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Postdoctoral researcher in philosophy (NanoBubbles)

Job description

The department of philosophy of the University of Twente (UT) seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral researcher in philosophy (3 years) to join the ERC funded NanoBubbles project. In this exciting new role you will primarily undertake philosophical analysis and annotation of scientific texts and articles.

The NanoBubbles Project

NanoBubbles has been awarded ERC Synergy funding of € 8.3 million over 5 years, and began on 1 June 2021: https://nanobubbles.hypotheses.org

Science relies on the correction of errors to advance, yet in practice scientists find it difficult to erase erroneous and exaggerated claims from the scientific record. Recent discussion of a “replication crisis” has impaired trust in science both among scientists and non-scientists; yet we know little about how non-replicable or even fraudulent claims can be removed. This project combines approaches from the natural, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities to understand how error correction in science works and what obstacles it faces. We will also stage events for scientists to reflect on error and overpromising.

The project’s focus is nanobiology, a highly interdisciplinary field founded in circa 2000 that has already seen multiple episodes of overpromising and promotion of erroneous claims. We examine three such alleged “bubbles”: the claim that nanoparticles can cross the blood-brain barrier; that nanoparticles can penetrate the cell membrane; and the promotion of the “protein corona” concept to describe ordinary adsorption of proteins on nanoparticles. Through the study and practice of nanobiology, we will analyse how, when and why science fails to correct itself, and explore ways to improve the reliability and efficiency of the scientific process.

The position

You will be based at the UT in Enschede, and you will need to live, or to move, to the Twente region or to within a short commute. Within the UT structure, your supervisor will be Prof.dr. C. Aydin, however, your work in NanoBubbles will be supervised by Dr Yasemin J. Erden (philosophy of science and technology, UT) and Prof. Raphaël Lévy (physicist with expertise in nanobiology, University Sorbonne Paris Nord, France).

You will work closely with another postdoctoral researcher from bionano, within the same supervisory team, and alongside a number of postdoc researchers from different fields examining overlapping and related topics. The successful applicant will therefore be engaged not only with their own work, but with complementary lines of investigation in the project.

In this position, working closely with the postdoc in bionano, your main tasks will be to:

  • Explicate a common vocabulary;
  • Build bibliographical corpuses;
  • Analyse and annotate scientific literature.

In synergy with other postdocs you will also contribute to:

  • Work towards mapping, tracing, organising of core scientific content using digital methods stemming from the fields of scientometrics and natural language processing;
  • Analysing the effects of interventions that seek to correct the scientific record.

The role includes plenty of opportunities for personal and career development. This includes giving conference talks and presentations, publishing co-written reports and articles, including deliverables, and participating in the academic life of the UT. You'll join a vibrant research and teaching culture in the philosophy section, and will be encouraged to engage with colleagues across the university working in related fields. Applications that demonstrate commitment to these targets will be especially welcome.

Your profile

We welcome applications that show:

  • you are a highly motivated, positive and hardworking researcher with a PhD in philosophy, ideally in topics directly relevant to NanoBubbles, e.g. philosophy of language, philosophy of science, or science and technology studies (STS). Related PhD subjects will be considered, especially if you can demonstrate scientific knowledge, understanding or enthusiasm to learn, as well as sufficient training in philosophy;
  • a proven interest and/or experience in societal and ethical aspects of science and technology;
  • an ability to work independently, but with a good team spirit, excellent organisational skills and a commitment to interdisciplinary research;
  • excellent communication and written skills, both within academia and outside the academy, including English proficiency at C2 level.

Our offer

The UT provides a dynamic and international environment, combining the benefits of academic research with a topic of high industrial relevance, excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment and a green and lively campus. We offer:

  • A postdoc position for three years;
  • Full status as an employee at the UT, including pension and health care benefits;
  • Gross salary: max. € 3.491,- per month, plus holiday allowance (8%) and end-of-year bonus (8.3%);
  • Excellent facilities for professional and personal development;
  • Good secondary conditions, in accordance with the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities;
  • A green campus with lots of sports facilities and an international scientific community.

Information and application

How to apply

  • Please include an application/motivation letter, emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications and motivation to apply for this position, a detailed CV (resume) and a publication list. You can apply until 30 August. Interviews are expected to take place in September.
  • For more information please contact Dr Yasemin J. Erden: y.j.erden@utwente.nl

About the organization

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.

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.

Postdoctoral researcher in philosophy (NanoBubbles)
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