Postdoc: Responsible Collection and Analysis of Personal Data for Justice and Security

Postdoc: Responsible Collection and Analysis of Personal Data for Justice and Security


Faculty/department Technology, Policy and Management
Level PhD degree
Maximum employment 32 hours per week (0,8 FTE)
Duration of contract 23 months
Salary scale: maximum 4084 euros per month gross (scale 10) depending on (work) experience


Technology, Policy and Management 


The Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management contributes to sustainable solutions for technical challenges in society by combining the insights from engineering with the humanities and the social sciences.


The Department of Values, Technology and Innovation (VTI) focuses on the value dimension of comprehensive engineering, the overarching research theme of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM). It uniquely comprises philosophers, economists and risk scholars. It studies how to develop and diffuse responsible technological innovations that reflect deeply held social and moral values. The department is one of the largest groups in the world studying value aspects, economics and risks for a wide range of sociotechnical systems. The department plays a leading role nationally and internationally in research in responsible innovation and design for values.


The Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section is one of three sections within the VTI Department. The section plays a central role worldwide in research on ethics and philosophy of technology. The section participates in the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, a world-leading centre in the ethics of technology. The research of the section covers a broad spectrum, ranging from applied research in collaboration with engineering scholars, experimental and empirical ethics in collaboration with social scientists, and foundational research in meta-ethics, risk theory, methodology, ontology and philosophy of science, technology and design. The ethics research programme focuses specifically on design for values, risk ethics, and responsible innovation. The Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section provides for service teaching at all engineering programs of TU Delft, primarily in ethics but also in philosophy of engineering methodology and philosophy of science.


Job description


The postdoc will study how transparency of data collection and handling can best be dealt with in the context of justice and security; we will conduct several case studies to provide recommendations to combine and balance transparency with other values, such as accountability, security, fairness, autonomy, accuracy and confidentiality. The research will be carried out by TU Delft and TNO in close collaboration with the Ministry for Justice and Security.


The research will focus on the (semi)automatic collection of large amounts of data from different sources, on the (semi)automatic analysis of these data, and on the practical application of the findings from these analyses (‘in the field’). Moreover, we will focus on the role of algorithms (Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence) and on their understandability, explainability, accuracy and fairness—in order to be able to detect and combat, e.g., unwanted biases or discrimination.


Part of the research will be conceptual; e.g., the clarification of relevant values (e.g., transparency, accountability, security, fairness, accuracy, confidentiality and autonomy) and of the ways in which these values play out in the context of justice and security, and in relation to each other. Another part of our research will be empirical and will be carried in close collaborate with people form the Ministry’s “Living Lab Big Data”. Three case studies will be carried out that focus on experiments in this Living Lab, involving, e.g., workshops and interviews, and the development of scenarios, demonstrators, and experiments.




We are looking for applicants with the following qualifications:

  • PhD degree in relevant discipline, like for example philosophy, ethics, law or science and technology studies (STS) with a focus on a relevant topic like ICT, privacy, or big data.
  • Good conceptual skills.
  • Preferably experience with empirical research.
  • Willingness to engage with relevant stakeholders like the Ministry for Justice and Security.
  • Good organisational skills and ability to keep deadlines.
  • Good English skills.
  • Proficiency of Dutch or willingness to acquire it.
  • Flexibility and readiness to work in teams.


Conditions of employment


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.


Information and application


For more information about this position, please contact Ibo van de Poel, . A more detailed description of the project is available on request. To apply, please e-mail a detailed letter of application, a curriculum vitae including publication list, the names and contact information of references and a sample of published academic work by March, 19 to  . When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number ATTBM 18.004.


Interviews with a limited number of applicants will presumably be held in March 2018. The intended starting date is April 2018.




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