Assistant/Associate Professor on programmable infrastructures

Assistant/Associate Professor on programmable infrastructures

Published Deadline Location
22 May 2 Jul Delft
The Faculty of TPM invites candidates to study the effects of digitalization via an Academic Career Track position as assistant/associate professor programmable infrastructures.

Job description

As more advanced forms of computing become feasible, new opportunities and possibilities loom in a variety of conventional material infrastructure domains promising to make their operations as programmable as digital systems. This manifests itself in the form of new mobility services in the context of transportation, smart energy in energy systems, or logistics for global trade and local distribution of goods. However, the introduction of digital services into these conventional infrastructure domains may transform the latter in profound ways. As organizations adopt software-based services, the boundaries of these organizations move or dissolve, new economic actors and production models enter the picture, ownership structures and responsibilities become more fragmented.

These matters can be further impacted by the concentration of computational infrastructures (cloud + mobile devices) in the hands of a few companies, also short handed ‘Big Tech’. This may happen when infrastructure sectors re-produce their services using cloud, mobile devices or IoT for “smart applications; or when tech companies start co-managing energy grids, redesign water systems, or restructure delivery networks.

All of these developments raise new questions about infrastructural power and the governance of conventional domains of infrastructure, including how the latter can be organized to ensure democratic values. So far, in-depth knowledge about how digital transformation restructures infrastructural services is largely absent. Moreover, the commonalities underlying digitalization efforts in different infrastructures like energy, transportation, logistics, healthcare and finance, means these are not separate developments specific to each sector but share common elements. Most notably, in many sectors, the adoption of services shifts organizations towards the use of computational infrastructures and the subscription-based economic models written into them.

The institutional and regulatory frameworks for conventional infrastructures like energy, logistics and health were developed in a time where responsibilities of the providers and the services they were expected to produce were well-defined and delineated. It is currently not clear whether existing frameworks always map to the transformations brought about through digital services, and especially those produced by CI. Similarly, analytical approaches that reduce associated problems to narrow questions of algorithmic design, or those that define clouds solely through their technical capacities or network effects, fail to capture the implications of digitalization on the governance of conventional infrastructures, and as a result, on broader society.

These gaps in knowledge and regulatory responses leave many questions unanswered: How do digitalization projects affect the realization of societal or public values in infrastructures? With a view to infrastructure service provision, how do responsibilities shift and how can accountability be guaranteed? To what extent do technology companies influence – and at times dominate-- the technical and political economic make up of fields such as energy, mobility and logistics by transforming their modes of operation? How can institutional and regulatory frameworks, meant to safeguard specific public values, adapt to these new realities?

The Assistant Professor position on Programmable Infrastructures aims to increase our understanding of the role of digitalization in transforming conventional material infrastructures. It invites work that aspires to critically revisit associated governance frameworks in light of the political economic transformations brought about through digitalization and CI, and with an eye on public interest and just outcomes. A PhD position on this topic is included.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Research on these developments is scarce and only now emerging. Ideally, it cuts across different disciplines and areas of expertise. To understand the consequences of digitalization of infrastructures like energy, transportation, water and health, we need to bring together a deep understanding of governance structures in infrastructure domains with an empirically informed conception of whether and how, through digitalization efforts, computational infrastructures expand into these sectors, inscribing their modes of production along the way.

No individual scholar possesses the skills and areas of expertise to take on this project alone. You might come at this from an understanding of current institutional frameworks in so-called “network industries” and are eager to learn about if and how computational infrastructures expand into and impact conventional infrastructure sectors. Alternatively, perhaps you have studied the emergence of computational infrastructures, or forms of software production, and are motivated to learn about how these interact with existing institutional and governance frameworks in conventional infrastructures.

You will be part of the Organization & Governance section in the Department of Multi-Actor Systems at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. The section focuses on the governance of infrastructure systems such as water, energy, transport, urban or health systems from the perspective of social sciences and public administration in particular, and contributes to analyzing institutional implications and improving decision-making processes.

You will contribute to the group's research which investigates “programmable infrastructures”, which we use to refer to the political, economic and technological vision that advocates for the introduction of CI onto our conventional material infrastructures.

We are looking for someone who fits one of the profiles described above, meaning:

  • you either have a PhD degree and a background in public administration, governance studies or related social scientific fields
  • or, you have a PhD in Computer Science, Science and Technology Studies or related fields that focuses on current day software engineering practices and/or cloud and mobile ecosystem
  • For both profiles, you have a keen interest in studying the technical, political, economic, and social transformations digitalization brings about when deployed in the context of conventional infrastructures.
  • Experience with and a track record (publications) which investigates the topics defined in the previous bullet points
  • Affinity with public institutions, and ability and interest to collaborate cross disciplinary boundaries and work/collaborate with practitioners
  • Enthusiasm for and relevant experience in academic teaching and supervision
  • A team-oriented attitude, and strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Excellent command of the English language, both spoken and written. Dutch skills, or interest in learning Dutch is not required but welcome.


Conditions of employment

We offer talented academics a clear and attractive career path with the expectation that you will have the potential to grow into a full professor position in the future. You will start with a temporary contract that will be converted to a permanent contract no later than 12 -18 months after a positive evaluation, based on continuous confidence in your development potential and fit in the organisation.

During the selection procedure, it will be determined, depending on your background and experience, whether you are eligible for an assistant professor or associate professor position.

Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. We expect you to obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) by the TU Delft UTQ programme within three years if you have less than five years of teaching experience.

TU Delft sets high standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency. If you do not speak Dutch, we offer courses to learn the Dutch language within three years.

The TU Delft sets specific standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency. Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. If you have less than five years of teaching experience and do not yet have your teaching certificate, you get the chance to obtain this within three years. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (salary indication for Assistant Professor: € 3.974 - € 6.181. Salary indication for Associate Professor € 5.506 - € 7.362).

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice can support with advice for you and your accompanying partner about your individual settling needs in the Netherlands. Once arrived you can be supported with individual consults and diverse workshops. Located on Campus are the International Children’s Centre and an international primary school, which are subject to availability as well as several bilingual schools in the nearby surrounding.


Delft University of Technology

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!



Faculty Technology, Policy and Management

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.

Additional information

The vacancy appeals to you, but you are doubting whether you might be THE person we are looking for? Please read on.

Studies have shown that women, people of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and other communities underrepresented at the university are less likely to apply unless they fulfil every single requirement. At TU Delft and in our research group we are committed to creating an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, equal opportunities. This starts here: If you are excited about this position, but your profile doesn't align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyways and look forward to receiving your application. If you have special needs that you would like us to accommodate to complete the application process, we encourage you to get in touch with us.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact section leader Organisation & Governance, Dr. Mark de Bruijne, email:

For more information about the application procedure, please contact Martine van de Vorst, HR Advisor, email: 


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor
  • Engineering
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Doctorate
  • TUD03950


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 2 July 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • 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.

The first selection will take place in July and the further selection and hiring procedure is foreseen to take place from September.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 2 July 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • 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.

The first selection will take place in July and the further selection and hiring procedure is foreseen to take place from September.

Make sure to apply no later than 2 Jul 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).