Prof Dr T.E. Swierstra
Swierstra's field of interest is the ethics and the politics of new and emerging science and technology (NEST). He has published on moral controversies regarding cloning, new reproductive technologies, genomics, food technologies, nanotechnology, synthetic and system biology, artificial gametes, neuroscience, and converging technologies . The philosophical problematic driving his research is: how to analyse, evaluate, and anticipate the mutual shaping of science and technology, and ethics and politics? And how to make this anticipatory knowledge regarding ‘technomoral change’ available to technologists, policy makers, and the larger public? As part of this endeavour he has authored reports and developed ‘technomoral’ scenarios for several public engagement events regarding genomics, nanotechnology, and synthetic biology.
Swierstra earned regular funding from the Dutch Rathenau Institute for reports and scenarios, and grants from NWO for projects on genomics (2002); technomoral scenario development (2005), on the normative implications of non-invasive technology (2006), on ‘responsible innovation’ in food technology (2009), on the interaction between medical ethics and clinical research practices in the Netherlands (2012), and – recently – for a project on ‘Safeguarding long-term stakeholdership in smart cities’ (2015). Additional funding came from the national Centre of Excellence for Technology Ethics (a project on bionanotechnology; 2007); from ZON-MW (introducing NEST-ethics for policy makers; 2008); from the STW-funded NanoNextNL program (conceptualizing and imagining technomoral change; 2010); and from the UM (the public reception of neuroscience; 2011; sustainable care and justice, 2014).
Professional career history
He received his PhD in 1998 at the University of Groningen. His dissertation, De sofocratische verleiding [The sophocratic temptation; nominated for the biannual prize for best dissertation in political science] defends the thesis that dominant conceptions of practical reason still bear the imprint of by now out-dated (empiricist or rationalist) conceptions of theoretical reason/science.
In 1996 he joined the Philosophy department of Twente University, where he teached ethics, social philosophy, and philosophy of technology. As an Associate Professor he initiated and developed the research line 'Ethics and Politics of Emerging Technologies".
In 2009, he was named Professor by Special Appointment of Philosophy and Ethics in the life sciences, from a humanistic perspective at the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Science.
In 2010 he was appointed full professor in Philosophy at the University of Maastricht, where he now is head of the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.