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Research Assistant on Law and Human Vulnerability in Social Media 0,8 - 1,0 fte

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Internal , External
Placed on
4 June 2024
Closing date
30 June 2024 15 more days to apply

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Research Assistant on Law and Human Vulnerability in Social Media 0,8 - 1,0 fte
Vacancy number 14928 for 18 months (December 2024-June 2026)

eLaw, the Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University, is looking for a Research Assistant with expertise in law and technology with an interest in digital vulnerability and platform regulation.

What you will do
As a Research Assistant at eLaw, you will advance the knowledge of human vulnerability in social media regulation, at the interplay of data protection, consumer protection, children’s rights and fundamental rights. In concrete, you will help a PostDoc researcher and a PhD researcher in the Leiden Law School to manage the project, conduct the interviews planned with different stakeholders and analyze gray information, help structure legal guidelines for the Dutch Government in RO2 and cooperate on RO1 and RO3 with two other postdoc researchers, one specialized in Human-Computer Interactions an Twente University (working on RO3) and another specialized in human rights and technology policy at Delft University and inHolland University of Applied Sciences (working on RO1).

In particular, we are interested in understanding how to implement and improve the existing legislation (DSA, AIA, GDPR, DMA and Consumer protection acquis) regarding the protection of fundamental rights of vulnerable users on social media, how to assess the impact on fundamental rights and how to create participatory best practices for industries and institutions.

Within this narrative, you will contribute to several ongoing activities, projects, and initiatives in our group at Leiden University, including:
Contribute to 2-year project RESOCIAL (“User vulnerabilities and Resilience on SOCIAL media platforms and the metaverse: a sociolegal and design perspective”, funded by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA); Contribute to and be partly responsible for the Working group on Vulnerability (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/law/institute-for-the-interdisciplinary-study-of-the-law/elaw/research/working-groups-at-elaw#working-group-on-vulnerability) at eLaw to create a community at Leiden University on the topic of law and digital vulnerability.

Key responsibilities

  • Project co-coordination, helping to organise workshops and related meetings.
  • Assisting in research in vulnerability legal theories and social media regulation in the EU and fundamental rights law, at the intersection of data protection law (GDPR), platform regulation (DSA and DMA), consumer protection law, children’s rights and gender-based violence;
  • Use legal design, a method that brings design thinking, user research, and human-centered design to deliver legal knowledge usable, useful, and engaging for different communities to work out a model supporting multi stakeholder recommendations for policy change.;
  • Helping to prepare questionnaires, conducting interviews with affected stakeholders, and processing the outcomes in deliverables and publications;
  • Disseminating academic results in leading international and peer-reviewed scientific journals and top-tier conferences;
  • Communicating project results to the broader public in different formats, including blog posts, podcasts, media material, or art installations;
  • Management and coordination tasks within ongoing projects and initiatives of the center;
  • Expanding teaching experience by preparing some guest lectures in existing bachelor’s or master’s courses;
  • Contributing to the team spirit of eLaw and of the Vulnerability Working Group.

Where you will work
The research assistant will be working on the RESOCIAL project. RESOCIAL (“User vulnerabilities and Resilience on SOCIAL media platforms and the metaverse: a sociolegal and design perspective”, an NWA Synergy Grant Project) seeks to identify, measure, and thereby mitigate human vulnerabilities on social media platforms (including the metaverse and immersive technologies), thereby fostering the resilience of their users. People increasingly live their social life online and experience new and/or amplified risks to their fundamental rights (e.g., manipulation, online violence, discrimination, stigmatisation). This is due to the asymmetry of power with the private sector governing online social media platforms and the underrepresentation of vulnerable users in key decision-making at the business level. This issue is amplified by the lack of scientific methods to measure risks to fundamental rights online, the inadequacy of the national and EU legislation to enhance the resilience of users, and the ineffective protection of vulnerable users online. This project will contribute to solving these issues through an interdisciplinary, participative, multi-stakeholder approach. Starting from four use cases of vulnerability (children, vulnerable consumers, vulnerable data subjects, victims of gender-based violence) and through many disciplinary lenses (children’s rights, consumer protection law, data protection law, gender studies, human rights and computer science), this project aims to measure human vulnerabilities on social media and to propose three clear and effective solutions to enhance the resilience of vulnerable groups online, namely: a legal solution (government guidelines for a vulnerability-aware implementation of the legislation on social media); a design solution (“vulnerability-sensitive design”); and a business-oriented solutions (vulnerability-aware codes of conduct for social media and the metaverse).

