Skip to main content

Call for applications: PhD researchers for MSCA ITN LeADS (Legality Attentive Data Scientists) - deadline extended September 6, 2021

LeADS logo 2

The emergence of data science has raised a wide range of concerns regarding its compatibility with the law, creating the need for experts who combine a deep knowledge of both data science and legal matters. The EU-funded LeADS project will train early-stage researchers to become legality attentive data scientists (LeADS), the new interdisciplinary profession aiming to address the aforementioned need. These scientists will be experts in both data science and law, able to maintain innovative solutions within the realm of law and help expand the legal frontiers according to innovation needs. The project will create the theoretical framework and the practical implementation template of a common language for co-processing and joint-controlling basic notions for both data scientists and jurists. LeADS will also produce a comparative and interdisciplinary lexicon. For more information on the project, please consult the following link:

As part of this project, we are looking for motivated researchers to cover the position of ESR7. Below you can find a summary of the theme and objectives of the role:

ESR7: Public-private data sharing from “dataveillance” to “data relevance”

Objectives: The use of private databases by States and in particular by enforcing authorities (i.e. police, secret services) is an emerging reality. Systematic government access to private databases and so-called “web crawling” are two new technological challenges that should be considered by lawyers, in particular after important rulings from the EUCJ. ESR will analyse the feasibility of a new paradigm of public-private data sharing, which reconceptualises the principle of purpose limitation and strengthens the concept of “data quality”, thereby reconciling public interests with fundamental individual rights.


All ESRs recruited will be expected to carry out the following roles:

  • To manage and carry out their research project within 36 months
  • To write a PhD dissertation within the theme and objectives proposed above
  • To participate in research and training activities within the LeADS network
  • To participate in meetings of the LeADS projects
  • To disseminate their research to the non-scientific community, by outreach and public engagement
  • To liaise with the other research staff and students working in broad areas of relevance to the research project and partner institutions
  • To write progress reports and prepare results and articles for publication and dissemination via journals, presentations, videos and the web
  • To attend progress and management meetings as required and network with the other research groups

Eligibility criteria

Candidates must have the following qualifications:

  • Academic Qualification: The applicant has obtained a Degree that formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate in the host country. The degree should be in the area specified by the ESR project, such as law, criminology, social science, ethics, STS, preferably with a specialization in technology.
  • Early stage researcher: At the time of recruitment by the host, the applicant must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged. Please note applicants cannot already hold a PhD.
  • Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of appointment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account. Researchers from any country (not only from European Union) are encouraged to apply.
  • English language: ESR candidates must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training. Non-native English speakers are required to provide evidence of English language competency before the appointment is made. An IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent, is the minimum requirement.

Conditions of employment

The successful candidate will be integrated in a dynamic team, composed of both experienced and early career researchers. The candidate will collaborate closely with the other members of LSTS 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.

We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher. The PhD degree will be awarded in law. For more information about facilities and benefits of employment at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, please visit under the heading ‘future employees’.

Contract: full‐time research grant for three years. Remuneration is at the level of a full-time research assistant at a Flemish university (i.e., approximately €2.100 net per month) and includes contributions for social security. Relevant extras granted under the MSCA project, such as mobility allowance and family allowance, shall be granted should they correspond to the selected researchers. Secondary employment is not allowed.


The following application documents are to be consolidated into a single PDF file sent by email to Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert ( and Andrés Chomczyk (

Applications (in English) should include the following:

  • a curriculum vitae in Europass format;
  • university transcripts (grades);
  • a short cover letter where you explain why you are interested in one of the positions;
  • a research proposal (2-3 pages); and
  • (if possible) a recent work, essay or excerpt from that you would like to share with us to support your application, for the research and writing skills requirement.

Applications that do not meet the above requirements shall not be considered. If time allows for it, the applicant shall be notified to amend the documents and resubmit them.

Deadline for the submission of applications has been extended to September 6, 2021 at 12:00pm (CEST). The position is expected to start on 1 November 2021.

General evaluation criteria

  • Educational background relevant for the chosen position (individual research project).
  • A relevant degree that qualifies the holder to begin doctoral studies in the country in which it was issued (a certificated from the University may be required).
  • Previous research experience, relevant to the chosen position.
  • High proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Networking and communication skills (to be evaluated in the interview).