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Personal information

After personally seeing the disturbing impact technology can have as an IT consultant, Matthijs decided to focus on the ethical, responsible use of innovative technology, such as wearables, robotics, and AI. The Institute for ICT at Hogeschool Utrecht allowed him to obtain a master’s degree in philosophy from Tilburg University. He completed his master in Philosophy in 2017 with a thesis on programming robots with moral concepts. Currently, Matthijs is working on a part-time PhD-project that got funded by NWO (Promotiebeurs voor leraren) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, VU Amsterdam (supervisor prof. dr. Elly Konijn) on the responsible use of social robots in primary education.

His research is focused on designing robots for primary education while keeping in mind the (moral) values of stakeholders. His research covers studying robots in healthcare, education, and hospitality, and has been published in high-impact scientific journals and at conferences, such as Computers & Education, The International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology, and the International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication. His work has been nominated for several awards and has won the Computable award 2021 for SAMbuddy, a social robot for supporting children’s emotional well-being.  

He is an affiliate of the research group Digital Ethics at Hogeschool Utrecht, and a member of the Royal Dutch Association of Information Professionals (KNVI). During his PhD project, he co-founded the Social Robotics Program: a specialization and international minor of the Institute for ICT at the Hogeschool Utrecht in which students, researchers and organisations together solve societal issues related to robotisation. This has resulted in various publications, nominations and awards in the last three years. He is also co-founder and chairman of the National Social Robotics Contest, a competition in which students from five universities of applied sciences (Hanze, Saxion, HvA, Windesheim and HU) build social robots to solve a social issue. Matthijs has been interviewed by AG ConnectKennisnetDutch Research Agenda (NWA), and other national news media on ethics and technology, and is regularly invited as a keynote speaker at both business and academic conferences.

With his research, Matthijs aims to contribute to the responsible development of technology that improves the lives of all stakeholders involved, with a special focus on primary education. To do so, his main focus is on how technology can support children in healthcare and education, working closely together with academic and societal partners. 


Matthijs has a position as a lecturer at Institute for ICT at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and at the department of Communication Sciences at the VU Amsterdam, he teaches the following courses: 

  • Ethics in a Digital World (MA)
  • Human-robot interaction (BA)
  • Design Methods for Social Robots (BA)
  • Privacy, Law and Security (BA)
  • ICT and Organizations (BA)
  • Business Process Management (BA)
  • Process Analysis (BA)
  • Thesis supervision (BA & MA)



Promotiebeurs voor leraren  (honored)  Robots in Education: Implementing Robot Tutors in a Morally Justified Way. PhD-project under the supervision of prof. dr. Elly A. Konijn

SOROCOVA: Sociale Robotica ter ondersteuning van COVID-19 LeerAchterstanden. Funded by regieorgaan SIA, NWO. Grant number: SIA.COV.01.006. 

Opportunity map en meetinstrumenten voor robot-kind relaties. Funded by SIA, NWO. KIEM.K21.01.103 

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Academic qualification


  • BJ Ethics
  • H Social Sciences (General)

User created Keywords

  • social robots
  • human-robot interaction
  • Education Technology


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