The research objectives of RESOCIAL are:
RO1: Propose and validate a clear framework to measure risks and human vulnerabilities on social media platforms.
RO2: Analyse the gaps in the existing and proposed legislation on digital platform and formulate action perspectives for the Dutch Government, including Guidelines on platform regulation.
RO3: Propose and validate best practices that can lead to a Code of Conduct for Vulnerability on Social Media model

What you bring

  • Knowledge in the field of law technology in the EU, as evidence through an LLM and/or equivalent work experience. Concerning the knowledge of EU law, education and/or work experience in the law of one of the Member States of the European Union is essential
  • Strong interest in data protection law, platform regulation, digital vulnerability and relevant interest in AI regulation, consumer protection, competition law, children’s rights, gender-based violence;
  • Experience with empirical legal research, including survey and questionnaire preparation, interviews, and data processing;
  • Availability to work with multi-stakeholder and complex research teams, with external and international partners;
  • Availability in submitting research proposals to grant organizations;
  • Experience in working in multidisciplinary and/or international teams, including sensitivity and inclusiveness regarding cultural differences among staff and students;
  • Enthusiastic and proactive, with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, spoken and written;
  • Excellent team player and warm community builder;
  • Excellent English, spoken and written. Command of other European languages, Dutch and Italian, is an advantage

If you immediately recognise yourself in this profile, or if do you not quite meet all the requirements, but you believe that this is the right job for you, we look forward to your application!

What we offer

Leiden University

Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The university permeates the local surroundings. The university premises are scattered throughout the city and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.

Leiden Law School, Center for Law and Digital Technologies (eLaw)

With over 6500 students and 650 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 and 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 www.law.leidenuniv.nl. Information on the Center for Law and Digital Technologies: law.leiden.edu/organisation/metajuridica/elaw/. Information on Leiden University employment conditions: www.staff.leiden.edu/.

The Center for Law and Digital Technologies (eLaw) was founded in 1985 and has a leading role in research and education on law and digital technologies. 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. Key themes in our research and education are: online privacy and personal data protection; cybercrime and cybersecurity; data science and law; internet governance; law and complexity in digital society; electronic communications law; children's rights in the digital world; fundamental rights and digital technologies; platform regulation; regulation of AI; law and human-machine interaction; legal technologies; ethics and digital technologies.

We also offer:
This is a 0.8-1.0 fte research assistant position, starting on 21 November 2024 (open for discussion for before or later). The period of employment is 18 months.

Salary ranges from € 3.072.- to € 4.103.- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale 8 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More information here.

Within our policy framework on quality, almost all academic staff at the Faculty of Law have obtained a PhD degree and have met the requirements for the advanced research qualification. In addition, they make a significant contribution to the faculty research program. More information on the advanced research qualification and research programs of the Graduate School of Legal Studies.

For more information about employment conditions, see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/werken-bij/sollicitatieprocedure-en-arbeidsvoorwaarden

What we find important
Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive. We therefore especially welcome applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Additional Information
Further information about the position can be obtained from Dr. Gianclaudio Malgieri, email g.malgieri@law.leidenuniv.nl. For more details on the procedure, please contact our secretary, email elaw@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Within our policy framework on quality, almost all academic staff at the Faculty of Law have obtained a PhD degree and have met the requirements for the advanced research qualification. In addition, they make a significant contribution to the faculty research program. More information on the advanced research qualification and research programs of the Graduate School of Legal Studies can be found on: law.leiden.edu/research-leiden-law-school/graduate-school-of-legal-studies.html.

To help us get to know each other better, we follow a number of steps in the application procedure. For more information, see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/werken-bij/sollicitatieprocedure-en-arbeidsvoorwaarden

  • We believe mobility is very important. That is why we are also publishing this vacancy internally. In case of equal suitability, we will give priority to the internal candidate.

Please submit your application online no later than 30/06/2024 via the blue button in our application system. Applicants should submit:

An online motivation letter of interest with

  • A clear explanation of how the candidate intends to contribute to the key responsibilities as described in the vacancy;
  • A motivation statement explaining how the candidate is the best suited for this position and why their skills and experience matches the selection criteria as described in the vacancy;
  • A list of concrete ideas to conduct research on the topics of vulnerability theories, the protection of Fundamental Rights and social media regulation in the EU.
  • An updated CV with a list of publications, outreach activities, and relevant experience.

Acquisition following this advertisement is not appreciated

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