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PhD researchers Groningen Graduate School of Law (8.0 FTE) (220099E)

Job description

The PhD researcher performs research and takes part in the PhD training programme of the GGSL. The PhD researcher also has teaching responsibilities. There will be ample opportunity to take part in international conferences and (inter)national workshops and seminars. Training as well as teaching responsibilities are laid down in a personal training and supervision plan.

The Faculty of Law offers 8 positions for employee PhD researchers. The PhD researchers participate in the Groningen Graduate School of Law (GGSL). The GGSL organizes training for students of the research masters as well as the PhD researchers and provides for a stimulating and inspiring intellectual environment. By the national accreditation committee it was praised for the way it supports and supervises PhD researchers from the start of their PhD trajectory up to the ceremony.

The PhD researcher will be employed in one of the six departments of the faculty and will carry out his/her research in one of the following research programmes:
1. Effective Criminal Law
2. Law on Energy and Sustainability
3. Protecting European Citizens and Market Participants
4. Transboundary Legal Studies
5. User-friendly Private Law
6. Public Interests and Private Relationships
7. Public Trust and Public Law.

The candidate should write his or her own research proposal and the proposal has to fit within one of the above mentioned research programmes. Four PhD positions are reserved for the so called ‘focus areas’ of the sector plan for the Faculty of Law ( These proposals should not only be related to the research programmes but also fall within the focus areas. These focus areas are: Re-thinking public interests in private relationships and Empirical Legal Research.

The focus area Re-thinking public interests in private relationships, from the background of paradigmatic shifts in the public and private domains, requires innovative and pro-active research on new regulatory models, institutions and instruments, oriented towards contributing to the solution of a number of urgent societal problems.

The focus area Empirical Legal Research focuses on conducting, collecting and integrating empirical research on the consequences of law across different legal fields. Research focuses on the effects of law on: the users of legal procedures; the level of public trust in the justice system; and the safeguarding of public interests in private relationships.

Candidates who want to apply for one of the four positions in these focus areas should clarify if and how the research fits with one of these focus areas.

For more information about the content of the focus areas, please contact:
• Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi (Rethinking), Professor of Law and Governance, a.l.b.colombi.ciacchi, tel. +31 (0)50 36 35687
• Marc Hertogh (ELS), Professor of Socio-Legal Studies, m.l.m.hertogh, tel. +31 (0)50 36 35674 (please do not use for applications)


Candidates should have a university master’s degree, preferably in law or in a field that is relevant for carrying out the research proposal. Candidates should also be competent in academic writing and planning and organizing their activities in an independent manner.

• analytical thinking skills
• goal oriented
• critical research attitude
• perseverance


The Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen is a modern, (inter)nationally oriented institution which builds on a longstanding tradition of almost four centuries. The faculty has the ambition to measure itself with the best law faculties in Europe and continuously renews its curriculum in order to educate lawyers with a broad orientation, accustomed to look beyond the borders of their own (sub) discipline. The faculty’s research is often cross- and multidisciplinary. The faculty offers several (inter)national bachelor and master programmes and hosts more than 4000 students and almost 350 members of staff.

Conditions of employment

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to € 2,972 gross per month in the last year for a full-time position. Selected candidates will get a temporary fulltime appointment as PhD researcher (1.0 FTE) for a period of four years that should result in an individual PhD dissertation. Initially they will get a temporary appointment for 18 months at which time their performance will be assessed. If the result of the results- and development interview is positive, the appointment will be extended until 4 years. The place of employment is Groningen.

Interviews with selected candidates take place in the week of 2 - 5 June 2020.

Starting date four PhD positions in ‘focus areas’: 1 July or 1 August 2020.
Starting date other PhD positions: 1 September, 1 October or 1 November 2020.


Candidates can apply until 21 April 11:59 pm / before 22 April 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form. Click on ‘Apply’ below on the advertisement on the university website and fill in the application form with your dossier. Please combine all your files into one PDF file and submit the file as 'Letter of motivation'.

Your dossier, in the form of one combined PDF file, should contain in the following order:
• A motivation letter in which you describe why you wish to do this research, why you aim at performing this specific research, what makes you pre-eminently suitable to perform this research.
• A curriculum vitae.
• A list of marks or results belonging to bachelor and (almost finished) master degree.
• A letter of reference/ recommendation relevant for academic performance.
• A certified English language test for non-Dutch speakers*
• A research proposal of max. 4 A4 (including footnotes - but excluding bibliography) consisting of the following elements:
1. The introduction of the central question
2. The central question
3. The relevant literature
4. The methodology
5. The plan of approach
6. The way the research fits into the faculty’s research programmes.

  • a certified language test:

• CPE, CAE, IELTS or TOEFL; (IELTS > 7.0, all section scores should at least be 6.5 plus a writing score of at least 7.0;• TOEFL > 100, all section scores should at least be 23 plus a writing score of at least 25).

You are exempt from proving proficiency in English if you:
• are a native speaker and have completed secondary education in one of the following countries: USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia;
• have already completed a bachelor and master programme in one of the following countries: USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia;
• have already completed and English taught bachelor and masters programme in the Netherlands for which they had to prove proficiency in English.

If English was the medium of instruction during your previous education, but you do not meet the above mentioned requirements for exemption, you are still required to prove your English proficiency by means of one of the tests as mentioned above.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Professor Pauline Westerman, Director GGSL, p.c.westerman
  • Marjolijn Both, MA (for practical information), Coordinator GGSL, l.both

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.