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Vacancy | Wageningen University & Research
Posted on April 21, 2023

Postdoctoral researcher in philosophy and ethics of technology

Your job

Do you want to follow your passion for philosophy and ethics of technology in a Post-doc project at Wageningen University (the Netherlands)? Are you an open-minded  academic who likes to collaborate with other researchers in the emerging field of ethics of digital technologies in general and AI in particular? Then we may have the perfect opportunity for you!

The Philosophy Group at Wageningen University & Research seeks a talented post-doc researcher in the field of philosophy and ethics of technology or Science and Technology Studies, doing philosophical and ethical investigations on the ethical, legal and societal aspects (ELSA) involved in digital technologies for sustainable agri-food systems..

In order to benefit from the potential of digital technologies like AI and digital twins, it is important that these technologies are ELSA-compliant. However, the road to ELSA-compliance is a challenging one. Policies and guidelines around responsible AI systems for instance call for the AI system “to be human-centred”, “transparent”, and “explainable”. These concepts suggest that there needs to be a human component as well a technical component in relation to each other: the concepts only become meaningful when they are employed relationally. For example, whether an AI system is properly explained depends on the human agent that interacts with it. However, how to understand this relation and how to operationalise this relation in AI design? This post-doc project aims to bridge this gap by approaching the design of ELSA compliant digital technologies from the relation between human agents and digital technologies. Bringing this relation to the foreground will allow us to account for the relational character of ELSA requirements and thereby provide a base for ELSA-compliant technology design. In order to achieve this, the project-doc research is part of two research projects. 1) The Modelling ELSA-compliant affordances in AI systems for Digital Twins is an internally funded interdisciplinary project and focusses on the philosophical reflection on the relational character of ELSA requirements. 2) Paving the way towards digitalisation enabling agroecology for European farming systems (PATH2DEA) is a European interdisciplinary project and concentrates on ELSA aspects of digital technologies that are employed in the context of agroecological farming.

Your qualities

As the successful candidate you:

  • hold a PhD in Philosophy, applied ethics, or STS, with affinity with (digital) technology;
  • are an enthusiastic, dedicated and engaged academic  who is well capable to work in interdisciplinary contexts;
  • like to explore fundamental questions in philosophy and ethics of technology;
  • have affinity with agro-ecology and sustainability in food systems
  • preferably have experience in conducting empirical research (interviews, focus groups;
  • excellent communication skills. This position requires an excellent English language proficiency (a mininum of CEFR C1 level).

Our postdoc researchers are encouraged to supervise MSc thesis students when such opportunities arise, and you will be involved in teaching activities.

We offer you

A challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of €2.960,- to a maximum of €4.670,- for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Wageningen University (scale 10). This position is for the period of 2 years.

In addition, we offer:

  • 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%;
  • holiday allowance of 8%;
  • excellent pension scheme;

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this function you can contact Prof. Dr. Vincent Blok,  by e mail : .
For more information about the procedure you can contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by email: .

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 is open up to and including the 15th of May, 2023. The first job interviews will take place in the first week of June 2023. The position is to start on 1 September 2023.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.
We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organisation. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & 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, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

The Philosophy Group focuses on ethical and epistemic issues involved in the relationship of humans with nature, animals, food and agriculture. The group aims to understand processes of ethical deliberation around science and technology in different societal and cultural settings.. The Post-doc is embedded in the research group of prof. 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 prof. dr. Vincent Blok, prof. dr. Ricardo da Silva Torres, dr. Sanneke Kloppenburg and dr. Paulan Korenhof.

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

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Solliciteer nu / Apply now

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