Postdoctoral researcher on self-regulatory strategies for responsible and trustworthy AI

Postdoctoral researcher on self-regulatory strategies for responsible and trustworthy AI

Published Deadline Location
3 Jun 3 Jul Tilburg

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Tilburg University | Tilburg Law School is looking for a:
Postdoctoral researcher on self-regulatory strategies for responsible and trustworthy AI
Department: Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society, location: Tilburg
Scientific area: Philosophy and/or Ethics of Technology/STS/Regulation

Job description

The rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies bring forth many challenges. Also, AI is not a ‘stand-alone’ technology: it operates in a network of actors (companies, users, developers, other technologies). With so many different actors steering the development and use of AI applications, assigning responsibility, and identifying who and what is trustworthy, becomes a complicated endeavor. There is a widely felt need to move beyond civil liability and replenish it with other bottom-up strategies to mitigate risks and foster responsible and trustworthy AI and data-driven technology. Commercial and public AI ethics initiatives, impact assessments, codes of conduct, ethical design principles; all these initiatives aim at developing technology practices that are trustworthy and accountable, reducing uncertainty in oftentimes overly complex environments. However, if and how these new self- regulatory and soft law strategies are successful in mitigating risks and safeguarding individual rights, and how they relate to applicable law remains unclear.

It is the ambition of this project, to both evaluate the impact and effectiveness of soft law strategies, as well as to replenish our conceptual understanding of key principles in the legal and data-driven domain. Key questions that guide this research could be but are not limited to: In what ways do actors interpret open norms? Who is at the table when a code of conduct is being drafted? What are the (socio-legal) tools of enacting new technologies as responsible? Who has the actual power when it comes to formulating ethical design principles and what does that mean for an application’s affordances? How do legal principles relate to business values? Which stories are built and enacted to be acknowledged as trustworthy? These questions can be further tailored to the interests and expertise of the candidate.

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher who carries out multi- or transdisciplinary work across the fields of ethics, law, and governance. Being interested in and having (some) experience with qualitative research (interviews, focus groups, observations) is required. Our candidate is fascinated by “law in action”, specifically by public and private actors engaging in self-regulation and will flesh out how these actors go about organizing trustworthy and responsible AI practices. After all, these actors are in a constant flow of reconfiguring, negotiating, and interpreting these fundamental principles in their own specific contexts. By collecting and analyzing these contextual interpretations, we should be able to work on a more dynamic theoretical understanding of these key principles. Providing this kind of conceptual clarity, that is rooted in empirical work on the practice of techno-regulation, will not only give a much-needed impulse to the academic debate, it will also better equip the legal domain (including legal practice) to tackle the regulatory challenges that are central to AI and digital technologies.  


Tilburg University


Tilburg University believes that academic excellence is achieved through the combination of excellent research and education, whereby societal impact is achieved by means of sharing knowledge. In doing so, we recognize that excellence is achieved not only through individual performance, but primarily through team efforts where each team member acts as a leader connecting people. 

This position is open to scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds, preferably with experience in doing interdisciplinary research, this includes Philosophers (e.g. empirically- informed philosophers of technology, political philosophers, and AI ethicists) who possess basic legal knowledge and are eager to combine conceptual analysis and qualitative research, Legal scholars with a focus on technology regulation who have experience in doing qualitative research (interviews, observations, focus groups) and are interested in the interaction between law, soft law, and ethics, and STS and Critical Data Studies scholars who have basic legal knowledge, are familiar with the legal domain, and who are not afraid of engaging in normative analyses; 


  • Have completed a PhD in e.g., Science and Technology Studies or (empirical) philosophy or ethics of technology, law with a focus on technology regulation, or related social science research fields, preferably in the area of AI governance, self-regulation and data ethics;
  • Have knowledge of, or demonstrable interest in self-regulation and soft law, the governance and ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and ethical and legal questions related to digitization.
  • Have demonstrable interest in technical questions surrounding AI 
  • Have experience with carrying out interdisciplinary research (e.g. carrying out qualitative interviews and observations.)
  • Have native-level command of English; knowledge of Dutch is a plus
  • Have the ability to independently carry out research; 
  • Have the ability to co-work in a research team;
  • Have the ability and willingness to apply for external research funding, at national and/or European level;
  • Have proven scientific integrity and contribute to an open and diversified culture of excellence; 
  • Are committed to be an active member of our team and the department and to integrate in the environment provided by the department and the school.

The successful candidate may be occasionally asked to perform other duties which are not included above, but which will be consistent with the role of postdoctoral researcher (e.g., providing some guest lectures, supervising master students).

