PhD Researcher in Ethics of AI-enabled plant breeding for sustainability

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Offer Description

Do you want to follow your passion for philosophy and Ethics of technology in a PhD study in our Philosophy group? Are you an openminded thinker eager to collaborate with other researchers in an ambitious research project on the ethical, legal and social aspects of AI for sustainable food systems? If yes, we invite you to join the Philosophy Group at Wageningen University for a PhD opportunity in the field of ethics of technology.

This PhD position is part of the CropXR project, an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Dutch Research Council NWO and the National Growth Fund. CropXR was launched in 2023 to help make agricultural production less vulnerable to climate change and less dependent on artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides

The PhD project focusses on the responsible AI driven breeding tools intended for breeding extra-resilient crops. Responsible breeding tools for extra resilient crops intend to be responsive to societal concerns regarding AI. These concerns do not only concern the micro level ethical challenges with regard to specific applications like ownership or autonomy, but also the system level of societal resistance against the industrialization of the agricultural sector for instance. This raises the question what these concerns are and how responsible breeding tools for extra resilient crops can become responsive to both the micro and system level societal concerns. While the Responsible Innovation literature currently focusses on mechanisms to deliberate and include a wide range of quadruple helix stakeholders in responsible innovation practices, this research project focusses on the conceptualization and operationalization of responsiveness in responsible innovation practices.

Our PhD students are encouraged to spend a semester abroad. Additionally, generous (conference) travel budgets are available for the position. The PhD students are encouraged to supervise MSc thesis students when such opportunities arise, and are involved in teaching activities.

You will work here
The PhD is embedded in the Philosophy Group at Wageningen University (the Netherlands) and part of the research group of prof.dr. Vincent Blok, who runs the AI for Sustainable Food Systems ELSA lab. The candidate will be supervised by prof.dr. Vincent Blok and dr. Koen Beumer.

Requirements

Specific Requirements

The ideal candidate should have the following qualities:

  • an MSc degree in Philosophy, Ethics, or Science and Technology Studies (STS), with affinity with life sciences and digital technologies;
  • enthusiasm, dedication, and active engagement, along with the ability to work effectively in interdisciplinary contexts. Willingness to collaborate with technical scientists, engineers, designers, and engage a broad range of stakeholders;
  • a passion for exploring both fundamental and applied questions in philosophy and ethics of digital technology/AI;
  • an excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

Additional Information

Benefits

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • Partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 – per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the « 30% rule », certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Selection process

For more information please contact dr. Vincent Blok, by email: vincent.blok@wur.nl
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate recruiter, by email: recruitment.ssg@wur.nl.

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 20th of November, 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews soon after the closing date.
The position is to start preferably on the 1st of March 2024.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Additional comments

For more information please contact dr. Vincent Blok, by email: vincent.blok@wur.nl
For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate recruiter, by email: recruitment.ssg@wur.nl.

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 20th of November, 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews soon after the closing date.
The position is to start preferably on the 1st of March 2024.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

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