University of Twente

Postdoc position in theories of technology and ethics

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Job description

The aim of this postdoc project is to investigate how theories and approaches that concern the interactive relationship between technology and society and technology and human beings, as found in philosophy and STS in particular, can inform ethics, specifically the ethics of technology.  There will be a particular focus on socially disruptive technologies: technologies that transform everyday life, social institutions, cultural practices, and potentially even fundamental beliefs and values. The successful candidate will carry out at least three of the following investigations:

  • Critical assessment and comparison of the most promising theories and approaches in philosophy and STS on the interaction between technology and society (at micro, meso and/or macrolevels)
  • Critical assessment of theories of the relation between technological artifacts and impacts, and between artifacts and values
  • Analysis of the role of social structures, artifacts and other nonhuman entities in major theories and approaches in normative ethics
  • Investigation of implicit conceptions of the role and status of technology in different approaches in the ethics of technology (e.g., deterministic, neutral, or other)
  • Development of novel approaches to ethics of technology that incorporate theories of the relation between technology and society and of the relation between artifacts, impacts & values, and of the relation between social and technological structures and ethical issues.
  • Assessment of how different types of social disruption by technology raise different types of ethical issues (e.g., disruption of work practices, social institutions, cognitive processes)

This PhD postdoc position is part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (Esdit) programme (, a ten year long international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that has started in January 2020. This ten-year programme has a combined budget of € 27 million, and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, and by matching funds from the participating institutions. It 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. In Esdit, we aim to innovate the ethics of technology so that we can critically evaluate and guide the development, introduction and use of current and future socially disruptive technologies.

The main output for this postdoc consists of scientific publications.  The postdoc will also engage in investigations of the approaches used by researchers in the Esdit programme, and will engage in dialogue with other researchers, make recommendations regarding their approaches and methods, and potentially contribute to a whitepaper on methods and approaches.

Your profile

  • hold a Ph.D. in philosophy, science and technology studies (STS), or a related field;
  • have experience in research, which is apparent from publications in highly ranked academic journals, presentations at international scientific conferences, and other academic activities;
  • possess expertise relevant to the project
  • possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English, at least at C2 level.

Our offer

A two-year full-time postdoc position, starting as soon as possible, but no later than January 1st, 2023.  Gross salary is € 3.557,- to € 5.439,- per month, depending on experience. On top of this, you receive a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.  You will have a budget for traveling to TechEthos workshops and to international conferences.  We offer excellent auxiliary terms of employment, such as professional and personal development programs; a secondary remuneration package; a dynamic environment with enthusiastic colleagues; and an organization focusing on internationalization and a high degree of responsibility and independence.

Information and 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 position);
  • either a summary and table of contents of your dissertation or the entire dissertation.

For inquiries about the position, please email Philip Brey at or Jeroen Hopster at  Please apply via the link below. The application deadline is September 22nd, 2022. Interviews will be held shortly thereafter.

About the organization

The Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a key role in understanding, jointly developing and evaluating innovations in society. Technological developments are the engine of innovation. As a technical university that puts people first, we tailor them to human needs and behavior and use social engineering to integrate them into society. We also ensure adequate governance at public and private level, and robust, inclusive and fair organizational structures. We do this by developing, sharing and applying high-quality knowledge in Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Sciences, Philosophy, Educational Sciences and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines revolves around tackling and solving societal challenges. The research programs of BMS are closely linked to the research of the UT institutes Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the Faculty of BMS offers work that matters. We equip you to create new possibilities for yourself and for our society. With us, you will become part of a leading technical university with increasing, positive social impact. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial atmosphere, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example through our flexible, adaptable benefits.

Job details

Postdoc position in theories of technology and ethics
Drienerlolaan 5 Enschede, Netherlands
Application deadline
Job type
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