Sunday, May 2, 2021

PhD Researcher - Intergenerational Democracy and Negative Emissions Technology M/V


The University of Twente has an opening for a full-time, 4-year, fully-funded PhD project on Intergenerational Democracy and Negative Emissions Technology: Procedural Justice and Legitimacy for Future People in Climate Policy!

The Challenge

Responding justly and feasibly to climate change will very likely require a large-scale effort to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Some of these technologies remain relatively uncontroversial, but many generate difficult tradeoffs or significant ethical concerns. And while many of these concerns have been the subject of rigorous study, questions of intergenerational justice in the context of NETs are relatively under-theorized.

The objective of this project is not merely to unearth and then elucidate these intergenerational issues—whether they be predicated upon storage, mitigation obstruction, or risk—but also to translate these concerns into a language that can be more effectively incorporated into policy-making models and deliberation. The goal of this project is to develop a unique, action-guiding account of intergenerational justice that can be applied to the specific intergenerational issues and assumptions of negative emissions technologies. Working in tandem with this account—and using it as a template—the project also aims to create a generalized methodology for translating ethical and political values into concepts that can be more readily used in public policy.

In keeping with the project goals of ESDT, this project will also explore the extent to which the specific issues raised by intergenerational justice in climate policy will lead us to revise or create new theoretical understandings of core normative concepts and commitments. To what extent to does adopting an intergenerational perspective require a revision of important distinctions or theories in political philosophy? Similarly, we will also explore the extent to which our ethical and political concepts may need to be revised in to make them more readily translatable into public policy. Given the commitments of the researchers involved in the project, we are especially interested in a scholar who is interested in engaging with neo-republican political theory in the context of intergenerational justice, but this is not a requirement.

This project is funded by ESDT and will be located within the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente. It will be jointly supervised by promotors Prof. dr. Detlef van Vuuren at the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development at Utrecht University and Prof. dr. Philip Brey at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Twente, with dr. Patrick Taylor Smith as daily supervisor.


We are looking for a PhD candidate who satisfies the following requirements:

  • A MSc degree in philosophy, with an interest in political philosophy, normative ethics, or environmental ethics (undergraduate work in fields related to environmental policy-making desirable but not required) OR an undergraduate degree in philosophy with an attendant masters in a field related to environmental policy-making such as economics, STS, etc;
  • Proficient in English, both speaking and writing;
  • An enthusiasm for combining rigorous theoretical work with practical applications in the climate arena;
  • An aptitude for independent work.

The following qualifications would be helpful but are not in any way required:

  • A background in any of the following academic domains: intergenerational justice, economics, neo-republican political theory, or negative emissions technologies;
  • Experience with environmental policy-making, either within academia, government, or civil society.


The UT provides a dynamic and international environment, combining the benefits of academic research with a topic of high relevance to public and health administration, excellent working conditions, a stimulating scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer:

  • A full-time 4-year PhD position;
  • A personal development program within the Twente Graduate School, combined with an excellent mentorship;
  • A gross monthly salary of € 2,395 in the first year, growing each year up to € 3,061 in the fourth year;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of a full-time employment;
  • International applicants are likely to qualify for a low 30% tax regime for the first five years of their appointment;
  • Full status as an employee at the UT, including pension and health care benefits.


Please submit your application before May 26th, 2021 using the “Apply now” button, and include:

  • A full Curriculum Vitae;
  • A letter of application including a summary of relevant experience, motivation for pursuing the research, and contact information for two academic references;
  • A writing sample of 5-8,000 words.

Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed. Interviews will take place early June. The expected start date is September 1st, 2021, though earlier dates will also be considered. Additional information about this position can be acquired from Patrick Taylor Smith (


The Gravitation Project on the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies

This PhD position will be part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies programme, a new ten-year long international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that has started in January 2020. This programme has a combined budget of € 27 million, and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, and by matching funds from the participating institutions. The duration is from January 2020 to December 2029. The programme has the aim of achieving breakthrough research in at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology / engineering and social sciences, and to position its consortium at the top of its field internationally. A key objective is to investigate how new technologies challenge moral values and ontological concepts (like “nature”, “human being” and “community”), and how these challenges necessitate a revision of these concepts. The programme includes four research lines, “Nature, life and human intervention”, “The future of a free and fair society”, “The human condition” and “Synthesis: Ethics of Technology, Practical Philosophy, and Modern Technology-Driven Societies”.


The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. By means of 'social engineering', we are here to integrate these advances in society. As a people-first tech university, we align these advances with the needs and behaviour of humans. We ensure proper public and private management as well as robust, inclusive and fair organisational structures. The faculty of BMS does this by developing, transferring and applying high-quality knowledge of Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Science, Philosophy, Educational Science, and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines is challenge-based. The BMS research programmes are directly linked to our research institutes: Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, the TechMed Centre and the Digital Society Institute.
As an employer, the BMS Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customizable conditions.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.


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