PhD position on Machine Learning, Data Science, and Algorithmic Accountability – Maastricht University (UM) – Maastricht

Maastricht University (UM)

Maastricht University invites applications for a fully-funded PhD position focused on using technical methods to make digital technologies safer and follow relevant laws.

Job Description
Law affects us all, but it still struggles to address widespread harms in digital technologies. The massive adoption of (often) annoying – and usually illegal – “cookie banners” on websites is just one symptom of this. In your PhD project, you will seek to contribute to a better understanding of how technical methods can help study how cutting-edge digital technologies affect society – and what can be done in response. Your work will aim to better protect the digital lives of ordinary citizens, who are commonly exposed to deceptive software designs, abuse of their data and privacy, and the will of large tech companies in determining how foundational digital infrastructure – that we use daily – is built. To this end, you will work closely with relevant industry partners and public authorities. Ultimately, the ability to find innovative technical solutions to legal challenges – the foundation of this PhD position – could become a key skill of your future career, whether as a researcher, entrepreneur, or engineer.

The PhD position will be carried out as part of the RegTech4AI project, which brings together six full-time researchers to work on a shared vision. Your primary task is conducting the research for your PhD project under the supervision of professors of the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab. Your exact project will be determined in consultation with you and according to your interests and skills. As such, you will be expected to develop your own independent research agenda with the support of our experienced researchers in the Law & Tech Lab. A small proportion of the appointment may be devoted to teaching activities, which commonly amount to teaching activities in eight weeks per year.

You will be allowed to collaborate with researchers from different disciplines, including machine learning, data science, and law. You will be part of an exciting, vibrant, and quickly growing community where researchers from different disciplines meet and form interdisciplinary teams that conduct academically and societally relevant research. You will be offered the opportunity to gain insights not only on applying computational techniques but also on law, regulation, and ethics. For this, you will be encouraged, coached, and allowed to attend courses, conferences, and workshops that will add social and legal knowledge to your skill set. PhD researchers participate in the Maastricht University Graduate School of Law.


  • MSc degree in Computer Science, AI, Machine Learning, or Data Science (or equivalent).
  • Fluency with Python programming for data analysis or machine learning.
  • Interest in learning about other disciplines, law in particular.
  • Community-friendly team player.
  • Excellent oral and written English communication.
  • What we offer
    As PhD at Faculty of Law , you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:

  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded in scale Promovendus/PhD, according to UFO profile PhD, with corresponding salary from €2770,00 in the first year and increaseing to €3539,00 gross per month in the fourth year (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as ‘acknowledge and appreciate’.
  • The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply.

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