PhD Candidate in Ethics of Prognostication of Patients in Coma, University of Twente, Netherlands

Publish Date: May 13, 2015

Deadline: May 31, 2015

Job specification

The PhD project is part of a newly started research project on ‘Prognosticating of patients in coma: towards a responsible practice’, funded by the Dutch organization for Scientific Research (NWO) under its program ‘Responsible Innovation’ and several private partners. This multidisciplinary project investigates under which technical, medical, ethical and social conditions an emerging EEG-based technology may contribute to a responsible practice of prognosticating for patients in coma after cardiac arrest. The ultimate aim is to embed these conditions in the material and social components of prognostic practices. The project will be carried out by researchers from neurophysiology, philosophy/ethics and health technology assessment. Project leader is dr. Marianne Boenink, department of Philosophy. 

You will perform a comparative study of the values embedded in current prognostic practices for patients in coma in the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. You will investigate how these practices might be affected by the introduction of an emerging EEG-based prognostic technology, and engage future users in deliberation on the desirability of such a technology via workshops and a web-based tool. On the basis of stakeholder input and ethical analysis you formulate ethical requirements for responsible development of the technology and explore how these criteria could be embedded in prognostic practice. You report the results in peer reviewed academic journals as well as to a broader audience. The project is completed with a dissertation.


Your Profile

You have a MSc-degree in philosophy (specializing in ethics, medical ethics and/or philosophy of technology), science & technology studies (STS) or a comparable degree.

In addition, you

  • have a clear interest in normative questions as well as empirical studies of medical and technological practices;
  • have good analytical skills
  • are capable to conduct research using various qualitative methods, including literature research, ethical ethnography, interviews, and interactive workshops, or are willing to learn such methods (experience with these methods is a plus);
  • are familiar with the biomedical sciences and/or clinical care;
  • have good social and communication skills in academic as well as non-academic contexts;
  • have good English language skills, both in writing and speaking; candidates who are also fluent in Dutch and/or German have a plus;
  • are able to work independently, but also motivated to collaborate with researchers from neurophysiology and Health Technology Assessment

Information and application
More information on the PhD position can be obtained from dr. Marianne Boenink (tel.: +31 (0)53 489 3309 or 3297), e-mail: The project description is available on request.

Your application should contain the following documents: a letter of application; a curriculum vitae which includes the name and e-mail address/telephone number of one or more referents; a copy of your master’s thesis (or, if more relevant, a publication); an academic transcript that contains a list of subjects taken and grades received (this may be an unofficial version or scanned copy; we can request the original later).

Your application should be uploaded no later than May 31st, 2015 to

Since this website only accepts three documents per application, please combine more documents in one file if necessary. 

Our offer

A four-year full-time Ph.D. position, starting September 1, 2015. The gross salary is € 2125,- per month in the first year going up to € 2717,- in the fourth year.  

The Department of Philosophy of the University of Twente offers a thriving and internationally oriented environment for researchers working in the philosophy and ethics of technology. The department currently has 9 staff members, 10 PhD’s and 2 postdocs. The Department participates in the 3TU Centre of Excellence for Ethics & Technology (of which the PhD student will be a member – see and hosts the international master program Philosophy of Science and Technology in Society. For more information on the department:

The Organisation

The University of Twente. We stand for science and technology, high tech, human touch, education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programs. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research. The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences strives to hold a leading position in their fields in relation to the science and technology research programs of the University of Twente. In all these fields, the faculty provides bachelor, master and professional development programs.

Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) strives to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. Through 'social engineering' these technological advances are embedded in society befitting human needs and behaviour, within proper public and private management and business structures. For this the faculty of BMS upholds high quality disciplinary knowledge in psychology, business administration, public administration, communication science, philosophy, educational science and health sciences. All with a focus on the challenges in society. Research is strongly connected to our Institutes on Governance (IGS), ICT (CTIT), Health (MIRA) and Nanotechnology (MESA+).

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