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Dr.Pols, A.J.K. (Auke)

Wageningen University
Section: Knowledge, Technology and Innovation
Faculty: Social Sciences

Visiting address

Wageningen University, Group of Knowledge, Technology and Innovation De Leeuwenborch (building 201), room 4019 Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen

Mail address

PO Box 8130 6700 EW WAGENINGEN The Netherlands


+31 (0)317 488 268


Auke Pols is a lecturer in responsible innovation and the ethics of technology at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation (KTI) group at Wageningen University. As lecturer, he specialises in teaching critical reflection and ethics to students from the engineering, life and social sciences; as PhD coordinator, he is responsible for organising PhD skills training sessions.

Auke’s overarching research field is the organisation of responsibility in socio-technical systems. Specifically, his research interests include:

  • Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and how it can be institutionalised. Auke has developed this topic in the context of the Horizon 2020 project RRI Practice, investigating Wageningen University & Research as a case study;
  • Innovation models for economic paradigms not oriented at sustained growth;
  • The responsibility of technology and engineers for eliciting human behaviour. Auke has developed this topic in his PhD research;
  • Responsibility in energy systems and energy transitions, particularly in the global South. Auke has developed this topic in NWO MVI projects on biofuel production in Tanzania, and on developing and implementing smart grids in India.

All Auke’s publications can be accessed at his site at



  • Pols, A.J.K. (2017). May stakeholders be involved in design without informed consent? The case of Hidden Design. Science and Engineering Ethics 23(3), 723-742.
  • Pols, A.J.K. and Romijn, H.A. (2017). Evaluating irreversible social harms. Policy Sciences 50(3), 495-518.


  • de Hoop, E., Pols, A.J.K. and Romijn, H.A. (2016). Limits to Responsible Innovation. Journal of Responsible Innovation 3(2), 110-134.


  • Pols, A.J.K. (2015). Affordances and use plans: an analysis of two alternatives to function-based design. Artifical Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 29(3), 239-247.
  • Pols, A.J.K. (2015). The Rationality of Biofuel Certification: A Critical Examination of EU Biofuel Policy. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28(4), 667-681. DOI 10.1007/s10806-015-9550-2.
  • Balkema, A.J. and Pols, A.J.K. (2015). Biofuels; Sustainable innovation or gold rush? Identifying responsibilities for biofuel innovations. In: E. J. Koops, I. Oosterlaken, H. A. Romijn, T. E. Swierstra and J. Van den Hoven (eds.), Responsible Innovation, vol. 2, 283-303. Dordrecht, Springer.
  • Pols, A.J.K. and Spahn, A. (2015). Design for the Values of Democracy and Justice. In J. van den Hoven, I. van de Poel and P. Vermaas (Eds.) Handbook of Ethics, Values and Technological Design: Sources, Theory, Values and Application Domains, pp. 335 – 364. Dordrecht: Springer.



  • Pols, A.J.K. 2013. Certification for sustainable biofuels. In: H. Röcklinsberg and P. Sandin (Eds.) The ethics of consumption: The citizen, the market and the law, pp. 77-82. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • Pols, A.J.K. 2013. Choosing your poison and the time of a killing. Philosophical Studies 165(3), 719-733. DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9975-7.
  • Pols, A.J.K. 2013. How Artefacts Influence Our Actions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16(3), 575-587. DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9377-0. available online
  • Houkes, W.N. and Pols, A.J.K. (2013). Plans for Modeling Rational Acceptance of Technology. In: D. Goldberg, N. McCarthy and D. Michelfelder (Eds.). Philosophy and Engineering: Reflections on Practice, Principles, and Process. Dordrecht: Springer.


  • Pols, A.J.K. 2012. “Characterising affordances: The descriptions-of-affordances-model” Design Studies 33, 113-125. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2011.07.007 available online


  • Pols, A.J.K. 2011. Acting with Artefacts. Dissertation. Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology. available online
  • Pols, Auke J.K., and Wybo Houkes. 2011. “What is morally salient about enhancement technologies?” Journal of Medical Ethics 37(2): 84-87. available online


  • Pols, A.J.K. 2010. Transferring Responsibility Through Use Plans. In Philosophy and Engineering: An Emerging Agenda edited by I. van de Poel and D.E. Goldberg. Dordrecht: Springer.



  • Pols, A.J.K. 2014. In wereld met absolute schaarste gaat groei uiteindelijk altijd ten koste van een ander. Opiniestuk in Het Financieele Dagblad, 18 februari 2014.
  • Pols, A.J.K. and Romijn, H.A. (2014). Irreversible Social Change. In G. Collste and L. Reuter (Eds.) Proceedings from the 50th Societas Ethica Annual Conference 2013: Climate Change, Sustainability and an Ethics of an Open Future, August 22-25, 2013, Soesterberg, The Netherlands, pp. 79-99. Linköping, Sweden: Linköping University Electronic Press.
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