PostDoc on STEM practices wrt ethics of socially disruptive technologies

As part of the inter-university research consortium, “Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDiT)” the Human-Technology Interaction group of Eindhoven University of Technology is looking to hire a postdoc for a three-year project on ‘A qualitative investigation of STEM perspectives on relevant ethical knowledge, concerns, and practices associated with socially disruptive technologies.’
The aim of this postdoc project is to perform a multi-method empirical investigation and philosophical analysis of the ethical practices and mechanisms (e.g., safeguards, guidelines) employed by current scientific thought leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, CEOs, entrepreneurs and technical experts in relevant high-tech/biotech industries in order to create ethical awareness, assess ethical drivers and barriers, and raise ethical concerns. This includes the current form of ethical knowledge within high-tech environments, the role that ethical considerations play in pursuing, altering or discontinuing certain technological pursuits, and the extent to which ethical notions, considerations and practices are impacting current and future technology R&D, including the societal introduction and use of high-tech products and services. There will be a special emphasis on the extent to which currently used ethical concepts, methods and recommendations connect well with the practices in STEM industry and policy regarding the disruptive or transformative potential and actual effects of technology.The postdoc will pursue independent research that engages these topics in a way that supports key research goals of the ESDiT consortium. This will involve cooperation with STEM representatives from inside and outside the ESDiT consortium, as well as cooperation with the other concurrent postdoc projects in the consortium, which are devoted to (1) distinguishing characteristics of socially disruptive technologies, (2) the nature of ethical conceptual change, and (3) methods of practical philosophy of emerging technologies.

This postdoc position is primarily a research appointment, focused on performing research and publishing research results, but the postdoc will be expected to contribute to relevant educational programmes at the intersection of the Human-Technology Interaction and Philosophy and Ethics groups (max. 0,1 – 0,2 FTE). The postdoc will be appointed within the Human-Technology Interaction group, which is part of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences (See ‘Organization’ below).

This postdoc position will be part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDiT) programme, a ten-year international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that has started in January 2020. This programme has a combined budget of €27 million, and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) 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 programme has the aim of achieving breakthrough research in 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 programme includes four research lines, ‘Nature, Life and Human Intervention’, ‘The Future of a Free and Fair Society’, ‘The Human Condition’ and ‘Foundations & Synthesis’.  This postdoc position will be situated within the Foundations & Synthesis research line.

More information about the research lines and the consortium as a whole is available here:


The successful candidate will have:

  • a Ph.D. degree in empirical philosophy, science & technology studies, or a closely related social science discipline (with philosophical affinity), by the time of appointment;
  • affinity and experience in applying qualitative methodologies, including interviews, co-creation workshops, or ethnographic methods, as well as technology assessment, especially in areas relevant to the ESDiT consortium;
  • a record (appropriate to career stage) of publications that demonstrates the ability to conduct research which is internationally recognized as contributing to the field;
  • the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, with good organisational and communication skills;
  • a creative and innovative approach to her/his work;
  • a willingness and aptitude for teaching in the area of philosophy and/or social science
  • proficiency in spoken and written English.


  • We offer a postdoc position, initially for a period of 12 months. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 24 months (3 years in total).
  • You will have free access to high-quality training programmes for academic leadership, the university teaching qualification programme, research and valorisation competencies.
  • Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary;
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse programme, an excellent on-campus children’s day care, and sports facilities.


More information

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. The Human-Technology Interaction group and the ESDiT research program encourage applications from women, scholars with disabilities, scholars from minority backgrounds, and other persons from groups that are currently underrepresented in philosophy. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
prof.dr. Wijnand IJsselsteijn, w.a.ijsselsteijn[at], or +31 40 247 4455.

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact
Kim Spinder – van Puijenbroek, (HR Advisor), pz.ieis[at], or +31 40 247 5102.

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application here. The application should include:

  • a brief cover letter discussing what interests you about this position, how your background prepares you to carry out your proposed research plan, and any information about your circumstances relevant to assessing your suitability for the position.
  • a curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications. Please include at the end the names and contact details of two referees whom we may contact;
  • a research plan, indicating how you propose to approach the research question posed in this description of the vacancy (no more than 750 words);
  • a key, relevant publication (max. 20 pages – you may also include selections from larger work)
  • course evaluations (if you have any).

The application deadline is September 15, 2021. Interviews will be scheduled late September, early October, and are likely to be conducted online (via Teams) – at least for the first round.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.

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