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PhD Position for MArie Sklodowska-Curie ITN Early Stage Researchers (ESR)PhD Candidate for MArie Sklodowska-Curie ITN Early Stage Researchers (ESR)

Vacancy number
Job type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
13 October 2020
Closing date
8 November 2020 Vacancy closed

The  Center for Law and Digital Technologies (Department eLaw) has a vacancy for a

PhD Candidate for MArie Sklodowska-Curie ITN Early Stage Researchers (ESR)
At the 'Network for Training on Hate (NETHATE) to be funded by the Horizon 2020 Programma

Project description
Countering hate speech—how to effectively protect fundamental rights? — The ESR will carry out a fundamental rights analysis of the ways in which online platforms perform their (moral or legal) responsibilities in countering illegal or harmful speech through the deployment of sophisticated digital technologies. The research includes a conceptualisation of what constitutes illegal or harmful speech, developing a fundamental rights analytical framework as well as case study research on social media platforms. A 3-month secondment is planned at TNO, The Netherlands, focused on the exploration of existing and (potential) future technological tools to prevent or counter hateful web content. The project at Leiden University will work in close collaboration with another ESR, which will conduct research at the University of Antwerp into the countering of online hate-speech through technological interventions.

Selection criteria

  • (Advanced) LL.M. degree(s) in law, preferably law and technology, human rights law;
  • An explicit interest in (human rights) law and digital technologies;
  • Evidence of ability to work independently and collaboratively within an internationally diverse team;
  • Evidence of conducting academic legal research and very good academic writing skills;
  • Having at least one academic publication (besides the LL.M. thesis), preferably in the area of law and digital technologies or human rights law, will be considered an advantage;
  • Evidence of excellent organisation skills and ability to meet deadlines;
  • Ability to work highly efficiently and meet competing priorities;
  • Highly motivated, with excellent organisation skills and with strong attention to detail and quality;
  • Willingness to travel to attend secondments, training and academic events;
  • Excellent communications skills in English both written and verbal. Knowledge of or willingness to learn Dutch is considered an advantage.

Our organisation
With over 5,000 students and 450 members of staff, Leiden Law School is one of the largest faculties in the Netherlands. Yet, in all its diversity, it is still known for its ability to provide education on a small scale. The Faculty focuses on multi-faceted high-level teaching and research, both nationally and internationally. It does so by working with talented people and stimulating and supporting them in their professional and personal ambitions. The Faculty is housed in the beautifully restored Kamerlingh Onnes Building on the Steenschuur in Leiden. Working for the Leiden Law School means working in an inspiring scientific environment. For more information, see the website.

The Center for Law and Digital Technologies (eLaw) was founded in 1985 has a leading role in research and education on law and digital technologies. eLaw is part of the Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law at Leiden Law School. The Center studies the social, legal and normative impact of emerging digital technologies. The focus of our research and education. Is particularly on digital technologies and their interplay with fundamental rights and the rule of law. See the research programme on the Effective Protection of Fundament Rights in a Pluralist World. Key themes in our research and education are: online privacy and personal data protection, cybercrime and cybersecurity, data science and the law, internet governance, law and complexity in digital society, electronic communications, children’s rights and digital technologies, and media and fundamental rights. For more information on eLaw, see the website.

The vision for the NETHATE is to bring together an interdisciplinary team of world-leading European researchers to tackle a highly ambitious and relevant research project on the nature of hate. It will also examine the dynamics of its spread in both offline and online fora, mitigation and reconciliation strategies, and the impact on victims and bystanders. The research and training programme will deliver doctoral training of 15 ESRs and high-impact research outputs. The complementary research skills and training expertise within this inter-sectoral ETN will ensure that the ESRs trained will become Europes next generation of researchers, teachers and practitioners in understanding the roots and impacts of hate, as well as mitigation strategies, which will support the development of a sustainable democratic culture across the EU. The participation of 10 universities and 1 NGO as the network Beneficiaries and 14 Partner organisations (2 Ministries, 2 companies and 10 NGOs) all deeply involved in this area will ensure that the ESRs acquire a broad and deep multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral training and experience that will make them highly marketable and sought after graduates.

The proposed ITN will investigate the impact of hate in our societies by furthering our understanding about the (a) the nature of hate, (b) the dynamics of its spread in both offline and online fora, (c) the impact on victims, and (d) mitigation and reconciliation strategies. As a cross-cutting element, the issues of gender (and sex) will be addressed across the range of questions in NETHATE.

ESRs will be trained through a structured and comprehensive programme and will not only learn the theory but will gain first-hand practical experience. The beneficiaries engaged in the project will work closely together, with each of them supervising at least one research project. All ESRs will spend time not only at the hosting institution but also in one of the other partner universities/research centres/regulatory agencies/companies involved in NETHATE. More information on the project will become available here: .

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time position for 1.0 FTE (38 hours per week). The appointment as a PhD student will be for a period of four years (initially for a period of one year with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of progress and skills development) leading to the successful completion of a PhD thesis. The appointment will be under the terms of the cao (Collective Labour Agreement) of Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary is set on € 2.395,- in the first year, increasing to € 3.061,- gross per month in the final year.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-  of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

A career development plan will be prepared for each fellow in accordance with his/her supervisor and will include training, planned secondments and outreach activities in partner laboratories of the network. The ESR fellows are supposed to complete their PhD thesis by the end of their employment. For more information please visit the Marie Curie-Skłodowska website.

Candidates will be required to meet the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher eligibility criteria and the entry requirements for the PhD programme at the host institution where the ESR is based.

Candidates must have had less than four years full-time equivalent research experience and must not have already obtained a PhD. Please note that there are residency requirements for each ESR position, you must not have resided in country where ESR position is located more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the appointment.

Enquiries can be made to Professor Simone van der Hof, email s.van.der.hof@law.leidenuniv.nl. If you have any enquiries about the procedure, please contact Regina Noort, email r.a.g.noort@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Please submit online your application no later than 8 November 2020 via the blue button in our application system. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • A cover letter stating your motivation for this position;
  • A short research proposal of up to three pages;
  • A curriculum vitae;
  • Your master thesis or other major writing sample;
  • Copies of your academic transcripts;
  • The names and contact addresses of two academic referees.

Acquisition following this advertisement is not appreciated.

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