Tim van Zuijlen, a PhD student at the Department of Private Law and Notary Law, has received a European Sustainable Society PhD grant for his research proposal on the legal admissibility of the ‘planned obsolescence’ of products.
Van Zuijlen explains: ‘Planned obsolescence is the strategy for reducing the lifespan of a product for the purpose of increasing sales. A manufacturer could, for example, include a poorly-designed component which will ensure that the product stops working sooner, build in a chip that switches the product off after a certain period of time or issue a software update that decreases the functionality of older products to such a degree that the user will be more inclined to purchase a replacement. These practices face a lot of resistance from society, not only because consumers are forced to spend more money but also because it adds more waste to landfills and makes products less safe.’
Several legal issues, however, still require a closer look. For example, it is not yet clear in which cases consumers who are faced with these practices would be entitled to remedies such as repairs, price reductions or financial compensation. By studying regulations and the legal debate on this topic in various countries, Van Zuijlen wants to provide more clarity. His research is being supervised by Prof. A.J. Verheij, Prof. G.P. Mifsud Bonnici and Dr R. Koolhoven.
Van Zuijlen received this PhD grant during the online PhD grant ceremony on 7 December.
Sustainable Society has made a European and intercontinental grant available to encourage young researchers at the University of Groningen to work on societal issues. Grant proposals submitted before 20 September were assessed by an independent panel who selected a total of 9 recipients. All recipients submitted three-minute thesis videos in the chance to win a bonus prize. The winner of this video contest, judged by both participants and an independent jury, was announced on 7 December.
won the bonus prize, worth €1,000. This prize
may be used to create a visual representation of the winner’s research in cooperation with a professional graphic designer, with the goal of increasing and promoting the visibility and impact of the research in question.
The panel received a large number of proposals, all on topics closely related to Sustainable Society themes. The proposals selected demonstrated a concrete contribution to solving regional and global societal issues.
The PhD grant, or the bonus prize?
This article was published by the Faculty of Law.
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