Past synergy projects


The Secret Persuader: Psychological Mechanisms and Ethical Dilemmas of Ambient Persuasive Technology (2011)
Our key research question is: Under which conditions could ambient persuasive technology contribute to the realization of our social values (e.g. sustainability)?
We aim at investigating both the psychological conditions, under which ambient persuasion might be effective, as well as the ethical conditions under which a use of this technologies might be morally permitted. We suggest that both questions are closely linked to each other.
Researchers involved
Jaap Ham (HTI), Andreas Spahn (P&E), Philip Nickel (P&E)
Grant proposal and international workshop: "Persuasive Technology for Health and Wellness",  TU/Eindhoven, November 28 and 29, 2011 

Networks and Innovation (2011-2012)
Network theory is one of the cross-cutting theoretical framework within ECIS. This projects aims to deepen our knowledge of network theory and its applications to inovation-related topics across four ECIS research programs.
Researchers involved:
1) Koen Frenken (TechFlows, coordinator)
2) Mila Davids (Modern Societies in Transition)
3) Rob Raven (System Innovation)
4) Chris Snijders (HTI)
1- Guest professorship David Stark from Columbia University. See his homepage at: See also his new book about creativity:
2- a one-day workshop in June 2011 organised by Koen Frenken and with presentations from David Stark (Columbia University), Robert Kooij (TNO en TUDelft), Pierre-Alexander Balland (Utrecht University) and several others from within and outside ECIS.
3- a one-day workshop in Spring 2012 organised by Koen Frenken and with presentations from several ECIS members and colleagues from outside.

Moral fitness of military personnel in a networked operational environment

This research investigated the critical competencies of military personnel needed for moral decision making in network enabled operations. This central question is subdivided into three subquestions:
1) What characterizes moral fitness in a networked operational environment?
2) Which are the psychological and social conditions that enable morally responsible decision making in a networked operational environment?
3) In what ways does a networked operational environment affect military behaviour?
Researchers involved L.M.M. Royakkers (P&E), dr. P. Essens (TNO Defence, Security and Safety Business Unit Human Factors), prof. dr. D. Verweij (Faculty of Military Sciences Netherlands Defence Academy

How building information systems change the role and responsibility of architects (2011)
In this research project, we aim to study the implementation of service-oriented information systems in the design and building process, and the impact of this implementation on the role and responsibility of architects in this process. To chart this impact, we plan a series of scenario workshops with various stakeholders in the building process, as well as several case studies to get an in-depth view of the development, standardization and implementation of information systems for the AEC sector.
Researchers involved:
Rudi Bekkers (TechFlows), Wybo Houkes (P&E), Isabelle Reymen and Jeandonné Schijlen (ITEM).
A first round of interviews with stakeholders held in January 2011, followed by submission of a research proposal at NWO. For analyzing the case studies and the scenarios constructed in the workshops, we have drawn on research in various disciplines, including earlier philosophical work on distribution of responsibilities in R&D networks.
Partners in the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences include Rudi Bekkers (TI&S), Wybo Houkes (P&E) and Isabelle Reymen (ITEM). Jeandonné Schijlen has been appointed as researcher to organise initial activities and prepare a research proposal.

Persuasive Technology, Allocation of Control, and Social Values
Social values can be in conflict with the interests or preferences of individual persons. Sustainability, for example, is widely viewed as crucial for our future. At the same time it is recognized that technology alone cannot bring about a sustainable society. Individual agents need to change their behavior as well. How do we motivate agents such that they realize our social values, even when these values conflict with their own private interests? This is where persuasive technology comes into the picture. It aims at persuading human agents to behave in socially-valued ways, by giving information, providing feedback, and taking over actions. The success of a persuasive technology that serves the public interest depends on the integration of sound technology, effective persuasive principles and careful attention to ethical considerations.  This research program investigates the psychological mechanisms and the ethical dilemmas of persuasive technology in two ways. First, we develop an in-depth empirical study of a concrete case where persuasive technology is under development: the energy management and safety of vehicles (cars, trucks). Vehicle simulators will be used to observe human agents using various forms of persuasive technology, where the most important variable will be the amount of control transferred from the user to the technological system. Second, we analyze the general psychological mechanisms and ethical dilemmas at stake, which will result in design recommendations for developers of persuasive technology. Since persuasive technology is a perfectly generic technology our results will be important for many other areas as well.
Researchers involved A.W.M. Meijers (P&E) Prof.dr. C.J.H. Midden (HTI); Prof. M. Steinbuch (professor of control systemstechnology, department of Mechanical Engineering at TU/e)
Three studies: Psychology of Persuasive Technology, Ethics of Persuasive Technologies, Energy Management, Safety and Vehicle Control Simulation
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Uncertainty, Discounting and The Sustainable Future (2010)
The aim of this research project was to expose the ways in which uncertainties in cost-benefit analysis are dealt with and the assumptions at work in the choice of discount rate when assessing climate change policies.
Researchers involved
1) Rosemary Lowry (Philosophy of Technology: Ethics and Epistemology of Innovation)
2) Koen Frenken (Technology Flows, the Knowledge Economy and Economic Performance)
3) Anthonie Meijers (Philosophy of Technology: Ethics and Epistemology of Innovation)
4) Martin Peterson (Philosophy of Technology: Ethics and Epistemology of Innovation)
5) Geert Verbong (System Innovations & Sustainability Transitions)
1) April 2010: International workshop Cost-Benefit Analysis: Uncertainty, Discounting and The Sustainable Future (participants, among others, included Mark Colyvan and Andy Stirling).
2) R. Lowry and M. Peterson, "Cost-Benefit Analysis and Non-Utiliarian Ethics", Politics, Philosophy and Economics, in press.
3) M. Peterson, "A New Twist to the St Petersburg Paradox", The Journal of Philosophy, in press.
Strategic Niche Management and social entrepreneurship in sustainability transitions (2010)
The aim of the project was to develop a full-fledge PhD proposal on the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainability transitions, including a sound funding strategy. The PhD project would address the following main research question: How can Strategic Niche Management be applied to social innovations in sustainability transitions?
Researchers involved
1) Rob Raven (System Innovations & Sustainability Transitions)
2)Lambèr Royakkers (Ethics of Technology).
1) Witkamp, M., Royakkers, L.M.M., Raven, R.P.J.M., From cowboys to diplomats: why social entrepreneurship requires a different attitude than its creation, Voluntas, 21, in press: DOI: 10.1007/s11266-010-9146-4
2) Witkamp, M.J., Raven, R.P.J.M., Royakkers, L.M.M., Strategic Niche Management of Social Innovations: the Case of Social Entrepreneurship, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, in press.
3) Project proposal: Royakkers, L.M.M., Raven, R.P.J.M., Schot, J.W., 2010. Social entrepreneurship in sustainability transitions. Towards a better understanding of its potential and limits. Research proposal for NWO-MaGW (not funded).