PhD Vacancy “carebots & the good life”

The Department of Philosophy of the University of Twente is looking for a

Ph.D. Student (M/F, fulltime)

for the project “Carebots and the good life: An anticipatory ethical analysis of human-robot interaction in (health) care”

This project, funded by the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, aims to anticipate and evaluate the role of robots and robotic systems in future (health) care systems and organizations by developing realistic near-future scenarios and by evaluating these scenarios in terms of their contribution to the good life. The focus will be on the ethical aspects of human-robot interaction in (health) care contexts. Will carebots enhance the quality of life of patients and the elderly, given that human-human interaction will often be substituted for human-robot interaction? The project will be embedded in the department of philosophy at the University of Twente and the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology.


A Master’s degree or equivalent degree in philosophy, preferably with a background in ethics, social philosophy or philosophy of technology (consideration will also be given to candidates with multidisciplinary degrees where philosophy is one of the contributing disciplines). Demonstrable interest in robotics and/or issues in health care (but previous work in this area is not required). Good analytical skills. Good communication skills in English, in writing as well as orally. Good team spirit. Creativity, open-mindedness and an ability to develop new ideas.


A four-year full-time Ph.D. position, preferably starting May 1, 2008. The gross salary is € 2.000,- in the first year going up to € 2.558,- in the fourth year (€ 27.456,- and € 35.699,- per annum, respectively, including vacation pay and end-of-year bonus).

Information and application

A full project description can be retrieved here. For questions about the project you can contact dr. Mark Coeckelbergh (e-mail: {encode=”” title=””}).
Your application should contain the following documents:

  • a letter of application which explains your interest in the position,
  • your qualifications for it and some suggestions on how you would want to approach the project;
  • a curriculum vitae which includes the name and e-mail address/telephone number of one of your professors, preferably the supervisor of your master’s thesis;
  • a copy of your master’s thesis;
  • copies of academic publications, if any;
  • an academic transcript that contains a list of subjects taken and grades received (this may be an unofficial version or scanned copy)

Your application can be sent by e-mail (preferred) or by normal post to dr. ir. J.F.C. Verberne (e-mail: {encode=”” title=””}), managing director of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands. Please mention the vacancy number 08/050.

Your application should be in by March 17, 2008. Job interviews will be held on March 26 and/or 27. Women are strongly encouraged to apply.

Information on the employer

University of Twente

The University of Twente is an entrepreneurial research university, located in Enschede, the Netherlands. Distributed over 5 faculties, the UT offers 20 educational programmes ranging from applied physics and public administration to communication studies and biomedical technology. Research takes place within the context of institutes and focuses, among other things, on nanotechnology, information and communication technology, biomedical technology, policy studies, human behaviour, and mechanics, processes and control. More than 7,500 students and 2,700 staff members live, work and recreate at the UT, the Netherlands’ only campus university.

Faculty of Behavioural Sciences

The Faculty of Behavioural Sciences offers the following Bachelor programmes: Educational Design, Media and Management (EDMM), Communication Studies (TCW) and Psychology (PSY), the following Master programmes: Educational Science and Technology (EST), Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (PSTS), Communication Studies (CS), Psychology (PSY) a Research Master and two Masters for Teachers. Most of the faculty’s research is carried out within the Institute for Behavioral Research (IBR), and focuses on the themes Health and Safety, Labor and Organization, Knowledge and Education and Communication and Media. Furthermore, research is carried out within the Biomedical Institute (BMTI) and the Institute for Information and Communication Technology (CTIT).

Department of Philosphy

One of departments of the Faculty is the Department of Philosophy, which specializes in research in philosophy of technology, and includes the Centre for Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Science (CEPTES). The department also participates in the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology.

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