I work on issues in contemporary political philosophy and applied ethics, and hold the Chair in Ethics of Institutions at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University. I am especially interested in applied and non-ideal philosophy and in interdisciplinary research, as well as in the development of normative theories and methods that are needed to support this kind of research.

For the next few years, I am mainly busy with directing the
Fair Limits Project, which examines the distributive rule that there should be upper limits to how many resources it is morally permissible to have. These questions are examined in tandem with several innovations in the philosophy of distributive justice, such as the development of methods for non-ideal analysis, the question of the agency of justice, as well as the question what liberal thinking (on distributive justice) can learn from non-liberal and/or non-western approaches. The Fair Limits Project is funded by an ERC Consolidators Grant.

Much of my research in the last 15 years has been on the capability approach, social justice, or desirable institutional change (whether in concrete policies and laws, more macro-level systems, or informal institutions such as social norms). For a list of my scholarly publications, see the page with my publications.

In December 2017, I published a monograph/textbook on the capability approach with
Open Book Publishers. The book's title is Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: The Capability Approach Re-examined, and the e-version can be downloaded for free from the publishers website (click here). Other topics I recently published on are the ethics of autism and basic income; In addition I also have unpublished papers on questions of ecological sustainability and procreation, the ethics of institutions, and the assessment of economic institutions.

In recent years I have been teaching on the ethics of institutions, the ethics of capitalism, the capability approach, and climate ethics. At the PhD level, Sem de Maagt and Morten Fibieger Byskov recently received their PhD degree under my co-supervision. I am currently supervising Matthias Kramm, and Julietta Elgarte (with Ph. Van Parijs as first supervisor), as well as Petra van der Kooij and Dick Timmer who are part of the Fair Limits project. I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD-candidates who have arranged for their own funding (please note: Utrecht University does not have PhD scholarships).

I have been the Chairperson of the Ethics/Practical Philosophy Chamber of the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (
OZSW) between January 2013 and December 2016, and also served as the first director of the OZSW. Between 2010 and 2015 I held a term as a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; In April 2018 I was elected (for life) as a member of the Royal Academy.

I hold several editorial responsibilities, including as an associate editor of the
Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. In am currently also serving as president-elect of the Human Development and Capability Association and am serving on the 2018 HDCA program committee.

In the Netherlands, I have contributed widely (starting around 2010) to science policy debates and developments, both constructively as well as a critic. Over the last year, I have been very active in WOinActie, an activist group from students and university staff advocating for solutions to labour-conditions related malpractices in the university which affect both students and staff - and we believe whatever else the relevant solutions are, it should include an adequate public budget for the universities, which we currently do not have.

I actively contribute to public debates, including (in Dutch) via the academic philosophy blog
Bij Nader Inzien and in the daily newspaper Trouw's philosophical pages, and (in English) via the group-blog Crooked Timber. At Utrecht University's Ethics Institute, I took the initiative for a new series (in Dutch), called Ethische Annotaties, in which we synthesise the insights of academic philosophy on pressing social issues for the broader public.

I hold an MSc in Economics and an MA in Philosophy, and received my PhD degree for a thesis on gender inequality and the capability approach from Cambridge University, where I was supervised by Amartya Sen.

I am Belgian by birth, was granted additional Dutch citizenship in 2013, and live with my husband and two sons in Utrecht.