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Neuroethics and Neural Engineering Faculty Position

The Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) and the Rock Ethics Institute (REI) at Penn State seeks applicants for a tenure-track/tenured faculty position in Neuroethics and Neural Engineering. All academic ranks will be considered (Assistant, Associate, or Professor).
by Betsy VanNoy Oct 29, 2019
University Park Campus
Campus City:
University Park, PA
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
open until filled
Job Number:
Work Unit:
College of Engineering
Engineering Science and Mechanics


The Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) and the Rock Ethics Institute (REI) at Penn State seeks applicants for a tenure-track/tenured faculty position in Neuroethics and Neural Engineering. All academic ranks will be considered (Assistant, Associate, or Professor). This position will also be affiliated with Penn State’s Center for Neural Engineering (CNE), Department of Neurosurgery, Bioethics Program, and Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Candidates who enrich our diversity are strongly encouraged to apply. The successful applicant will be a neuroethics scholar who can develop an internationally recognized research program in neuroethics and its relations to neural engineering research, education and practice. Neural Engineering encompasses work at the intersection between engineering and the physical sciences – including physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics – to brain sciences and applications in brain health.

Potential areas may include ethical and policy challenges related to invasive and noninvasive continuous brain monitoring, wearable technologies, analysis of electronic health records, brain-environment interactions including effects of neurotoxins, safety and data security of neural prosthetics and medical devices, augmented cognition, brain-computer interfaces and assistive technologies, and sustainable health engineering. The candidate will advise and mentor undergraduate and graduate students in a diverse, multicultural, and interdisciplinary global program; and will maintain high pedagogical standards, as well as contribute to our positive, engaging scholastic community. The successful applicant will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in engineering and offer new interdisciplinary courses that will attract students from the Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts, Medicine, and Science; and the Bioethics and Neurosciences graduate programs; among others.

The Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) Department (http://www.esm.psu.edu/): ESM is a highly interdisciplinary department with faculty holding degrees in at least 14 different fields. The Engineering Science undergraduate program has been the Honors program for the College of Engineering since 1956. Ph.D. student research areas include neural engineering, engineering mechanics; advanced materials; electromagnetics; and bio/nanotechnology. The ESM Department, together with the Department of Neurosurgery, and with support from the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine, the Materials Research Institute, and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences founded the CNE in 2006. Today, CNE is housed in Penn State’s Millennium Science Complex.

Center for Neural Engineering (CNE) (http://cne.psu.edu/): CNE faculty have core expertise in materials and devices, theory and computation, brain physiology, and brain human health. Their portfolio of brain and brain disease-related research includes: epilepsy; spreading depression; Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases; hydrocephalous, stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage; sleep regulation; neurovascular coupling and the origins and interpretation of functional MRI; origins of bird song; and function of basil ganglia. They bring rigorous mechanics modeling to questions in function, dysfunction, and treatment of brain, and are at the forefront in applying control-theoretic approaches to bridging computational neuroscience and observation and control of neural systems. Recent initiatives in sustainable health engineering link outcome-related metrics to the economics and design of health treatment.

The Rock Ethics Institute: The successful candidate will hold a 50% appointment in the Rock Ethics Institute(http://rockethics.psu.edu/) as one of a transformative series of tenure-track appointments designed to ensure that Penn State becomes a leader in ethics-informed interdisciplinary research and the integration of ethical literacy throughout the University curriculum. Located in the College of the Liberal Arts, REI currently has 14 tenured or tenure-track faculty shared with 8 colleges across the University, with authorization to expand to 18 tenured or tenure-track faculty over the next three years. The Rock Ethics Institute seeks candidates who will be effective in working on and leading interdisciplinary teams that embed ethical analysis into research projects and who have experience and interest in integrating ethics into undergraduate and graduate curricula. Faculty who are hired will receive a one-course release for the first five years for enhancing existing ethics research and curricular initiatives as well as building new initiatives and programs aligned with the Institute’s mission.

Bioethics Program: The Bioethics Program (http://bioethics.psu.edu) offers an undergraduate minor, graduate minors at both the master’s and doctoral levels, and the first dual-title Ph.D. in bioethics of its kind. We have a vibrant community of interdisciplinary scholars and students who meet weekly in our Bioethics Colloquium. Cross-listed Engineering/Bioethics courses and leadership in development of a bioethics dual-title degree are envisioned. A Ph.D. in a discipline relevant to neuroethics and neural engineering, and demonstrated experience engaging with relevant ethical issues through research, teaching or both is required. One degree (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.) must be from a scientific, engineering or technology field. Research and/or coursework related to neural engineering is preferred. The successful candidate must have earned their Ph.D. prior to the start of the appointment.

Penn State’s College of Engineering strives to build a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment for students, staff, and faculty. We rely on the expertise, sensitivity and commitment of an inclusive faculty to enhance diversity, seek equity, and create a welcoming environment within our community. We are committed to nurturing a learning and working environment that respects differences in culture, age, gender, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation. In welcoming every candidate, we strive to meet the needs of professional families by actively assisting with partner-placement needs. We are inspiring change and impacting tomorrow.

Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The expected start date is August 15, 2020. Applications must be submitted to job online via psu.jobs. The application should contain a single PDF file comprising in the following order: a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statements on research, teaching, and past or future contributions to diversity and inclusion, three relevant publications, and names and addresses of four references. The cover letter and/or research statements should address how the candidate’s work is relevant to the Rock Ethics Institute’s mission, will be enhanced by faculty membership in the ESM department; and will connect to and leverage activities in the Center for Neural Engineering.

Inquiries can be directed to search committee chair Dr. Bruce Gluckman, Director, Center for Neural Engineering, ESMNeuroethicsSearch@esm.psu.edu.