PhD candidate position on Machine Learning, Data Science, and Law

PhD candidate position on Machine Learning, Data Science, and Law

Published Deadline Location
3 Nov 10 Dec Maastricht

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Maastricht University invites applications for a fully funded PhD position focused on integrating machine learning and data science techniques with the law.

Job description

Law affects us all, but technology often benefits the wealthy the most. In your project, you will seek to contribute to a better understanding of how technical methods can assist in the application, interpretation, and evaluation of laws, for instance by developing innovative solutions for start-ups and ordinary citizens. Data sources may include legal texts (e.g. laws, court decisions), social media data, or computer code itself. You will work closely with industry partners and public authorities and have tangible real-world impact with your work. The ability to find innovative technical solutions to legal challenges could become a key skill of your future career be it as a researcher, entrepreneur, or engineer.

Your project will connect to previous research. In prior research, we have analyzed whether AI can assist in (I) retrieving relevant legal information given a layperson’s question, (ii) detecting vendors on the Dark Web, (iii) measuring where a user’s data ends up when using Android and IOS, (iv) researching cancel culture, and (v) detecting important court decisions. You will undertake PhD research at the intersection of law and computer science under the supervision of professors of the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab. Your primary task is conducting the research for your PhD project. Your exact project will be determined in consultation with you. A small proportion of the appointment may be devoted to teaching activities, which commonly amounts to teaching activities in a period of eight weeks per year.

You will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from different disciplines, including machine learning, data science, and law. You will be part of an exciting, vibrant, and quickly growing community where researchers from different disciplines meet and form interdisciplinary teams that conduct academically and societally relevant research. You will be offered the opportunity to gain insights not only on applying computational techniques, but also on law, regulation, and ethics. For this, you will be encouraged, coached, and allowed to attend courses, conferences and workshops that will add social and legal knowledge to your skillset. PhD researchers participate in the Maastricht University Graduate School of Law.


Maastricht University (UM)


  • MSc degree in Computer Science, Machine Learning, or Data Science (or equivalent).
  • Proven experience with applying machine learning, natural language processing and/or data science.
  • Interest in learning about other disciplines, law in particular.
  • Community-friendly team player.
  • Excellent oral and written English communication.
  • Optional: geek-friendly.

Conditions of employment

As PhD candidate at Faculty of Law, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:
  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded in scale P according to UFO profile Promovendus, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from €2770,00 and €3539,00 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1,0 FTE.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.
    The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.


Maastricht University

Why work at Maastricht University?
At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.

Click here for more information about UM.


The Faculty of Law at Maastricht University is a top-quality provider of challenging and rewarding Dutch and European legal education at bachelor’s, masters and PhD-level. A true pioneer in small-scale education and the teaching of legal skills for a broad range of future legal professionals.

The clear research focus on European and international aspects of law and technology. On the empirical dimension of law provides both students and staff with a stimulating work environment. The faculty values its open and inclusive community, which contributes to creating a productive and pleasant place for work and study.

The Faculty of Law offers a wide range of bachelor and master's programs. Would you like to learn more about our programs? Visit our website for more information on the courses, career perspectives, and admission requirements of our programs.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 386


Maastricht University (UM)

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Bouillonstraat 1-3, 6211LH, Maastricht

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