Postdoctoral researcher in Ethics, Well-Being and Data Science (3 years, University of Twente)

NEWEL project – The New Science of Existential Well-being: Concepts, Ethics and Responsible Algorithms

University of Twente

The position is part of the project ‘NEWEL – The New Science of Existential Well-being: Concepts, Ethics and Responsible Algorithms,’ which is jointly funded by Ahold Delhaize and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), which also includes researchers in data science and analytics, artificial intelligence, and economics.

The NEWEL Project

The NEWEL research agenda will

  1. explore the need, relevance and justness of focusing on well-being in organizations and organizational decision-making, also compared to achieving other objectives within organizations;
  2. explore key drivers of current and future aspects of work-related well-being, including identification of long-term effectiveness of interventions to increase well-being within organizations and core ethical guidelines for sustainable well-being policies, and
  3. explore the ethics of using technology in gathering, processing and data driven decision making on well-being in organizations.

Envisaged tangible outcomes of the project include guidelines for using big data and well-being data in organizations to inform policy as well as software prototypes for analysing work-related survey and theoretical and empirical contributions on the relationship between employee well-being and organizational performance.

Within the NEWEL project, the work will focus on algorithms and ethics of data-driven well-being interventions. The people on this project will be based at different academic locations and the team as a whole will have regular meetings at Ahold Delhaize’s Zaandam offices.

Your profile

Position: Ethics of Big Data and Data Driven Well Being Interventions in Organizations (Postdoc in Ethics)

The postdoctoral researcher is expected to contribute primarily to the third research line: explore the ethics of using technology in gathering, processing and data driven decision making on well-being in organizations. In particular, the postdoc will explore how to responsibly gather, analyze and interpret big data, especially related to employee behavior and well-being. In addition, he/she will explore the need, relevance, and justness of focusing on employee well-being in organizational decision-making, also compared to achieving other values and objectives within organizations. For what subtypes of organizations is the pursuit of employee well-being needed, relevant and justifiable for different groups of employees? What kind of role work plays in the life of people and how important it is for individual well-being or satisfaction with life as a whole, also compared to other values and goals in life? Which questions to emphasize the most will be decided together with the other research partners and in line with the candidates prior experience and expertise.

You hold a PhD (or will acquire one by the time of appointment) in philosophy or related disciplines with a significant ethics component, preferably with a specialization in philosophy and ethics of well-being, ethics of big data and/or organizational ethics. You have a track record of relevant publications in peer-reviewed, international journals, and have relevant international experience. You are willing and able to collaborate with researchers in the field of big data analytics, and you preferably have experience working with social scientists. You have an excellent command of the English language. You have good analytical skills, are creative, open-minded and possess the ability to develop new ideas. You have good communication skills and are a good team player. You are prepared to move to the Netherlands, to the region where the University of Twente is located.

You are expected to produce (or strongly contribute towards) the following deliverables:

  • 4 peer-reviewed journal papers, in addition to professional papers, on Philosophy/Ethics of Individual Well-Being in Organizations;
  • Help organize workshop for stakeholders in academia, business and public policy;
  • Write paper on ethics of collection and analysis of Big Data within organizations with a specific focus on well-being data.

Further information 

Location: This position is based at the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente

Contact: Prof. Philip Brey T: +31 (0)53 489 4426 (

Our offer


You are appointed postdoc (full-time) for a period of three years. Your office and appointment will be at the Philosophy Department at UT, but you are also expected to work closely with Ahold Delhaize researchers. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labor Agreement for Universities (CAO). Depending on relevant background and experience, the gross monthly salary on a full time basis ranges from € 3,312 up to a maximum of € 3,555. Starting date is April 1st, 2017 (earlier or later date negotiable). Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus. We offer excellent auxiliary terms of employment, such as professional and personal development programs; a secondary remuneration package; a dynamic environment with enthusiastic colleagues; an organization focusing on internationalization and a high degree of responsibility and independence.

Job application

Your application should include the following documents:

  • a cover letter which explains your interest in the position and your qualifications for it;
  • a curriculum vitae which includes the name and e-mail address/telephone number for at least two references;
  • a writing sample (preferably a published article related to the postdoc area);
  • a summary and table of contents of your dissertation (or the entire dissertation).

Applications (including curriculum vitae, list of publications) should be uploaded via The application deadline is 29 January 2017. Interviews will be held early February. Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

Starting date is April 1st, 2017 (earlier or later date negotiable).

About the University of Twente

We stand for science and technology, high tech, human touch, education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programs. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research. The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences strives to hold a leading position in their fields in relation to the science and technology research programs of the University of Twente. In all these fields, the faculty provides bachelor, master and professional development programs.

The department of philosophy The department of philosophy at the University of Twente ( is internationally leading in the philosophy and ethics of technology. At a recent research evaluation of philosophy programs in the Netherlands, it ranked highest in the area of ethics and practical philosophy. The department currently includes eight tenured/tenure-track staff members, three postdocs, ten PhD students, and several part-time faculty. The department participates in and directs the interuniversity 4TU.Center for Ethics and Technology ( Both the department and the Center have a strong international orientation and include members from many different nationalities. The department’s research has a strong focus on ethics of emerging technologies (including ICT and robotics, biomedical and neurotechnologies and environmental technologies), and the philosophy and ethics of human-technology relations, amongst other topics.

Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) of the University o of Twente strives to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. Through ‘social engineering’ these technological advances are embedded in society befitting human needs and behaviour, within proper public and private management and business structures. For this the faculty of BMS upholds high quality disciplinary knowledge in psychology, business administration, public administration, communication science, philosophy, educational science and health sciences. All with a focus on the challenges in society. Research is strongly connected to our Institutes on Governance (IGS), ICT (CTIT), Health (MIRA) and Nanotechnology (MESA+).

For two other vacancies in the NEWEL project, please click here.