Five Assistant Professors in Social Science and Humanities

Five Assistant Professors in Social Science and Humanities

Published Deadline Location
18 May 12 Jun Enschede

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Job description

Platform “Strategic Intelligence for Digitalization of Societal Domains” (SI4DS)

Rethinking Digitalization for Societal and Individual Well-being!

The Department of Technology, Policy and Society (TPS) at the University of Twente (UT) constitutes a multidisciplinary department in the BMS Faculty. Our five TPS research groups explore and assess how emerging technologies and innovation affect our societies, institutions and daily lives, and vice versa. We help to craft responsible and sustainable solutions.

We are pleased to set up a future oriented platform ‘Strategic Intelligence for Digitalization of Societal Domains’ (SI4DS) with five Assistant Professors at the core. As part of the SI4DS team you will shape the new platform through research and teaching on digitalization. Your work will support society to anticipate impacts of digitalization and develop responsible innovations. This will also require interaction with societal partners. The platform will draw on qualitative and quantitative data and analysis.

Your challenge: Building the SI4SD platform

We are looking for passionate new colleagues who will build the SI4DS community, under mentorship of senior faculty and the TPS board. You are both a team-player and a self-standing scientist. We expect you to develop a research agenda in one or two of the profiles sketched below. Furthermore you are prepared to work with social scientists, humanities, engineers, societal partners, industry and policy makers. You will educate social science students and students in engineering programs.

Applicants are invited to link up with one or two of the following profiles:

(A) Digitalized sustainable energy

The focus is on the current double transition towards digitalized renewable energy. Renewable energy systems and digitalization both come with impacts on the alignment of actors in the energy value chain. New business opportunities emerge, driven by more decentralised, smart or virtual grids and digital sustainable energy platforms. Some actors in energy systems will gain, others will lose, the concept of energy poverty is reintroduced, a new flexible actor might arise: the prosumer. Production, grid connection, storage and markets all require elaboration, assessment and design in an increasingly data-intensive and pluralistic energy transition. Crafting appropriate regulations and governance arrangements is crucial.

The research strategy builds upon legal, economic and governance analysis in a socio-technological system approach, combined with interactive design, scenario’s, (policy) implementation strategies and strategic niche marketing.

(B) Digital knowledge and higher education

The aim is to understand how digitalization affects the social production of knowledge, how and where it is stored, shared and used. Universities have a key role in developing, certifying and storing knowledge, and disseminating it through education, expert advice and networking. Digitalization affects this role in multiple ways. New knowledge practices emerge such as data science, artificial intelligence, open access, knowledge platforms. We see furious debates about the social legitimacy acceptance of scientific expertise at universities, fueled at social media. Digital technologies enable universities to develop new forms of higher education stimulating life-long learning and further growth.

Getting to grips with these developments requires perspectives beyond the traditional philosophy of science concepts, emphasizing reality and methodology to distinguish science form non-science, and beyond sociological/STS thinking emphasizing relativism and social construction.

(C) Digitalized innovation

The core concern in this profile is to study the fundamental impacts of digitalization on processes, practices and ecosystems of innovation, in industry, research, public domains and citizen-led initiatives. Digital platforms allow for involving societal actors in new ways, forms of open innovation, user innovation and citizen science, but raise also questions about the distribution of benefits, inclusion or exclusion and re-aligned roles and power positions. Which new developments are visible today or may emerge soon, and how can digital technologies improve participatory approaches?

The methodology builds on STS and innovation studies, draws on scenario techniques, studies critically current changes in innovation and helps to craft mobilizing digital technologies for sophisticated modes of partner interaction.

(D) Health innovations and digital futures

The challenge in this topic is to develop and apply computational models for healthcare to anticipate digital futures. This is done by exploring a range of scenarios, and identifying key factors and potential tipping points related to scenario occurrence and impact. The quantitative models allow exploration of the effectiveness of envisioned strategies/policies in future scenarios that might occur, based on explicit assumptions, and including uncertainty in the predicted outcomes. This focus includes impacts relevant to citizens, patients, organizations, and society as a whole. Digital innovations will be focused upon such as automated image recognition, mobile devices + mHealth apps and 3D printing for low-cost implants, fixtures, and surgical tools.

