Postdoc in the Ethical Impact of Technology on Society

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 07 Jan 2024

Challenge: Carrying out ethical and societal analyses of quantum technology applications.
Change: Finding global solidarity for the ethical development of emerging technologies.
Impact: Making recommendations that shape the development of ethically sound quantum technology applications.

There’s been a lot of fake news and fear-mongering around emerging technologies. But what is true is that they will substantially transform existing tech and impact our society in various ways. Imagine the life-saving medical applications of quantum sensors, the data-crunching capabilities of quantum computing, and the encryption possibilities of quantum internet, for instance. As a postdoc at TU Delft, you will work with a pioneering academic team to conduct ethical and societal analyses related to these technologies. You will explore the impact of quantum technologies in the initial phases of their development and study the increasingly polarising geopolitical competition for access to these technologies.

For the duration of your postdoc (2.5 years), you will be part of a supportive, multicultural team led by Dr Pieter Vermaas, in the Ethics/Philosophy of Technology department at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at TU Delft. One of your core tasks will be figuring out how to fairly allocate the computing time of the first European quantum computers made available by the European Quantum Flagship programme, taking contemporary geopolitics, ethics and international solidarity into account. In this role, you will also work with the Dutch Centre for Quantum and Society to develop tools that measure the impact of quantum technologies. Based on your collaborative research, you will make ethical recommendations to funding agencies, industry, policy and other actors guiding the R&D of these technologies. So doing, you will help to make quantum technology more globally inclusive, now and in the future.

You have a background in ethics or philosophy and share our mission to make an impact for a better society. As a born communicator, you can handle the social engineering challenge of getting the engine of collaboration running between researchers, international organisations and TU Delft. This will be required to make a difference. You are passionate about sustainable development goals and the ethical impacts of technology. While knowledge of quantum technologies is preferred, it is not required. Because you will be working in an international environment, you have a good command of English and excellent academic writing skills. You also have:

  • A PhD in the Ethics of Technologies, STS, Technology Management, or a related, relevant field.
  • Experience with the ethical evaluation of technologies.
  • The ability to expand and constructively collaborate within multidisciplinary research teams.
  • An interest in participating in interdisciplinary educational activities.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

If you would like to know more about this role, contact Pieter Vermaas, Researcher at [email protected]

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values  and we actively engage  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

 Challenge. Change. Impact!

The Faculty of TPM provides an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. TPM does this with its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy. We combine insights from both engineering and social sciences as well as the humanities. TPM develops robust models and designs, is internationally oriented and has an extensive network of knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click here  to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.

For more information about the recruitment process, please reach out to Olive Beek, HR Advisor at [email protected] .

At TU Delft we value diversity and inclusion and we would therefore like to encourage candidates from underrepresented groups in academia to apply.

Are you our new postdoc researcher? Upload a 2-page application letter including your relevant skills, motivation and contact details, as well as a CV using the application button below. Please address your application to Dr Pieter Vermaas, research lead ethics of quantum technologies.

Please also add the following documents to your application:

  • Publication list.
  • A paper you have authored that demonstrates your skills.
  • Copy of your PhD degree and transcript.
  • Names and contact information of at least two relevant references.
  • Please apply before January 7, 2024. We plan to fill this position quickly and we will contact suitable candidates as soon as possible. Therefore, preliminary interviews may be conducted before the deadline.


    • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
    • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
    • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

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