Ph.D. position – Rethinking ownership and responsibility in wastewater technologies

The Ethics/Philosophy of Technology Section of Delft University of Technology is looking for a Ph.D. candidate who is eager to contribute to the ethically desirable implementation of wastewater technologies, focusing on ownership and responsibility.

Ph.D. position

The objective of the project is to gain insight into the socio-ethical considerations that are relevant for the ethically desirable implementation of wastewater technologies. The research question is how to rethink ownership and responsibility in the transition to a circular biobased economy, focusing on wastewater technologies particularly. The Ph.D. candidate will focus on (philosophically) identifying relevant notions of ownership and responsibility using the literature on the subject. As part of the project, the Ph.D. candidate will look at how relevant notions of ownership can be included in the design of wastewater technologies, and what this implies for the implementation of these technologies at the system level.

Research setting

This Ph.D. position will be part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies program, a new ten-year-long international research program of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that has started in January 2020. This program has a combined budget of € 27 million and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, and by matching funds from the participating institutions. The duration is from January 2020 to December 2029. The program has the aim of achieving breakthrough research at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology/engineering, and social sciences, and to position its consortium at the top of its field internationally. A key objective is to investigate how new technologies challenge moral values and ontological concepts (like “nature”, “human being”, and “community”), and how these challenges necessitate a revision of these concepts. The program includes four research lines, “Nature, life and human intervention” (nature-line), “The future of a free and fair society”, “The human condition” and “Synthesis: Ethics of Technology, Practical Philosophy, and Modern Technology-Driven Societies”. More about the ESDT research program and its four research lines can be found at This Ph.D. position is situated in the nature-line of the Gravitation program.


  • You will have completed, prior to appointment, a Master’s degree or equivalent degree in Applied Ethics or Science and Technology Studies. Other Master’s degrees will also be considered if you have demonstrable expertise in conceptual problems and approaches to normative justification, in close connection with the themes of the research project.
  • You have proven affinity with the application domains wastewater, biotechnology, or circular biobased technology.
  • Relative to experience, you have excellent research skills and excellent academic writing and presentation skills.
  • You can work both independently and as part of a team.
  • You have a high level of proficiency in English.

More information on the project, including information on how to apply, can be found at:


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