Dr. P.E. (Pieter) Vermaas

Dr. P.E. (Pieter) Vermaas


Pieter Vermaas is philosopher of quantum technology and design at TU Delft. He leads ethics research for the Dutch Quantum Delta NL programme for the development of quantum technologies and heads the Quantum Lab at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of TU Delft. His research concerns the societal and moral impact of quantum computing, quantum internet and quantum sensing, and the use of design tools for enabling non-expert stakeholders to co-shape these technologies.

Vermaas has a training in physics and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his PhD on the foundations of quantum mechanics at the Institute for History and Foundations of Science of Utrecht University. At TU Delft he helped creating the Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts research program (2000-2005), in which technical artefacts were conceptually and ontologically analysed as having both structural and intentional natures, with functions playing an important role in relating these natures. From 2006 to 2010 he obtained a five-year NWO VIDI fellowship for epistemological research on the use of functions and functional decompositions in engineering design methods. Research thereafter broadened to the methodology of product design and design thinking, including the Delft “design for values” approach to the realisation or safeguarding of moral and societal values in technology through design.

Vermaas is Editor in Chief of the book series Philosophy of Engineering and Technology and edited handbooks on Design for Values and Engineering Systems Design. He co-launched the Delft Design for Values Institute and served as president of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT).



  • OpenSuperQPlus100, a 3½ years Horizon Europe project on building a 100+ qubit superconducting quantum computer.
  • Quantum and Society, a 7 years project on the ethical, legal and societal aspects of quantum technologies, part of the Quantum Delta NL programme on developing quantum technologies.
  • TechEthos, a 4 years Horizon Europe project on the ethics of emerging technologies.
  • A 5 years VIDI grant for the research program Functional Decomposition in Philosophy and Engineering.
  • The Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts, a 4 years research project on the conceptual and ontological foundations of technology and design.


Other activities





  • Design for values
  • Design methodology
  • Ethics of quantum technologies
  • Foundations of quantum mechanics
  • Philosophy of design
  • Philosophy of quantum technology
  • Philosophy of technology
  • Sociotechnical systems
  • Technical artefacts
  • Technical functions

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