The common thread in Verbeek's work and research is the relationship between humans and technology, seen from an ethical perspective. Since 2018, he has been University Professor of Philosophy of Humans and Technology and scientific codirector of the DesignLab at the University of Twente. He is also an honorary professor at Aalborg University in Denmark. Furthermore, Verbeek is, among other things, vice-chair of the Board of the Rathenau Institute and chair of the Committee for the Freedom of Scientific Pursuit at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Verbeek is chair of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) and fulfills roles in the Dutch Research Council’s Social Sciences and Humanities domain board and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science's sector plan committee in the same domain.
Marise Voskens, chair of the Supervisory Board, on the new rector: ‘Peter-Paul is a nationally and internationally renowned academic whose research focuses on the relationships between people, technology and society. He is also a leader in the field of governance, combining an open mind with decisiveness. Peter-Paul's vision and his view of humanity and the world are a perfect match for the UvA as a progressive and socially engaged university. With his enthusiasm and energy, he can, as rector, make an important contribution to the development of education and research at the UvA.’
The appointment was made after an extensive selection procedure in which the Central Student Council (CSR) and the Central Works Council (COR), among others, made positive recommendations. President of the Executive Board Geert ten Dam explains why Verbeek emerged as the best candidate during the selection procedure: 'Peter-Paul has a keen insight into the role of universities in a changing world and knows how to inspire students and staff. We look forward to working with him to further build on important social themes such as sustainability and digitisation.'
Verbeek is enthusiastic about the appointment: 'The UvA is a frontrunner in the academic world, it will be an honour to help lead it. The full breadth of alpha, gamma, beta and medical sciences, at a high level internationally, in addition to great social commitment, is something I find very special. It gives me great pleasure to see that students and young researchers at the UvA want to take the helm of a more just and sustainable world. They are entitled to expect their university to take the lead in this alongside them. That is what I am committed to.'
During the period from 15 July to 1 October 2022, Executive Board chair Geert ten Dam will assume the rectorship.