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

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 10 Dec 2023

4 Nov 2023
Job Information

Maastricht University (UM)
Research Field

Juridical sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

10 Dec 2023 - 22:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer 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.

Specific Requirements


  • 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.

Additional Information

As PhD candidateat 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 .

Selection process

Or are you already convinced and ready to become our new PhD candidate? Apply now, no later than 10 December 2023, for this position.

The first interviews preferably take place in December 2023. The second interviews will preferably be held in January 2024.

Applications should include:

  • a letter of motivation,
  • a curriculum vitae,
  • representative work (e.g. a master thesis).

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.

Additional comments

Are you interested in this exciting position but still have questions? Feel free to contact professor Gijs van Dijck at [email protected] / +31 43 388 1396 for more information.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Maastricht University
Postal Code
Bouillonstraat 1-3

Where to apply



Minderbroedersberg 4
Postal Code

6211 LK


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