PhD position Existenzminimum (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Law


University of Groningen

Job description

Are you a (nearly) graduated law student and do you want to start your university career as a passionate, enthusiastic PhD student? Then we have the job you are looking for. The Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen offers you the opportunity to work for four years as a researcher.

As a PhD researcher, you will carry out independent scientific research under the mentorship of supervisors, which will result in a dissertation (PhD thesis). The research you conduct is part of a broader research program financed by Instituut Gak, entitled “A dignified existence in social security” The PhD research is specifically about the German legal doctrine regarding the right to an “Existenzminimum” as developed by the German constitutional court. The intention is to analyse this legal doctrine and to see to what extent it offers starting points for strengthening the human dimension in social security.

The Groningen Graduate School of Law (GGSL - offers a training program to help carry out this research. Your training program will be tailored to your interests, and needs for development. During your appointment, you will publish and present (partial) results of your research in academic and professional journals and participate in academic activities and events, such as conferences and seminars.

There are also limited opportunities to teach in various fields of law.

The University of Groningen is an internationally-oriented university that has partnerships with world-class international universities such as Uppsala, Göttingen and Ghent. We have around 34,000 students and 6,000 staff members from The Netherlands and abroad. We work together with partners in society on the themes of Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society.

The Groningen Faculty of Law is a modern, (inter)nationally-oriented organization with both a broad and classic profile. Even though it has a four-century-long tradition, it continues to innovate its education in order to train broadly-oriented lawyers. Our research largely transcends legal fields and is multidisciplinary in nature. With almost 5,000 students and 500 staff, it is a medium-sized faculty of the UG.

The faculty consists of six departments. You will work at the Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Public Administration (SBB) department. The SBB department employs more than 50 employees, of whom approximately 30 are permanent staff. They work as a PhD candidate, lecturer, researcher or professor and teach and conduct research. More information about SBB can be found here:


You must have a (nearly) completed Master’s degree, preferably in law and/or a related domain that is relevant to the execution of the research proposal. Master degree students intending to graduate in December 2023 are also encouraged to apply.

The ideal candidate has the following competences:

• creativity
• an analytical mind
• results-oriented
• a critical research attitude
• perseverance.

Other requirements:

• affinity with public law
• knowledge of the German language
• good didactic and relational skills
• good command of English and a minimum level of Dutch, depending on your field of research
• flexible availability during examination periods
• work attitude focused on teamwork, flexibility and communication.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

In accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities, we offer:

• a gross starting salary of at least € 2,770 during the first year with a maximum of € 3,539 in the 4th year
• 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus over the annual gross salary
• attractive leave and opportunities to follow training courses
• a temporary employment contract of 4 years.

Starting date: as from 1 December 2023

Job Application

You can apply by completing the online application form. We look forward to receiving your application no later than 22 October 2023, 11:59pm Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Your application comes with:

• a cover letter explaining why you want to do research, why this subject is specifically important, why you are ideally suited for this and, if possible, with which supervisor you could conduct this research
• a curriculum vitae
• a list of marks or results acquired in your Bachelor's and Master’s degrees and a certified
English language test for non-Dutch speakers* (combined in one document)
• the name of a reference that we may contact and/or a written recommendation
• a research proposal of maximum 3 A4 (excluding bibliography, but including footnotes) which includes the following:
1. the introduction of the research question
2. the definition of the question
3. relevant literature
4. the methodology
5. the plan of approach
6. the integration into (one of) our research lines.

*certified language tests include: CPE, CAE, IELTS or TOEFL; (IELTS > 7.0, all section scores should at least be 6.5 plus a writing score of at least 7.0; TOEFL > 100, all section scores should at least be 23 plus a writing score of at least 25).

You are exempt from proving proficiency in English if you:

• are a native speaker and have completed secondary education in one of the following countries: USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia
• have already completed a bachelor and master’s programme in one of the following countries: USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia.

If English was the medium of instruction during your previous education, but you do not meet the above-mentioned requirements for exemption, you are still required to prove your English proficiency by means of one of the tests as mentioned above.

Interviews will take place in weeks 43/44.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:[…]/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. Gijsbert Vonk, Programme leader (for questions about the project)
+31 6 23345466

Prof. Albertjan. Tollenaar, Director GGSL (for general information)
+31 50 3635394

Drs. Marjolijn Both, Coordinator Research Master and PhD programme
+31 50 3635936.

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0650

Digital application form