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

Ilse Oosterlaken
Visiting address

Mail address




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.


Scientific publications (selection)


  • Oosterlaken, I. (forthcoming). “Design and Individual Human Capabilities - A Capability Approach to Design for Values" In: Handbook of Ethics, Values and Technological Design, eds. J. van den Hoven, I. van de Poel & P. Vermaas. Dordrecht: Springer. click to open pdf
  • Oosterlaken, I. (forthcoming). “ICT4D and Ethics.” In: Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society, eds. A. Peng Hwa & R. Mansell. London: Wiley-Blackwell (under contract).
  • Oosterlaken, I. (forthcoming). “Towards an Ethics of Technology and Human Development.” In: Engineering Ethics in a Globalized World, eds. C. Murphy, P. Gardoni, E. Harris et al. Dordrecht: Springer (under contract).


  • Oosterlaken, Ilse (2014). "Applying Value Sensitive Design (VSD) to Wind Turbines and Wind Parks: An Exploration". In: Science and Engineering Ethics, DOI 10.1007/s11948-014-9536-x click to open pdf


  • Oosterlaken, Ilse (2013). "Taking a Capability Approach to Technology and Its Design; A Philosophical Exploration" (doctoral dissertation, ISBN 978-90-386-3273-5). In: Simon Stevin Series in the Ethics of Technology, eds. Philip Brey, Peter Kroes & Anthonie Meijers. Delft: 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology.
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2013. "Is Pogge a capability theorist in disguise? A critical examination of Thomas Pogge's defence of Rawlsian resourcism". Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 16(1):pp.205-215; DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9344-9. click to open pdf


  • Oosterlaken, Ilse; David Grimshaw & Pim Janssen. 2012. "Marrying the capability approach with appropriate technology and STS - The case of podcasting devices in Zimbabwe". In: The Capability Approach, Technology and Design (eds. Ilse Oosterlaken & Jeroen van den Hoven). Dordrecht: Springer. available online
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2012. "Inappropriate artefacts, unjust design? "Human diversity as a key concern in the capability approach and inclusive design". In: The Capability Approach, Technology and Design (eds. Ilse Oosterlaken & Jeroen van den Hoven). Dordrecht: Springer. available online
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2012. "The capability approach, technology and design; Taking stock and looking ahead". In: The Capability Approach, Technology and Design (eds. Ilse Oosterlaken & Jeroen van den Hoven). Dordrecht: Springer. available online



  • Oosterlaken, I. (2010). “Applying Sen’s capability approach to technological artifacts & engineering design – accounting for human diversity”. In: Copenhagen Working Papers on Design // 2010 // No. 2 (Plenary sessions & supplementary items of the CEPHAD 2010 Conference, Copenhagen, Jan. 27–29, 2010). Copenhagen: The Danish Design School (ISBN 87-985478-6-0).
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2010. Diseño de tecnologí­a para el desarrollo humano - un enfoque de capacidades. En: Tecnologí­a para el Desarrollo Humano, Ayuda Humanitaria y Emergencias. Actas de las jornadas. 7 y 8 de mayo de 2009. Editor: Centro de Cooperación al Desarrollo, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. Valencia: Editorial UPV (ISBN: 978-84-8363-536-0). click to open pdf


  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2009. "Design for Development; A Capability Approach". In: Design Issues, 25(4). available online
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2009. Human development and technology: some observations on the responsibility of engineers and the role of (development) ethicists. In: VIII Congreso internacional de IDEA Ética del desarrollo humano y justicia global Instituciones y ciudadanos responsables ante el reto de la pobreza, Valencia, del 2 al 4 de diciembre de 2009. Valencia: Nau Llibres (ISBN: 978-84-7642-791-0). click to open pdf

Professional/Popular publications (selection)



  • Oosterlaken, I. 2013. “Waardenbewust Ontwerpen in Wind Energie.” In: WindNieuws (augustus 2013), uitgave van de Stichting ODE Projecten. click to open pdf


  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2012. "Introduction: The Capability Approach and Innovation/Technology/Design." In: theme issue on this topic of Maitreyee, the e-bulletin of the Human Development & Capability Association (HDCA).


  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2010. "Autonomer én afhankelijker". Review of 'In de Greep van de Technologie; Nieuwe Toepassingen en het Gedrag van de Burger', edited by Marguerite van den Berg, Corien Prins en Marcel Ham. In: Sociologie 6(3), 102-104.
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2010. Review of "Philosophy and Engineering - An Emerging Agenda", edited by Ibo van de Poel and David Goldberg. In: Science and Engineering Ethics, 16(3), 629-630.


  • Bolkestein, Frits, Jeroen Van den Hoven, Ibo Van de Poel, and Ilse Oosterlaken, eds. 2009. De politiek der dingen. De verwevenheid van ethiek en technologie Budel: Damon.
  • Heersmink, Richard & Oosterlaken, Ilse (2009). Responsible Innovation; An International Inventory of Research Activities and Knowledge Dissemination Pathways. Delft: TU Delft (report for NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research).
  • Oosterlaken, Ilse. 2009. “Racistische viaducten; Langdon Winner over politiek en techniek” In: De Politiek der Dingen. Frits Bolkestein, Jeroen van den Hoven, Ibo van de Poel en Ilse Oosterlaken (eds). Budel: Damon.
  • Verbeek, Peter-Paul; Hoven, Jeroen van den & Oosterlaken, Ilse (2009). "Ethics and Technology: Responsible Innovation and Value Sensitive Design". In: Omgevingsanalyses van de gezamenlijke researchcentra van de 3TU.Federatie. Delft/Eindhoven/Twente: 3TU.Federation. available online