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Call for Applications: PhD vacancy on EU data protection law & transfers (Deadline: 18 November 2021)

The Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is launching a call for applications for PhD candidates in the area of European Union (EU) data protection law, to carry out research on data protection, data transfers and the notion of border.


The PhD candidate will work on the Strategic Research Programme (SRP) project Articulating Law, Technology, Ethics and Politics: Issues of Enforcement and Jurisdiction of EU Data Protection Law under and beyond the General Data Protection Regulation (ALTEP-DP). The project inquiries into the continuously evolving articulations of law, technology, ethics and politics, searching for a better understanding of the boundaries that separate them, but also of the boundaries that they create and sustain. EU data protection law is taken as a starting point, more concretely the landscape delineated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This forms the common focus of three intersecting Research Lines (RL), and a transversal RL: RL1 on Automated compliance with the GDPR; RL2 on Elucidating and delivering data protection across borders; RL3 on The Ethification of Privacy and Data Protection; and RL4 on Transformations of the relations between law, politics, ethics and technology. The candidate will contribute primarily to the RL2, but also to the intersecting RL4.

Applicants are requested to submit a short research proposal connected to the themes of RL2, themes which include personal data transfers, the notion of border in personal data protection, and personal data transfers and humanitarian action.

Research and activities:

The PhD candidate is expected to:

• Develop an original PhD thesis on a topic related to EU data protection law, and more particularly around data transfers and/or the notion of border;

• Contribute to the coordination, execution and implementation of project-related activities, including interaction with the whole project team and the organisation of academic events;

  • Contribute to the project’s outreach and communication;
  • Participate in international seminars and conferences;
  • Publish in peer reviewed journals;
  • Draft project proposals for external funding in collaboration with other researchers;
  • Contribute to the existing research activities of the LSTS Research Group; 
  • Represent ALTEP-DP at external events.


Candidates must:

  • hold a Master degree in Law or equivalent qualification, awarded by the application deadline;
  • have a strong interest in EU data protection law and EU data policies more broadly;
  • be fluent in English, and have the ability to conduct research in at least one other language;
  • have excellent organisational and communicative skills, and be able to work independently as well as in a team;
  • demonstrate enthusiasm for contributing to interdisciplinary research  activities.
  • Interdisciplinary experience (for example, in an area such as digital methodologies, philosophy, anthropology, computer science) would be appreciated.


The successful candidate will be integrated in a dynamic team, and work under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gloria González Fuster. He or she will collaborate closely with the other members of the ALTEP-DP project and will have access to doctoral training offered by the VUB, as well as to all facilities of the university. Successful candidates are expected to work at the VUB premises in Brussels. Office space and equipment will be provided along with a budget for travelling and other research-related expenses.

The PhD degree will be awarded in Law.

Contract: We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher, with a full-time research grant for one year renewable on an annual basis for a maximum of four years.  Renewal is subject to the agreement of the Doctoral Committee. For more information about facilities and benefits of employment at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, please visit under the heading ‘future employees’.  Remuneration is at the level of a fulltime research assistant at a Flemish university and includes contributions for social security. Secondary employment is not allowed. 


The candidate will be selected on the basis of the quality and originality of their project proposal, their expertise, experience, and qualifications. The following documents are to be consolidated into a single PDF file sent by email to (subject heading: ‘PhD vacancy on EU data protection law & transfers’).

Applications (in English) should include the following: 

  • a CV; 
  • a cover letter in which are explained the motivation and relevant qualifications; 
  • contact details of two referees;
  • a short research proposal (including a potential research question which is suitable for a 4-year project, and a possible methodology indicating various steps in the research). The description of your research proposal should be a maximum of 1 page.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 18th November 2021, 12.00 hours CET. It is currently envisioned that the successful candidate would start on 1st January January 2022 (start date may be negotiated).

See for a PDF of the vacancy: pdf fileALTEP DP vacancy 2021.pdf (50 KB)