Two or Three (2-3) PhD POSITIONS on Digital Legal Studies at the Faculty of Law (1.0 fte)

Two or Three (2-3) PhD POSITIONS on Digital Legal Studies at the Faculty of Law (1.0 fte)

Geplaatst Deadline Locatie
15 jul 28 jul Maastricht

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The Maastricht University Faculty of Law provides funding for two (2) to three (3) paid full-time PhD positions in the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab.


In the coming years, the Faculty of Law invest significantly in digital legal studies and in building technology for law. We offer three (3) full-time PhD positions in this area. 

Digital legal studies (or AI in Law) research can be divided into Law for Technology research (e.g. privacy, liability for self-driving cars, legal status of blockchain) and Technology for Law research. As a PhD in Maastricht University, you will focus on the latter. You will apply computer science to law to unravel the DNA of the law. The Digital Legal Studies project aims to develop a research infrastructure that allows applying artificial intelligence to legal data in order to answer legal research questions and to solve legal problems. You should apply if you are interested in developing legal knowledge graphs, defining criteria for the assessment of legal data quality, create legal knowledge graphs, conducting network analysis, leveraging machine learning and text mining for answering legal questions, or conducting research using similar analytical methods or techniques. PhD projects that are mostly doctrinal legal research do not fit the goals of this project.

You will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with law professors and computer scientists. You will be given an opportunity to learn and apply computer science methods in relation to the legal domain. You and your research will take place within the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab, an exciting and vibrant community where legal scholars and computer scientists meet and form interdisciplinary teams that work at the intersection of Law and Technology. Supervision is equally interdisciplinary: each successful PhD candidate will be supervised by both law and computer science faculty. We are aiming for interdisciplinary publications in both fields (for Law: Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Artificial Intelligence in Law, JURIX; European Law Journal; Oxford Journal of Legal Studies etc.; for Computer Science: target conferences like ICML, ECMLPKDD, EMNLP, ACL, etc.).

PhD researchers participate in the Maastricht University Graduate School of Law. They will prepare a PhD thesis in English or Dutch within the Faculty of Law’s research programme. Supervision will be provided by individually assigned senior researchers. At least 80% of the position will be dedicated to research and not more than 20% to teaching activities.  


Universiteit Maastricht (UM)


Matching Skills and Competencies:

  • Master’s degree in Law and / or Computer/Data Science;
  • (For candidates with a legal background:) Computer science skills are a plus.
  • (For candidates with a computer science background:) Expertise in Knowledge Representation and Machine/Deep Learning is required. Legal knowledge and/or experience in working with legal data is a plus.
  • Ability to teach in English and, if applicable, willingness to learn Dutch;
  • Interest in developing interdisciplinary education in Digital legal studies;
  • Community-friendly team player;
  • Optional: geek-friendly.


Dienstverband voor bepaalde tijd: for a period of 4 years.

We offer a 1.0 fte contract for a period of 4 years, starting preferably in September 2019. An application for a shorter period can also be submitted. Continuation after the first year is dependent upon a positive evaluation.

The full-time gross monthly salary amounts to € 2.325,00 in the first year according to salary scale PhD (‘promovendus’), increasing to € 2.972,00 in the fourth year; on top of this there will be an 8% holiday and an 8,3% year-end allowance.

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings), you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings), you might be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing. Other secondary conditions include a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website: > Support > UM employees.

Appointment date: 1 September 2019 (preferably).


Maastricht University:

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,300 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


Faculty of Law:

The Faculty of Law has a strong and distinct international profile both in education and research. Our faculty is an inspiring and lively place where enthusiastic and inquisitive researchers attempt to find answers to the important legal issues of today. Researchers are able to flourish in the faculty’s vibrant academic community. They develop their own research projects, within the contours set by the faculty’s research programme. Research is focused on the study of the role of law in an increasingly globalised society. Research involves studying both institutional and substantive developments in the process of Europeanisation and globalisation and the role of the national legal order therein. This takes place by means of comparative research and research in the field of European law, international economic law and human rights in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary context. To this end, various research methods are applied whereby more traditional methods are combined with empirical research methods.

Maastricht Law & Tech Lab:

The Maastricht Law and Tech Lab, embedded within the Faculty of Law, aims to produce cutting-edge research and to build a creative community of researchers, teachers and students at the intersection of law, technology, data science and knowledge engineering. The Lab aims to analyze how technology and data science interact with law and justice in society, how technology and data science can increase access to law and justice in society, and analyzes the ethical, legal, and social issues arising from technology and data science innovations. Activities are conducted in collaboration between lawyers, data scientists and/or knowledge engineers.


  • PhD
  • Recht; Natuurwetenschappen; Techniek
  • max. 38 uur per week
  • €2325—€2972 per maand
  • Universitair
  • AT2019.241


Universiteit Maastricht (UM)

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