Full Professor Ethics of Technology (1,0fte) (V39.3337)

Full Professor Ethics of Technology (1,0fte)

The Philosophy and Ethics group at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands seeks a full professor in Ethics of Technology, with specific interests in ethical issues concerning smart systems, robotics and artificial intelligence.
Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences
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Reference number

Job description

Institutional Setting
The position is embedded in the Philosophy & Ethics (P&E) group at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The group is part of the School of Innovation Sciences, one of the two schools of the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS). Research at TU/e concerns key new technologies. The university is aware of the implications these technologies can have for human lives and society, including their potential to advance or to compromise the values we cherish as a society (e.g. fairness, privacy, justice). Incorporating these values in the design and development of new technologies requires active contributions by researchers in the social sciences and humanities as well as scientists working in the engineering domains. The department of IE&IS forms the heart of the university’s commitment to the social sciences and humanities in preparing future engineers for the challenges of tomorrow.

Research at the School of Innovation Sciences is currently organized into three groups: (1) Human-Technology Interaction; (2) Philosophy & Ethics; (3) Technology, Innovation & Society. In all groups, research concerns how humans and societies bring about technological change, and how technological innovations change society and human behaviour. To investigate the many mutual interactions between humans, society and technology, research spans across fields such as cognitive and social psychology, history and philosophy of technology, and economics of innovation. The aim is to contribute both to research in the humanities and social sciences, and to the design and governance of technological innovations by all relevant stakeholders.

Research in the P&E group takes place at the interface between fundamental philosophical issues and the real-world problems that arise from the design, implementation, use and regulation of innovative technologies. Research areas to which the P&E group primarily seeks to contribute are: (applied) ethics, meta-ethics, philosophy of science and technology, epistemology, and metaphysics. Relevant areas of application include medical technology, energy systems, and robotics. Philosophical research in the group is informed by empirical work on design, use and innovation, including the social, psychological and economic mechanisms that shape these activities; hence multidisciplinary cooperation is integral to it.

The full professor is expected to do research in the broad field of ethics of technology, at the interface between fundamental philosophical issues and problems arising in the design, implementation, use and regulation of technology. Sample issues include: How can we see to it that emerging and converging technologies and infrastructures express our considered moral judgments and widely endorsed public values? How can we assess our technologies in the light of public moral values like sustainability, autonomy, safety, justice, privacy, and fairness? How are our norms and values affected by technological developments? The research by the full professor should offer original, internationally recognized ways of addressing these issues, with good opportunities for acquiring external funding and establishing multi-disciplinary collaborations.

Specifically, the full professor should have a track record of research in information ethics, or show high potential for developing research lines on ethical issues concerning smart systems, robotics and artificial intelligence. TU/e wishes to further strengthen its profile as a centre for excellent research on the information-driven society. The full professor is expected to make an active contribution to this in the context of TU/e’s Strategic Areas (Energy, Health, Smart Mobility) and research centres, such as the High-Tech Systems Centre, the Data Science Centre and the Centre for Humans and Technology.

The P&E group is responsible for a large number of courses in the TU/e Bachelor College as well as in the Graduate School. The full professor is expected to strengthen the humanities component in academic curricula at TU/e and represent the social sciences and humanities in discussions regarding TU/e’s educational profile. S/he will take the lead in developing, coordinating and teaching courses in which ethical theories and concepts are applied to technology design and implementation.

The full professor will contribute to leading the P&E research program and the P&E group. S/he will serve in group-, school-, and university-level committees and help to strengthen the department's Strategic Themes and the university’s Strategic Areas. S/he will contribute to the management of the 4TU.Centre for Ethics of Technology, which is currently coordinated by the P&E group.

The academic culture in the P&E group is characterized by collegial decision-making, and strong collaboration at the group-, school- and university level; the managerial style of the full professor should reflect this.


  • Conducts internationally leading research in ethics and technology
  • Contributes actively to strengthening TU/e’s research on the information-driven society
  • Initiates, acquires funding for, and leads (multidisciplinary) research projects
  • Strengthens TU/e’s Research Centres and Strategic Areas
  • Communicates with societal stakeholders and the general public about ethics research
  • Teaches courses in the Bachelor College and Graduate School at TU/e
  • Initiates and participates in course development
  • Plays a leading role in, and represents the humanities- and social-science component in the Bachelor College
  • Serves in management of P&E, the 4TU Centre for Ethics and Technology and IE&IS as needed

Job requirements

  • PhD in philosophy
  • Area of specialization: ethics (meta-ethics, normative ethics)
  • Strong track record of research in information ethics, or commitment and abilities to develop such research
  • Affinity with other application areas relevant to the P&E group (energy, health, mobility)
  • Strong academic reputation, demonstrated by high-quality publications, keynote lectures, editorial-board memberships, etc.
  • Proven ability to cross disciplinary boundaries between the humanities, social sciences, and engineering sciences
  • Proven ability to acquire and manage externally funded research projects
  • Proven ability to supervise PhD students
  • Strong track record in designing, coordinating and teaching courses at Bachelor and Master level
  • Experience in management of professionals, characterized by an inspiring, collegial, and effective style, aimed at developing people and creating synergy
  • Proven ability to reach out to the general public and to societal stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal and communicative skills

Conditions of employment

We offer:

  • a challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious group and department;
  • a full-time appointment;
  • a gross monthly salary in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), depending on experience and knowledge;
  • a yearly holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary;
  • a yearly end year allowance of 8.3% of the yearly salary;
  • a broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, savings schemes, and excellent sports facilities).

Women in Science
TU/e strives towards a diversified workforce at all function levels. Part of this endeavor is to appoint more talented women to scientific positions. The Women in Science (WISE) network at TU/e is very actively promoting to share knowledge and experience which may further assist newly appointed female scientific staff in their further professional and personal development.

Information and application

Department of Philosophy and Ethics: p-e.ieis.tue.nl/.
4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology: ethicsandtechnology.eu/.
Eindhoven University of Technology: www.tue.nl/
If you need more information about the tasks and requirements for this position please contact the chair of the P&E group, Wybo Houkes: w.n.houkes@tue.nl
Information about the terms of employment can be obtained from Kim van Puijenbroek, HR Advisor: k.a.g.m.v.puijenbroek@tue.nl

Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):

  • Cover letter where you motivate your interest in the vacancy;
  • An extensive curriculum vitae including: a complete list of publications; a teaching portfolio including teaching evaluations (if available); PhD supervision; and an overview of acquired substantial research funding. 

If you are interested, we invite you to apply before June 23, 2018. To apply please use the “apply now” button. Please note that a maximum of 5 documents of 2 Mb each can be uploaded, so if you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them. Please do not send us applications by e-mail.