Dr. Ir.Oosterlaken, E.T. (Ilse)

* development ethics & global justice (& capability approach)
* ethics of technology & value sensitive design
* ethics & political philosophy
* technology in a development context
* responsible innovation

Cover_Oosterlaken_TechnologyHumanDevelopment_smallAs of Fall 2015,¬†Ilse Oosterlaken is no longer an¬†active member of 3TU.Ethics, and this site is no longer regularly maintained. For complete updates on Dr Oosterlaken’s work, please see here.



I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher (3 days/week) with the philosophy section of TU Delft. I am writing a book titled Technology and Human Development for the ‘Routledge Human Development and Capability Debates Series‘, which is loosely based on my doctoral dissertation.

In addition, I work at Erasmus University Rotterdam (2 days/week) as the assistant director of the OZSW, the Dutch Research School of Philosophy. The OZSW is a collaboration of 11 Dutch philosophy departments.


I publicly defended (see here) my doctoral dissertation (titled Taking a Capability Approach to Technology and Its Design – A Philosophical Exploration, download), on January 15th 2013. I graduated cum laude. For my work I received the DEWIS award 2013 for the best female doctoral student to have graduated from TU Delft in that year (my video pitch on this page starts at 5:22). This dissertation was written as part of the multidisciplinary research project Technology & Human Development – A Capability Approach, which runs from Sept. 2009 – July. 2015. The project was funded by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and I was co-applicant for the grant application.

To the left:
current/recent reading list.To the right:
old news related to my project,
and past events that I (co-)organized


My publications address different audiences, having appeared a.o. in the journals Design Issues, the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities and in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. Together with Jeroen van den Hoven I edited the volume The Capability Approach, Technology & Design, which appeared with Springer in April 2012. Abstracts of the chapters in this book can be found here. Below you can find a selection of my publications. For a full list of publications, see my CV (top of this page).


I have been a tutor at various engineering ethics courses for both bachelor and master students at Delft University of Technology. Occasionally I also give guest lectures or supervise master thesis research connected to my own research area.

Selection of other activities

I am currently an elected member of the Executive Council of the HDCA, the Human Development & Capability Association. I am also co-founder & co-coordinator of the HDCA thematic group ‘Technology & Design’. Previously I was the organizer of the 2011 HDCA conference, which took place in The Hague from 6-8 September 2011 (theme: ‘innovation, development & human capabilities’). For an extensive overview of my service to the profession, see my CV (top of this page).

Educational background

In addition to my doctoral degree in philosophy of technology from TU Delft, I have a B.A. in philosophy (with minor in journalism) from the University of Utrecht, where I was a part-time student from September 2003 until August 2007. Prior to that I studied ‘Technology & Society’ at Eindhoven University of Technology (combined B.Sc./M.Sc. degree, graduation in 2001). My areas of specialization within this program were (1) architecture / construction management and (2) technology & development studies. During my studies in Eindhoven, I gained international experience in Tanzania, South Africa and Thailand.

Previous work experience

From November 2006 to August 2009 I was communication/policy officer of 3TU.Ethics, working closely with and supporting its managing director and scientific director. In the period 2001-2007 I have a.o. worked for Eindhoven University of Technology as lecturer construction management & engineering, for HBO University Netherlands as lecturer in real estate management, and for EIRENE Nederland (a small Dutch peace and development organization) as volunteer coordinator & policy/communication officer.


Scroll to top