Post-Doctoral Researcher in International Law and Artificial Intelligence

Post-Doctoral Researcher in International Law and Artificial Intelligence

Published Deadline Location
27 Mar 12 May Amsterdam

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Job description

The Asser Institute, based in The Hague, and affiliated with the University of Amsterdam is seeking an enthusiastic POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER IN INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE on a full-time basis (38 hours per week/1 FTE). They will join the research strand on Disruptive technologies in peace and security within our Research Agenda Rethinking public interests in international and European law, and take part in the NWO-funded research project ELSA Lab Defence.

Disruptive technologies in peace and security

The research strand on Disruptive technologies in peace and security conducts research on technologies that have disruptive implications for international security and international law, including military applications of artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven warfare, biochemical weapons, and conventional weapons or dual use technologies with a disruptive potential. Our research focuses, in particular, on the development of the international regulatory framework for the military and security applications of disruptive technologies. Two main lines of enquiry guide research within this strand: on the one hand, we question how legal norms and ethical values can shape technologies, and on the other hand we analyse how technologies challenge our legal norms and ethical values.

Current research projects in the strand include the DILEMA project (Designing International Law and Ethics into Military Artificial Intelligence), the I2RAMP project (Implementing International Responsibility for AI in Military Practice), and initiatives in the field of international arms control law.

ELSA Lab Defence

The ELSA Lab Defence is a research project addressing Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects (ELSA) of AI in the defence sector. The project aims to develop an assessment and design methodology that helps translating ELSA into (socio-)technical requirements, and establishes a practical and pragmatic research, development and deployment process for AI-based applications. The interdisciplinary project consortium is led by TNO and includes, next to the Asser Institute, the Delft University of Technology, Leiden University, the Nederlandse Defensie Academie (NLDA), and the Hague University of Applied Sciences. The ELSA Lab is funded by NWO under the synergy theme Human-centric AI for an inclusive society: Towards an ecosystem of trust.

What are you going to do?
The post-doctoral researcher will notably conduct research to identify specific use-cases and contextual factors, and conceptualise their implications for the ELSA Lab methodology. Relevant factors may include different types of applications of AI in a military context, human-machine teams on the battlefield versus in the decision room, ELSA in multinational operations, domain specific ELSA (e.g. maritime, space, cyber), and AI in interaction with other technologies. This will serve as a ground to refine general approaches on legal aspects of AI in defence, to develop representative case studies and an ELSA-impact assessment methodology, as well as to define relevant parameters for exercises, simulations, and trainings on decision-making and human-machine interaction in practice. The post-doctoral researcher will work in collaboration with other researchers of the ELSA Lab project, and incorporate insights from interdisciplinary perspectives on AI in defence.

The organisation

The Asser Institute is a research centre for international and European law, located in The Hague, with a high public and international profile. Its mission is to contribute to the development of international and European law by conducting independent fundamental research, policy-oriented research, and commissioned research, as well as by initiating and facilitating academic and expert meetings, (professional) education, and public events with a view to disseminating knowledge on international and European law.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The main tasks will include:
  • Conduct high-quality fundamental research on international law and technology, in particular (military applications of) artificial intelligence;
  • Develop and execute research and dissemination activities within the ELSA Lab project, and represent the Asser Institute within the ELSA Lab project consortium;
  • Publish articles in high-level academic journals;
  • Present research at academic conferences;
  • Engage with project partners and relevant private and public stakeholders (academia, policy, industry);
  • Contribute to the drafting of proposals to acquire research funding;
  • Work closely together with other researchers, in particular the DILEMA project;
  • Participate in the development and execution of the research, education, and outreach activities of the research strand;
  • Engage actively with the Asser research community.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


Your experience and profile:

The successful candidate will meet the following requirements:
  • A completed PhD in public international law, with a focus on technologies of warfare, autonomous weapons systems, or artificial intelligence;
  • A solid knowledge of academic, policy, and technical debates surrounding AI and its military applications;
  • A track-record of academic publications;
  • A strong research interest in responsible innovation and governance of technologies in the public sector;
  • Experience or a demonstrable interest in interdisciplinary research;
  • Experience or a demonstrable interest in policy-oriented research and engagement with government and industry;
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • Fluency in English;
  • Command of the Dutch language is an advantage.

Conditions of employment

The appointment is initially for one year. Upon successful performance, the appointment will be extended for two additional years.

The salary will be in accordance with the salary scales of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities, scale 11, with a range of €3.974 to €5.439 gross per month (full-time), depending on the actual level of education and experience. Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.

The employee will be appointed at the University of Amsterdam and seconded to the Asser Institute.


Amsterdam Law School

T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Established in 1965, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut is an internationally renowned centre of expertise in the fields of public international law, private international law and European law affiliated with the University of Amsterdam.

The T.M.C. Asser Instituut conducts fundamental and independent policy-oriented research and organises critical and constructive reflection on international and European legal developments, at the interface of academia, legal practice and governance.

The institute actively disseminates its knowledge through publications, training programmes, conferences and free events.

The University of Amsterdam
The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the widest range of courses on offer. An intellectual hub with 39.000 students, 6.000 employees en 3.000 PhD students connected by a culture of curiosity. Read more.

Amsterdam Law School
Committed, responsible and open-minded. This is how we at the Amsterdam Law School view the role of law in a constantly changing (international) society. With over 5,000 students and 550 staff, we are one of the larger law faculties in The Netherlands. We educate legal professionals who know how to apply effectively with the aim of actually contributing to solutions for society. We respond to social developments through innovative and pioneering research. In this way, we always keep in touch with society.


  • Postdoc
  • Law
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • 11408


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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