Post-doctorat en SHS sur les nanosciences et les nanotechnologies (12 mois,
université de Lorraine)

Postdoctoral position on nanoscience & nanotechnologies (I-SITE, University
of Lorraine, LUE, Impact project “Nano-materials for a new generation of


The University of Lorraine is inviting applications for a postdoctoral
position (100%, 1 year) in Human and Social Sciences within the projet
IMPACT “Nano-materials for a new generation of sensors” («
Nanomatériaux pour le développement de capteurs »).


Context, goals and expectations


Nanoscience and nanotechnologies crosscut traditional epistemological and
philosophical questions and raise new ones, both regarding the
epistemological nature of this field and its interactions with society.
Questions regarding the epistemology of modeling and simulations,
observation, experimental science, or relationship between levels or scales
are renewed by the development of this scientific field. Further,
nanotechnologies raise specific societal issues concerning their
environmental impact, their acceptability, or how public decisions about
nanotechnologies should be made.


The purpose of this postdoctoral project is to combine the first-rank
expertise in nanoscience and human sciences that is present in Nancy in
order to develop high-profile research about the epistemological questions
raised by nanoscience. This research will be carried out in the framework
of the IMPACT project “Nano-materials for a new generation of sensors”.
The IMPACT project is directed by Stéphane Mangin (IJL-UMR 7198) and is
part of the I-SITE project LUE (Lorraine Université d’Excellence). The
human and social part of the IMPACT project is directed by Joëlle
Lighezzolo (INTERPSY-EA 4432). The successful candidate will be supervised
by Cyrille Imbert (Archives Poincaré, UMR 7117).


The postdoctoral researcher will present her/his work regularly to the
members of the project and will participate in the activities (seminars,
workshops, etc.) organized to promote this project (in particular those
that are related to the human and social part of the IMPACT project).
She/he is also expected to contribute to the writing of applications to
local, national or international grants in order to stimulate the
development in Lorraine of researches about nanoscience (and possibly to
obtain an extension of the postdoctoral position). She/he will also
organize a workshop (to be held in 2018) concerning insights brought about
by human and social sciences about issues related to the rise of
nanotechnologies and nanosciences. Overall, she/he should have excellent
communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of
an interdisciplinary team.


The postdoctoral is expected to present her/his research at international
conferences and to publish them in international peer-reviewed journals.


- Linguistic requirements. The candidate must be able to communicate and
work easily in English. Ability to communicate and interact in French is
welcome but not mandatory.


- The deadline for applications is July 20, 2017. The starting date is
September 1, 2017 (but a later starting date in Fall 2017 or early 2018 is


- Procedure for applications.


Applications should be sent to Cyrille Imbert (
and Joëlle Lighezzolo (


They should include a detailed CV including a list and summary of
publications, a description of planned research (500-1000 words), and a
cover letter.


For further questions please contact Cyrille Imbert (
and Joëlle Lighezzolo (



Candidate profile

The candidates will have a PhD and demonstrable competence in a field of
the Human and Social Sciences that is clearly relevant for the pursued


The postdoctoral candidate is expected to have contributions in
peer-reviewed journals and to show a strong research profile in a relevant
field of research.


The possession of a degree in Science (in addition of a PhD in a relevant
field of the Human and Social Sciences) will be considered as a significant



Potential directions of research.


Several potential fields of investigations, presently pursued in
international research, and strongly connected with the Isite project are
presented below. Other directions of inquiries

(e.g. in sociology of science and science studies, law or psychology) are
possible for high profile candidates, provided that the connections with
the scientific IMPACT project are strong, relationships with the
epistemological research pursued in Archives Henri Poincaré clear, and
prospects of international publications high.


1. Risk, nanoscience, governance and the science/society interface


Nanosciences change our physical and social world. In the same time,
nanotechnologies come with specific risks. Accordingly, decisions to
develop specific nanotechnologies and extension of their social acceptance
require appropriate political decisions and public debates. It is also
important that nanotechnologies meet social norms, values, or expectations.
Thus, there is the need to analyze the interactions between the scientific
and technological sphere on the one hand and the social and political
sphere on the other so that the integration of useful, accepted, and
sufficiently safe nanotechnologies takes place appropriately. This in turn
raises general questions concerning the role that nanoscientists and
scientific representations can or should play in the development of social
representations of nanotechnologies and of knowledge about them, or about
how to govern nanoscience and make it match social needs. How to analyze
and discuss risks related to nanoscience and in particular how to apply the
precautionary principle to nanoscience should also be investigated.


2. Conceptual issues in nanoscience.

Nanosciences raises specific questions. The usual idealizations that are
made in science, in which surface effects can be neglected are no longer
valid. Multiscale motley models and simulations, which combine physics at
different scales, weave different types of partly incompatible conceptual
frameworks, and are semi-empirical in the sense that they combine
experimental and theoretical knowledge, need to be developed. Explanatory
or predictive patterns of reasoning, which rely on or depart from the usual
techniques in the empirical science and modeling (idealizations,
intermediate asymptotics, dimensional analysis, etc.) are developed.
Finally, the traditional division between science and technology is
somewhat blurred by the development of nano- objects and materials. All the
above questions are in need of renewed epistemological analyses, rooted in
first-hand knowledge of how nanosciences are practiced.


3. Experimental physics, observations and scientific practices in

The IJL hosts a unique 70 meters UHV connection tube to practice
experimental nanophysics. This suggests developing epistemological analyses
of how observations are carried out with such instruments, and more
generally of the specific observational problems met with nanocaptors. The
epistemic nature of the data that are thereby produced could also be
analyzed. Indeed, experimental data, far from being raw output from
interactions between instruments and physical systems, need more and more
to be submitted to intense computational treatments. How much this
questions the direct, supposedly more reliable, nature of experimental
knowledge is worth analyzing.


4. Collaborative activities in nanoscience

Science is more and more practiced in a collaborative way, which raises
problems regarding expertise, reliability and scientific accountability,
but also regarding the very possibility of developing efficient scientific
activities. In the context of the IMPACT project, two types of collective
activities could be investigated. a) The analyses of collaborative science
have mainly focused on employer/employee, teacher/apprentice, peer-similar
and peer-different collaborations. The idea could be to analyze the
collaborative and organizational specificities of scientific centers that
provide services to other researchers in need of their expertise. b)
Nanosciences, in many cases, are aimed at improving or developing applied
technologies that match users’ needs, and a finely-tuned matching between
the scientific and industrial spheres need to be developed. The purpose
could also be to analyze the obstacles (in terms of distribution of
knowledge, practical skills and communicational abilities) that need to be
overcome for the whole scientific and social process to be fruitful and to
compare the points of view of the scientist, industrials, and mediating