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Postdoc researching data economy at Tilburg University


Postdoc researching data economy

Department                                         :    LTMS, home of TILT and TILEC
Location                                               :    Tilburg
Scientific discipline                              :    law, economics, surveillance studies, STS, philosophy of technology, or another relevant field
Full time equivalent                             :    0,8-1,0 fte (32-40 hours per week) 
Duration of employment agreement    :    18 months 
Monthly full time salary                        :    € 3.746 - € 5.127 gross (11)


The ERC-funded project INFO-LEG is looking for two postdoctoral researchers to study data practices and technologies (postdoc 1) and data economy (postdoc 2) to fundamentally restructure legal protection against information-driven harms. This is the vacancy announcement for postdoc 2. The appointment is in principle for a period of 18 months, starting September 1st  2021 by the latest, or sooner if possible. The postdoc will be working under supervision of the PI of the project, Dr Nadya Purtova, and embedded at the Department of the Law, Technology, Markets and Society, part of the Law School of Tilburg University.
Note: the start date of the project is subject to EU approval, which will apply as soon as the human resources for the project are in place.

The project
The project aims to reinvent the current system of legal protection against negative effects of the data- and information technology-driven harms. In Europe this system is currently embodied in the data protection law (such as the GDPR) and is centered around the notion of personal data: the assumption underlying this system of protection is that if collection and use of personal data are regulated, information-technology related harms will be averted. Yet, using the concept of personal data as a trigger is not without problems. The boundary between data that is personal and not personal is increasingly less clear. Modern data collection and processing techniques as well as the growing spread of their uses across societal contexts (e.g. reliance on data and AI in decision-making by public authorities, policing, marketing) lead to a situation where any information can be personal data. Anchoring legal protection against digital harms in the concept “personal data” is a legacy of legislative choices made in the past, and alternative ways of structuring legal protection are possible.

Given a broad meaning of personal data, a growing range of situations and problems falls within the ambit of data protection law, which is not equipped to deal with them all equally well. Simply narrowing down the concept of personal data would not do (where should we (re)draw the line?). The problem requires fundamental rethinking of the current approach to legal protection.

The project looks to suggest alternative avenues for legal protection which are not conditional on the concept of personal data. We are looking for alternative ideas, concepts, or principles that would allow to restructure legal protection. 


The postdoc will contribute to the project by the study of data economy, for example, business models, actors and their incentives, place of data and code in that economy, etc. He/she will conduct theoretical research from the perspective of his/her disciplinary background, including the insights of economics in his/her work. The theoretical work will be complemented by the empirical study of data economy in 3 contexts: online advertising, smart grid and smart cities. He/she will be offered a contract of 18 months.

In case of 1 fte employment (5-days work week), you will devote 80% of your time (4 days a week) to the INFO-LEG activities, and 1 day a week (20%) to other responsibilities, such as teaching, master thesis supervision and other tasks. In case of 0,8 fte employment (4-days work week), you will devote 100% of your time to the INFO-LEG activities.

Job requirements 
Tilburg University believes that academic excellence is achieved through the combination of outstanding research and education, in which social impact is made by sharing knowledge. In doing so, we recognize that excellence is not only achieved through individual performance, but mostly through team effort in which each team member acts as a leader connecting people. 


  • Academic qualifications: a completed PhD (or a defense date set) in economics, law & technology, surveillance studies, STS, philosophy of technology, or another relevant field;
  • Research profile: demonstrable interest in data and tech economy, and their regulation/governance with a view to mitigate societal impacts; affinity with the issues of data protection law is a plus, but not required;
  • Cognitive skills: clear, critical and creative thinking, ability to go against the grain of the mainstream scholarship and question established presumptions;
  • Personal skills: ability to think and work independently, collegiality, ability to deliver results of high quality and on time, communicate effectively, both within a team and towards the academic community.

Employment conditions
Tilburg University offers excellent terms of employment. We believe flexibility, development, and good employee benefits are very important. We make clear agreements on career paths and offer all kinds of facilities and schemes to maintain an optimum balance between work and private life. Tilburg University fosters diversity and inclusion; that is why we pursue an active policy for inclusive teams where diverse talents can flourish.

The starting gross salary varies between € 3.746 - € 5.127 gross (11) per month (full time) based on scale 11 of the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities. Tilburg University actively promotes equal and transparent salary between men and women by strictly applying predetermined parameters based on the candidate’s experience. Employees recruited from abroad may be eligible for the 30% tax facility- this means that 30% of your salary will be paid as a tax-free reimbursement.

Tilburg University offers you an employment agreement for a fixed period of 18 months, for 0.8 - 1.0 fte (32 - 40 hours per week). 
You are entitled to a holiday allowance amounting to 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your gross yearly income. If you work 40 hours per week, you receive 41 days of paid recreational leave per year.
It is a crucial part of the employment that you will be able to attend some parts of the job in person on campus.

Please visit Working at Tilburg University for more information on our employment conditions.

Information and application
More information on the vacated position can be obtained from Dr. Nadya Purtova at 

Please apply for this position online before April 25th, 2021. Address your letter of interest to the section committee.

The following documents should be submitted in support of your application:

  • A CV, including degrees, courses and course grades, relevant projects, and brief description, conference presentations;
  • A motivation letter explaining how your profile fits the project, date of availability, and how you envisage your contribution.
  • A publication list;
  • A PDF of your most relevant publication;
  • Names of 2 referees with contact details.

We only approach referees for candidates who make it to the second selection round.  


First selection interviews take place on May 17th, 2021. The 2nd round of interviews will take place on May 25th

Application date
18 months
Europe : Netherlands
Social sciences : Economy, Law
Required post-doc experience
Between and years
Grants available
Award granted
€ 3.746 - € 5.127 gross