots will take place in private companies and some in public-private partnerships (PPPs). The project will be supported by extensive stakeholder consultations and dialogues. These will feed into the set-up and the carrying out of the pilots. The project will result in a RRI-CSR roadmap for transformative technologies. The roadmap will be widely disseminated through  the partners’ extensive industry network, and through industry branch and CSR organizations. An important means of dissemination will also be the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on RRI in industry. The dissemination is expected to lead to a better uptake of RRI approaches by industry. This will also contribute to the competiveness of the European industry.


The growing complexity of the digital ecosystem in combination with increasing global risks entail the danger that enforcing cybersecurity may bypass other fundamental values like equality, fairness or privacy, whereas downplaying cybersecurity would undermine citizens’ trust and confidence in the digital infrastructure. Technology developers as well as legal and philosophical scholars and empirical researchers have dealt for many years with cybersecurity issues, although from very specific angles. What is missing is community-building that unifies these perspectives from the presupposition that technology development in cybersecurity should incorporate European values and fundamental rights. Constructing this community – an alliance for value-driven cybersecurity – is the central aim of the CANVAS consortium. CANVAS consists of partners from different scientific traditions – ethical, legal, empirical and technological – with unique competences and broad contact networks such that they can serve as “seed crystals” for community-building. The consortium will take three domains of application with unique value-profiles and complementing cybersecurity exigencies – the health system, finance, and police / national security – as starting point for outlining problems related to value-driven cybersecurity. Using a three-step process, CANVAS will (1) structure existing knowledge, (2) design a network for exchanging knowledge and generating insights across domains, and (3) disseminate the insights gained through three means: A reference curriculum for value-driven cybersecurity with a focus on industry-training, briefing packages for policy stakeholders, and a MOOC (massive open online course) on value-driven cybersecurity. Furthermore, the alliance that should result from this community-building will allow for self-organization among alliance members for tackle specific research questions that emerge out of knowledge exchange in future proposals.

About the faculty, department and section

The Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management contributes to sustainable solutions for technological challenges in society by combining insights from engineering with the humanities and social sciences. The Faculty is equipped with excellent research and teaching facilities.
The Department of Values, Technology and Innovation (VTI) is one of three departments in the TPM Faculty. It uniquely comprises philosophers, economists and risk scholars. It studies how to develop and diffuse responsible technological innovations that reflect deeply held social and moral values. The department is one of the largest groups in the world studying value aspects, economics and risks for a wide range of sociotechnical systems. The department plays a leading role nationally and internationally in research in responsible innovation and value-sensitive design.
The Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section is one of three sections within the VTI Department. The section plays a central role worldwide in research on ethics and philosophy of technology. The group participates in the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, a centre of excellence and the world-leading centre in the ethics of technology. The group’s research covers a broad spectrum, ranging from applied research in collaboration with engineering scholars, experimental and empirical ethics in collaboration with social scientists, and foundational research in meta-ethics, risk theory, ontology and philosophy of science and design.