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Vacancy | Wageningen University & Research
Posted on March 28, 2022

PhD in Philosophy and Ethics of AI

We are looking for

Do you want to follow your passion for philosophy and Ethics of technology in a PhD study in our Philosophy group? Are you an openminded thinker who likes to collaborate with other researchers in an ambitious research project on the ethical, legal and social aspects of AI for sustainable food systems? The Philosophy Group seeks a talented PhD candidate in the field of philosophy and ethics of technology, doing philosophical and ethical investigations of AI for sustainable food systems and their applications. 

This PhD position is part of the AI for sustainable food systems (AI4SFS) laboratory, an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Dutch Research Council NWO that will start June, 1 2022. The AI4SFS project develops responsible and trustworthy AI in sustainable food systems through the development of an Ethical, Legal, Social Aspects (ELSA) lab. We will (a) develop insights into the ELSA challenges and opportunities related to AI applications for sustainable food systems, (b) design an ELSA lab methodology (including tools, (ethical and legal) guidelines and engagement strategies) for responsible AI for the agri-food sector, and (c) conduct multiple case studies where we will integrate ELSA aspects in AI (re)design. After the project, we will develop the ELSA lab into an independent hub for responsible AI for sustainable food systems.

The PhD is embedded in the Philosophy Chair Group and part of the research group of dr. Vincent Blok, who is involved in several National and International Research projects in the field of philosophy of technology and responsible innovation. See for more information about the research projects of the group. You will be supervised by dr. Vincent Blok, dr. Simone van der Burg and dr. Guido Camps.

We ask


  • you have an MSc degree in Philosophy or Ethics, with affinity with life sciences and digital technologies;
  • you are an enthusiastic, dedicated and engaged thinker who is well capable to work in interdisciplinary contexts and willing to collaborate with technical scientists/engineers and designers, as well as a broad range of stakeholders;
  • you like to explore both fundamental and applied questions in philosophy and ethics of digital technology/AI;
  • For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level.

Our PhD students are encouraged to spend a semester abroad. Also generous (conference) travel budgets are available for the position. Our PhD students are encouraged to supervise MSc thesis students when such opportunities arise, and you will be involved in teaching activities.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.
There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

More information

Do you want more information?
For more information please contact dr. Vincent Blok via  or dr. Simone van der Burg via 

For more information about the procedure, please contact Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via .

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 15th of April, 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews will take place 21th of April, 2022 in the morning.
The position is to start preferably on the 1st of June 2022.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named the best university of the Netherlands by students for the 17th time in a row.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

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