PhD position in Philosophy of Science in Practice

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 15 Jan 2024

  • Vacancies
  • PhD position in Philosophy of Science in Practice

  • Key takeaways

    The four-year PhD research project is fully funded, and hosted by the Philosophy of Science in Practice group at the University of Twente (The Netherlands). You will investigate methodologies and understanding of interdisciplinary research from philosophical and scientific practice perspectives, including social and human dimensions of interdisciplinary collaboration and modelling.

    The PhD position starts on April 1st 2024 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The PhD research project is part of the EU Horizon-EIC-2023-Pathfinder-Open project “Processing complex matrices: Description, Reaction-Separation, Modelling” (acronym DREAM). It will be embedded in the Philosophy of Technology section of the Technology, Police and Society (TPS) department, at the Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences (BMS) of the University Twente (UT, The Netherlands).

    The PhD candidate will be supervised by prof. Mieke Boon (promotor) and dr. Miles MacLeod (co-promotor). You will additionally benefit from a wider 4TU-network and international colleagues.

    Project Summary

    The overarching objective of the EU-DREAM-project is to develop a new vision on experimental and modelling strategies in efficient and lean development of bio-refineries in the sustainable transition towards circular economy. Such pioneering research that effectively advances breakthrough technologies faces several challenges to which the philosophy of science in practice can contribute: The production of knowledge useful for technological applications requires interdisciplinary research collaborations, which are challenged by (i) fundamental cognitive, epistemological, and methodological barriers, (ii) finding a balance between scientific depth and practical industrial applicability, (iii) research methodologies that enable to make choices based on the overarching goal instead of the logic and methodology of the individual disciplines. These challenges will be addressed by integrating philosophical and sociological research specialized in interdisciplinary research with chemistry (catalysis) and chemical engineering research.

    The challenge

    The philosophy of science in practice PhD research project forms a crucial, integral and connecting part of the EU-DREAM project. While the chemists and chemical engineers in this project conduct interdisciplinary research on the development of the sustainable technology, the philosophy of science PhD project (i) investigates the methodological and epistemological challenges of this interdisciplinary research, and (ii) contributes to the design and implementation of education to promote the methodological and human aspect of the interdisciplinary EU project. Some concepts from the philosophy of science and educational literature relevant to this PhD project are “disciplinary perspectives,” “scientific modelling,” “model-based-reasoning,” “research strategies,” “epistemology of interdisciplinary research,” “cognitive aspects of interdisciplinarity,” “epistemological beliefs,” “paradigms of science,” and “epistemological responsibility.” In addition to literature study and conceptual analysis, the PhD candidate will conduct ethnographic research in the international laboratories of this EU project. The contribution to course design and implementation will focus on gathering evidence on what works and what doesn’t to advance researchers’ ability to conduct successful interdisciplinary research.


    Information and application

    Are you interested to be part of our team? Please submit your application before January 15th 2024. Include:

    • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4) discussing your motivation to apply for this position, including how your background, interests and qualifications prepares you to carry out your proposed research plan, and any information about your circumstances relevant to assessing your suitability for the position.
    • A preliminary research plan, indicating how you propose to approach the research question posed in the description of the vacancy (no more than 750 words). Please contact us (Boon or MacLeod) for a more detailed description of the EU research project and the role of the philosophy of science in it.
    • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, the title and resume of your bachelor and master thesis. If applicable, a list of publications. Please also include the names and contact details of two referees whom we may contact.
    • University transcripts of your MSc education.
    • An IELTS-test, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT), or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE). Applicants with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet. TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).

    Additional information can be acquired via email from prof. Mieke Boon [email protected], or dr. Miles MacLeod [email protected].


    About the department

    At the department of technology, policy and society (TPS), we engage in research and education on the interplay between technology, society and policy, helping stakeholders to manage the opportunities and tensions between (new) technologies and changing societal needs.

    The TPS department is dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive working culture. Our aim is that all job applicants are given equal opportunities, When we select candidates for employment, it will be on the basis of their competence and ability. To support the workforce diversity, we are open to offer flexible working conditions on an individual basis to support work-life balance, that may include contract of employment, working hours and location, or child care arrangements.


    About the organisation

    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.



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