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.

How do emerging technologies and innovation affect people, organisations and society, both on a day-to-day basis and in the longer term? Conversely, how do people’s behaviour, beliefs and attitudes affect developments in technology? What can teachers, researchers, leaders and thought leaders, policy makers, administrators, and citizens do to influence the interplay between society and tech? Starting from a common vision of a fair, sustainable, digital society, how can society turn its existing friction points with technology into an integrated, evolving reality that is good for everyone? And how can society leverage ethical and philosophical reflection, along with the tools of policy-making and governance, to find and implement resilient answers to sociotechnological challenges in important societal domains, such as health, energy, water, or sustainability? These are some of the key questions our department deals with, impacting the five research domains of our faculty: learning, health, smart industry, sociotechnological transformation, and resilience for smart cities, sustainable communities and safe societies.

Thomas van Rompay, Chair of the BMS Faculty’s Research Theme "Health":

"In healthcare, preventing or managing pandemics is a typical example of an area in which departments like TPS can make a difference. It combines policy-making challenges with societal interests like health and privacy, and an important role for technology, for instance, in the use of big data, modelling, or contact tracing apps. This interplay between society, policy and technology is exactly where we aim to lead the way, researching, educating, and tackling the big questions."

Our education

At a university known for its High Tech Human Touch approach, and as part of a faculty specialised in connecting social sciences with technology and engineering, it goes without saying that our involvement in UT education reaches far, and across many disciplinary boundaries. The goal of our department is to educate current and next-gen change agents in technology, policy, higher education, environment, sustainability and healthcare. Individuals and teams in whom technological advancement and societal good are synthesised. Who understand socio-technical transformations and know how to work towards responsible, people-first solutions. 

  • Get an impression of programmes and modules in which we are involved
    • Minor Reflection on Science Technology and Society (STS)
    • Minor Innovations in Sustainable Chain Management (ISCM)
    • Minor Crossing Borders
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s Health Sciences (HS)
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s Technical Medicine (TM)
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM)
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s Biomedical Engineering (BE)
    • Master's Environmental and Energy Management (MEEM)
    • Master’s Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (PSTS)
    • Top-level professional training services, including Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs), a Research Evaluation Course, an International Course on Rural Energy Planning (ICREP), and a course on Energy Management in Small and Medium-scale Industries (EMSI)

Our research and researchers

The research we engage in at the our department crosses many scientific disciplines and societal domains. Here are some key research activities:

We are the leading department for one of our faculty’s five research programmes, Emerging Technologies & Societal Transformations (ETST). Furthermore we contribute substantially to our faculty’s The ETST programme is interwoven with the other four research programmes – IndustryHealth, Learning, Resilience, and IndustryHealth – as well as to the central research themes of our university: Personalized Healthcare, Digital Society, Smart Materials, Resilience Engineering, and Intelligent Manufacturing. We Part of our job is to address generic, reflexive questions about the interaction between technology and society. We address analytical and design questions regarding human needs in interaction with technology and societal challenges. And we embrace the idea of a civic university, collaborating with societal partners that emerge in the other four programmes, providing a reflexive foundation for them all. Our work also lays the groundwork for funding applications in collaboration with and technical researchers in programmes and projects.

Our staff members are principal investigators in the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDT) research programme, a pioneering and prestigious 10-year, 27-million euro programme chaired by our university.  and attracting worldwide interest. The overall aim of the research programme is to develop a comprehensive philosophical understanding of the socially disruptive technologies (SDTs) of the 21st century, and in particular their challenge to the very concepts and values that we normally appeal to in our moral thinking: to find ways of embedding society’s shared values in the very DNA of tech innovation.

Creating value for society

The TPS department, as a part of the ultimate people-first university of technology, here to empowers society through sustainable solutions, the TPS Department aims to create real value in everything we do. We embody our university’s High Tech Human Touch approach and  our societal impact takes many shapes. We help craft solutions and policies in key areas such as health, higher education, well-being and technology, sustainability and connected societies. In all of these domains, we offer strategic intelligence to administrators, policy makers and technology designers, presenting opportunities and risks, alternatives, and ethical frameworks for assessing them. Three hands-on examples, our platforms:

Our platforms...
  • Our platform for Strategic Intelligence for the Digitalisation of Societal Domains (SI4DS), built for rethinking digitalisation from the perspective of societal and individual well-being.
  • Our platform for Science, Technology and Innovation Governance at the Global South (STIG@GS).
  • Our platform RURBAN Innovations built for rethinking the growing interrelatedness of rural and urban activities, occurring rivalries and impacts on allocation of welfare and wellbeing and the carrying capacity of the globe, in the perspective of the knowledge system in place and emerging technologies. 

Our board members

prof.dr. B.J.R. van der Meulen (Barend)
Full Professor
dr. C.G.M. Oudshoorn (Karin)
Associate Professor
Member K. Visscher (Klaasjan)
Full Professor
Member H. Koffijberg (Erik)
Full Professor
prof.dr. P.A.E. Brey (Philip)
Full Professor
dr. K.R.D. Lulofs (Kris)
Associate Professor

Our departmental sections