Tilburg University assumes the provision of physical education. The starting point is that all employees perform their work in the Netherlands. This means, among other things, that new employees are expected to move to the Netherlands before the start of their employment.

Personal qualities/talents

  • You show personal leadership: you take responsibility for your work and career and possess a good level of self-knowledge.  
  • You have team spirit: you feel part of a team and express this through collaboration, sharing knowledge and experiences, and contributing to an open and inclusive work environment. 

Conditions of employment

Tilburg University is among the top employers in the Netherlands and has excellent terms of employment.

This is a position for 0.8-1.0 FTE (32-40 hours per week) of full working time. 

The salary amounts to a minimum of € 3.821 and a maximum of € 5.230 gross per month for full-time employment, based on UFO profile Researcher 3 and salary scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Tilburg University uses a neutral remuneration system for salary scaling that is based on relevant education and work experience.

This is a vacancy for a temporary position in accordance with Article 2.3 paragraph 5 of the CLA for Dutch universities. You will be given a temporary employment contract for the duration of 3 years. 

You are entitled to a vacation allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your gross annual income. If you work 40 hours per week, you will receive 41 paid days of leave per year.

Tilburg University offers excellent employment conditions with attention to flexibility and (personal) development and has excellent fringe benefits (one of the best non-profit employers in the Netherlands), such as an Options Model for employment conditions and an excellent reimbursement of moving expenses.

We make clear agreements on career paths and offer all kinds of facilities and arrangements to maintain an optimal balance between work and private life. You can also follow numerous training courses, for example, in the areas of leadership skills, personal effectiveness, and career development. 

All employees of the university are covered by the so-called General Pension Fund for Public Employers (Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP). Researchers from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a tax-free allowance of 30% of their taxable salary. The university applies for this allowance on their behalf. The university offers attractive fringe benefits (one of the best non-profit employers in the Netherlands),

Tilburg University values an open and inclusive culture. We embrace diversity and encourage the mutual integration of groups of employees and students. We focus on creating equal opportunities for all our employees and students so that everyone feels at home in our university community.

Tilburg University has a lively campus in beautiful green surroundings that is easily accessible by public transport. We are committed to a sustainable society and challenge you to make an active contribution.

Please visit working at Tilburg University for more information on our terms of employment. 


Tilburg University

Under the motto of ‘Understanding society’, Tilburg University’s more than 1,500 employees develop knowledge, transfer it to others, and bring people from various disciplines and organizations together. In this way, we want to contribute to solving complex social issues. Our focus areas are economics, business and entrepreneurship, social and behavioral sciences, law and public administration, the humanities and digital sciences, and theology. Tilburg University is internationally known for its high standards in education and scientific research, as well as its good support facilities. The Tilburg University campus offers both quietness and connectivity as it is located in a wooded park, ten minutes away from the city center, main highways, and railways. A mid-sized city of 200,000 inhabitants in the South of the Netherlands, and in proximity to cities like Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London, Tilburg is situated at the very heart of Western Europe. 

Tilburg Law School offers highly ranked national and international education and research in law and public administration. Currently, almost 4,000 students are enrolled at Tilburg Law School. Students in Tilburg can choose from five Bachelor's programs, one of which is taught in English (Bachelor Global Law) and ten Master's programs, eight of which are taught in English. The international orientation of Tilburg Law School is reflected in these Bachelor's and Master's programs. The research conducted within Tilburg Law School is aimed at social relevance and provides students with the tools and skills to study and deal with current issues at an academic level. The research within Tilburg Law School is organized into five cross-departmental research programs: 1) Global Law and Governance; 2) New Modes of Lawmaking and Governance in a Multilayered Order; 3) Law and Security; 4) Connecting Organizations: Private, Fiscal and Technology-Driven Legal Relations in a Sustainable Society; and 5) Law and Technology.


Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

TILT is one of the leading research groups in Europe at the intersection of law, technology, and society. It is premised on the multidisciplinary study of socio-technical change, aiming at understanding the interaction of technology and social and normative practices, in order to clarify how regulatory challenges of socio-technical change can be addressed. TILEC, a Center of Excellence at Tilburg University and a global leader in the study of economic governance, consists of some 40 committed members working on economic law and regulation as well as institutional, behavioural and experimental economics. In addition, Tilburg University is a social science specialized institution, hosting various research groups on topics covering multiple aspects of transnational, comparative and global law from a theoretical and empirical viewpoint.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Law
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €3821—€5230 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 20358



Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg

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