The envisioned techniques build on a multi-disciplinary, collaborative set-up of future scenarios by model based exploration and is therefore founded in a detailed understanding of quantitative (modelling) as well as qualitative methodology and readiness to collaborate on mixed approaches.

(E) Philosophy, ethics and regulation of the digital society (AI)

The task is to unravel the intricate connections between the epistemological and ethical aspects of Artificial Intelligence. AI is a cognitive technology: by analyzing data it supplies to knowledge making processes, and the development of interpretative frameworks. But while the ethical dimensions of AI have a central role in academic research and societal debate, its epistemological dimensions remain under-investigated. Yet, it is this epistemic significance that forms the basis of many ethical discussions, especially where AI systems form a basis for human decision-making, or when these systems take ‘decisions’ themselves. What can ‘epistemic responsibility’ mean in these cases?

The approach integrates methods and approaches from the philosophy of science and technology, and the ethics of technology, in relation to concrete scientific and technological practices and available empirical work on these practices.


The key job responsibilities include:

  • Research: contribute to further developing the research lines. Key activities are co-acquisition and co-execution of research projects, , producing high quality journal publications, and securing (inter)national scholarly visibility.
  • Education: teaching at different levels; supervise BSc and MSc thesis projects.
  • Valorization: engage with relevant partner organizations across government, NGOs and private sector.
  • Organization: contribute to the SI4DS platform and to activities and committees within the TPS cluster and the broader Faculty.


University of Twente (UT)


You are a highly motivated and qualified academic who has an ambition to combine innovative teaching, groundbreaking research with intelligence for policymaking in the area relevant to the position. Some other criteria that foster success:

  • A PhD degree relevant for one of the above profiles.
  • A track record in interdisciplinary research and teaching, with a keen interest in relating social science and humanities to natural and engineering science innovations.
  • In-depth knowledge, skills and experience of and in quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies within social sciences and humanities appropriate for the profile.
  • High quality research as validated by your publication record in peer-review journals.
  • International research experience and experience as a post-doctoral researcher.
  • Possession of a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) certificate, or are willing to acquire the latter, and have a real passion for, and the ambition to become a creative and effective teacher.
  • Experience in acquiring grants will strengthen your application;
  • You have very good communication and presentation skills, and an excellent command of English, at least at C2 level.


For more information on these positions you can contact prof. dr. S. Kuhlmann, email: or dr. Kris Lulofs, email:

Please upload your application via before June 12, 2020. Your application should include (1) a motivation letter, also touching upon the profile or profiles of preference, clearly stating how you meet the selection criteria and also outlining your research and teaching interests, (2) a detailed CV with the full publication list, and (3) names and contact information of 2 references.

Review of applications will start mid-June 2020 and will continue until the positions are filled. Interviews will be planned July 6 to July 17.

Conditions of employment

We offer an attractive career opportunity. You will be appointed as an Assistant Professor (0,8-1,0 FTE) for 4 years, after which your position can become permanent, subject to a successful evaluation. By starting your career at UT, you will have the opportunity to develop as an internationally acknowledged and recognized academic. An employment at the UT entitles you to:

  • Salary in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Generous social security package, including minimum of 29 holidays per year; a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary; a year-end bonus of 8.3%; a proven pension scheme and possibilities to save up for a sabbatical leave.
  • Professional and personal improvement programs, including mentoring; the UT also provides support with preparing VENI/VIDI and ERC proposals.
  • UT offers an attractive benefits package, including a reduced rate for health insurance and access to sports facilities at work.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) strives to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. Through 'social engineering' these technological advances are embedded in society befitting human needs and behaviour, within proper public and private management and business structures. For this the faculty of BMS upholds high quality disciplinary knowledge in psychology, business administration, public administration, communication science, philosophy, educational science and health sciences. All with a focus on the challenges in society. Research is strongly connected to our institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3637—€5656 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1101915


University of Twente (UT)

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