PhD Student “Synthetic embryos: an ethical reflection”. Dept Health, Ethics & Society, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, start between 1 June and 1 September 2018, 48 months, full time
For a PhD-project on the ethics of ‘synthetic embryos’, a vacancy will become available for a PhD student at the Department of Health, Ethics & Society of Maastricht University, the Netherlands. This concerns a full-time 4 year dissertation opportunity for a philosopher/bioethicist. A project description can be acquired from dr Wybo Dondorp, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent reports have shown that, under the right conditions, human pluripotent stem cells can form structures that resemble early human embryos. These “synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (SHEEFs)” seem highly useful for studying early human development, but also raise ethical concerns that are relevant for how this emerging field of research should be regulated.
Aims and methods
This project aims to contribute to a robust and sustainable normative framework for creating and using SHEEFs. In addition to contributing to the international debate, an explicit goal of the project is to advice policy makers in the Netherlands on whether the Dutch Embryos Act is sufficiently ‘SHEEFS-proof’. Methods: conceptual analysis, normative analysis, qualitative stakeholder research (focus group discussions).
Funding and collaboration
This project is funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), GROW (School for Oncology & Developmental Biology, Maastricht University) and MERLN (Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine, Maastricht University). Collaborating centers are the Department of Health, Ethics & Society (HES), GROW and MERLN (all Maastricht University), the University Medical Center Utrecht (Department of Medical Humanities) and the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research (both Utrecht University).
Location and supervision
The PhD student working on this project will be based at the Department of Health, Ethics & Society of Maastricht University, in Maastricht, the Netherlands with regular visits to Utrecht. The project will be supervised by prof dr Guido de Wert and dr Wybo Dondorp (bioethicists, Maastricht University) together with prof dr Annelien Bredenoord (bioethicist, Utrecht University).
Completed research master in Philosophy or Applied Ethics. Proven interest in bioethical aspects of developmental biology. Experience with qualitative empirical research. Mastery of writing English for publication. Mastery of Dutch will be considered an advantage.
Start: The start date of the project is 1 June 2018.
Terms of employment
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > staff > index and forms > HR from A-Z.
Temporary employment: 4 years.
Applications consisting of a motivation letter and CV can be sent until 8 April 2018 to the below postal or email address (on the envelope/in the header please state “Synthetic embryos”). The first interview round will be held on Monday 16 April 2018 in Maastricht.
Dept of Health Ethics & Society
t.a.v. Angelique Heijnen
6200 MD Maastricht
00 31 43 3882145 (except on Wednesdays)