PhD positions in Empirical Legal Studies (Groningen Graduate School of Law)


Faculty of Law


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen (UG) is an internationally orientated university that collaborates with renowned universities outside The Netherlands, including those in Uppsala, Göttingen and Ghent. The UG has around 35,000 students and 6,000 staff from The Netherlands and around the world. It is committed to actively cooperating with its partners in society, with a special focus on its research themes of Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society. The University comprises 11 faculties, the University Library, the Center for Information Technology and the University Museum.

Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen is a modern, nationally and internationally oriented faculty with a broad and classical profile. Although it has a rich history dating back over 400 years, the Faculty continues to update its teaching programmes in order to train broadly oriented and skilled lawyers. Its research largely transcends legal fields and is multidisciplinary in nature. The Faculty of Law has over 4900 students and almost 400 staff members, making it one of the medium-sized faculties at the University of Groningen.

Empirical Legal Studies
The Empirical Legal Studies focus area is concerned with implementing, aligning and integrating empirical research into the consequences of law in a range of legal fields. The research focuses on the effects of law on: those using legal procedures, the level of trust in the justice system and the significance of public interests in private relationships. These perspectives should be reflected in the research proposal.

Departments and research programmes
You will be appointed as a member of staff at one of the Faculty’s departments. You will conduct your research under one of the Faculty’s seven 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.

Research proposal
In your research proposal, you should specify how your research relates to the Empirical Legal Studies focus area, explain the role of empirical legal research in answering the research question and indicate to which of the Faculty’s research programmes the proposed research corresponds.

The Groningen Graduate School of Law (GGSL) will supervise you as a PhD student throughout the entire programme. The GGSL organises the degree and training programmes for Research Master’s students and PhD students at the Faculty of Law. PhD students are welcomed in a stimulating and inspiring research environment, as evidenced by the research visitation in 2017, which rated the Faculty’s research as ‘very good’. The GGSL received praise for the way in which PhD students are supported and supervised from the start of their programme until their PhD ceremony.

Job description

Interested in doing a PhD at the Faculty of Law? We currently have two PhD positions available. If successful, you will develop your own research proposal related to the Empirical Legal Studies focus area.

You will conduct research and participate in the Groningen Graduate School of Law (GGSL)’s training programme. You will also be required to teach for a small part of your appointment. You will have plenty of opportunities to participate in international conferences and national and international workshops and seminars. Agreements regarding training and supervision will be recorded in your personal training and supervision plan.


Candidates for this position should:

● have completed or be about to complete a university degree, preferably in law and/or in a field relevant to the proposed research (e.g. sociology, psychology or criminology)
● have demonstrable affinity/experience with carrying out empirical legal research
● have good academic skills and writing skills
● be able to plan and carry out their work independently
● have the following competences:
○ analytical skills
○ a focus on results
○ a critical research attitude
○ perseverance.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 18 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

● a gross monthly salary between € 2,395 and € 3,061 (scale P) for a full-time position
● an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus over the annual gross income
● good secondary terms of employment
● an initial temporary contract for 18 months of 1.0 FTE; in principle, the appointment is for the period of four years. In the event of a positive appraisal, the contract will be extended for the remainder of programme. The place of employment is Groningen.

Start date: no later than 1 August 2021

Job Application

Interested in doing your PhD at our Faculty? You can apply until 21 March 11:59 pm / before 22 March 2021 Dutch local time (CET) via the button below. Please submit all the documents listed below as a single PDF file. PLEASE NOTE: Make sure you upload the PDF file as an attachment to the “letter of motivation” field.

The merged PDF file must contain, in the following order:

● a letter of motivation
● your curriculum vitae
● a list of marks and results from your completed Bachelor’s degree and completed or almost completed Master’s degree
● a research proposal of max. four sides of A4 (excluding the literature list but including footnotes) which includes the following components:
i. An introduction to the research questions
ii. The research question
iii. Relevant literature
iv. The methodology, paying particular attention to the empirical legal approach
v. The plan of approach
vi. An explanation as to how the research fits under one of the Faculty’s research programmes.

The selection interviews will take place in the week of 19 April 2021.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP),

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. Marc Hertogh, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies

Prof.dr. Albertjan Tollenaar, Director of the Groningen Graduate School of Law

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 221088E

Digital application form