Neelke Doorn is distinguished Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor “Ethics of Water Engineering” at the Department of Philosophy of Delft University of Technology and former assistant director of the 3TU.Centre of Ethics and Technology. She has authored/co-authored over 80 peer reviewed publications. Together with Diane P. Michelfelder, Neelke is Editor-in-Chief of the peer reviewed journal Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology. Also with Diane, Neelke is editor of the forthcoming Handbook of Philosophy of Engineering, to be published winter 2020 with Routledge.
Neelke’s primary research is dedicated to moral questions in water governance and in relation to the management of environmental risks and climate change, which she studies through the lens of resilience. In 2013, she received a personal NWO Veni grant for her project The ethics of flood risk management. In 2019, she received a personal NWO Vidi grant for her project “Responsibility arrangements in resilience policy for climate adaptation”. In addition to these personal grants, Neelke works on several project grants funded under different NWO and H2020 schemes.
In the past years, she also received various grants within the NWO Responsible Innovation (in Dutch: Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren; MVI) scheme (two 375 kEuro grants in 2015 and a 500 kEuro grant in 2016). Her most recent MVI-grant is on crowd-based innovations, which are initiatives in which citizens collectively initiate activities, provide services, or arrange funding (e.g., local wind farms, community gardens, off-the-grid water treatment, repair cafes). These initiatives may provide opportunities for addressing societal challenges, but they may also pose significant challenges as they often occur in the context of traditional, well-established, institutional and governance structures and practices. The gap between these traditional structures and radically new initiatives prompts questions about how public values (quality, legitimacy, efficiency, equity) can be safeguarded. More information on the other MVI projects can be found on the website of the frugal innovation project and the Values4Water project.
Read more about Neelke’s research here. A recording of Neelke’s inaugural address “Values in water” can be viewed here. The full text of the address can be downloaded here (Dutch) and here (English).
Neelke has degrees in Civil Engineering (TU Delft 1997, BSc+MSc, cum laude), Philosophy (Leiden 2005, BA+MA, cum laude) and Law (Open University 2016, LLB+LLM, cum laude). In May 2011, she obtained her PhD degree from the TU Delft for her thesis on Moral Responsibility in R&D networks.
Past research and working experience
Neelke has ten years working experience as a research engineer in the field of coastal engineering (1998-2007). In 2007, Neelke joined the Philosophy Section of the TU Delft. Between 2006 and 2010, she was also affiliated to the Radboud University in Nijmegen, where she held a part-time research position at the Centre of Ethics focusing on global justice issues. Neelke spent the spring 2010 term as visiting researcher at the Philosophy Department of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, where she did research on the philosophy of risks. In 2011, Neelke was awarded a grant to spend two months at the Brocher Foundation, a Suisse private law Foundation that facilitates multidisciplinary research on the legal, social, and ethical aspects of medicine and new technologies.
Invited panelist at Carnegie Peacebuilding Conversations: Prevention of Conflicts arising from Natural Resources Distribution, Peace Palace, The Hague; September 25, 2018.
Invited panelist at climate debate; Dag van de Filosofie, Utrecht University; April 21, 2018.
Invited talk at Third Annual Bovay Engineering and Applied Ethics Conference ‘Ethical Risk Management: Theory and Practice’, Houston, Texas; April 9, 2018.
Invited talk at workshop “Applied water ethics”, DWSI – Dutch Water Sector Intelligence; November 9, 2017.
Invited talk at workshop “Ethics and Research”, Politecnico di Milano, Italy; October 19, 2017.
Seventh International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM7), Leeds, UK: “Compensation for spatial flood measures in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands: A social justice perspective”; September 5-7, 2017.
SPT 2017: 20th Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, Darmstadt, Germany: “Translating social resilience to engineering: How can resilient engineering systems contribute to social justice?”; June 14-17, 2017.
ECCA: 3rd European Climate Change Adaptation Conference, Glasgow, UK: “Distributing responsibilities for climate adaptation: The ideal of resilient societies”; June 5-9, 2017.
American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting 2017, Boston, USA: “Compensation for flood measures in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands: A social justice perspective”; April 5-9, 2017.
Invited talk at Wetenschap & Maatschappij symposium “Water and Climate Change”, Louvain/Leuven University, Belgium; March 1, 2017.
Invited talk at PhD course Philosophy of Risk, OZSW/4TU.Ethics, Eindhoven: “Distributing risks: Allocation principles for distributing reversible and irreversible consequences”; November 2, 2016.
FLOODrisk 2016: 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, Lyon, France: “Distributing responsibilities for safety from flooding”; October 17-21, 2016.
Other academic activities
Neelke has organized several international conferences and workshops, including the international conference on moral responsibility at TU Delft (August 24-27, 2009), the international workshop on “Ethics in the laboratory. Encouraging reflection through interdisciplinary collaboration” (together with Daan Schuurbiers and Ibo van de Poel) at TU Delft on October 22-23 2010, and the first international conference on Responsible Innovation in The Hague in April 2011. In 2012, Neelke initiated an international expert community on water ethics. More information can be found at her water website. In her position as board member of the Graduate School of the Department of Technology, Policy and Management at TU Delft, Neelke organized several PhD seminars with international speakers.
Neelke is regularly invited to give public talks about topics on the interface of technology, risk, and morality. She regularly publishes opinion pieces in national and national newspapers. She also published several blogs on the academic philosophy blog Bij Nader Inzien (in Dutch).