Cyber, research, Artificial Intelligence, Law
Permanent employment
Doctorate/PhD (EQF 8)
Apply before:
Hours p/wk:


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


Postdoc ELSA lab 0,80 - 1 FTE  
Vacancy number 11192


eLaw, the Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University, is looking for a postdoc researcher with expertise in the area of law and artificial intelligence (AI). You will be working on a four-year project funded by NWO, the Dutch Research Council. This project is a so-called ELSA lab. ELSA stands for Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects, which are important to consider when developing AI and AI applications. Taking ELSA into account in the design of AI will ensure that future AI and AI applications are trustworthy, ethical, user-friendly, safe, legitimate and generally accepted.


In these ELSA labs, researchers from knowledge institutions and public and private organizations contribute to knowledge about the development and application of reliable, human-centered Artificial Intelligence (AI). The projects have a duration of four years and start in 2022. This research project fits well within SAILS, the university wide interdisciplinary research program on AI at Leiden University. 


The project you will be working on is the ELSA Lab Defence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a crucial role within the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide safety and security. Examples are enabling high-speed processing of big data, and intelligent, unmanned robots. The introduction of AI technology in defence also raises a host of ethical, legal, and societal concerns, including how to keep AI-powered systems under meaningful human control, and how to maintain human dignity when giving autonomy to machines. The ELSA Lab Defence addresses this question by developing a future-proof, independent and consultative ecosystem that enables the responsible use of AI in defence.


Within this ELSA Lab Defence, Leiden University will focus on the legal aspects of AI in defence, particularly with regard to privacy and data protection law, liability law, AI law, intellectual property law, and (in relation to drones) air and space law. From an ethical perspective, eLaw will bring in expertise on value-sensitive design (most notable privacy by design), discrimination-aware data mining, and societal & ethical impact assessments. Leiden University is typically in the lead for exploring existing ELSA value frameworks and methodologies and applying these to case studies in the defence domain, in cooperation with other project partners. 


You will act as the project leader from Leiden University and will represent Leiden University during the consortium meetings. Results will be published in research reports and both professional and scientific journals as well as presented at international conferences.


Key reponsibilities
•    Independent performance of research in the field of law and digital technologies, with a focus on one or more of the following areas: privacy and data protection law, liability law, IP law, law & ethics. Missing expertise can be developed or supplemented by other team members;
•    Analysis of the relevant legal frameworks, new regulations, privacy impact assessments, privacy by design requirements, liability and responsibility issues, and some IP law;
•    Publishing in professional and (international, peer-reviewed) scientific journals; 
•    Preparing papers for and presenting at international conferences;
•    Management tasks within the project;
•    Initiating and coordinating the submission of research proposals;
•    Optional: teaching at bachelor’s or master’s level.


Selection Criteria
•    A completed PhD in the field of law and digital technologies. Candidates who have not yet completed their PhD but have an approved manuscript can also apply. Candidates without an approved manuscript are not eligible for this position;
•    Academic background in privacy law, database law or IP-law;
•    Experience with and/or interested in technological issues;
•    Experience in the defence domain is an advantage, but not a strict requirement;
•    Excellent research and writing qualities, demonstrated by (international, peer-reviewed) publications;
•    Experience 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; 
•    Excellent communications skills, spoken and written, team player;
•    Excellent English, spoken and written; command of the Dutch language is 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 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; and media and fundamental rights.


Terms and conditions
This is a 0.8-1.0 fte postdoctoral researcher position, starting around May/June 2022 (open for discussion). The initial period of employment in this position is for 1 year. This will be extended for the duration of the project if the employee performs well.

Salary range from € 2846.- to € 4490.- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale 10, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Salary scale depends on education and experience.

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 at .


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:


Diversity and inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision 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.


Further information about the position can be obtained from professor Bart Custers, email
For more details on the procedure, please contact our secretary, email 


Please submit online your application no later than 04/12/2022 via the blue button in our application system.
Applicants should submit online a letter of interest accompanied by a CV.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.