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PhD Position on Privacy and Personal Data Protection Legislation in Connection with Human-Robot Interactions (Belgium) Deadline: July 15, 2018

Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS)

Faculty of Law & Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Application Deadline

July 15, 2018

Program Commencement

September 1, 2018

Duration of the Program

Four Years

Program Details

The multidisciplinary Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) is a prominent European research institute in the area of technology regulation within the Faculty of Law & Criminology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). LSTS is looking for a motivated researcher to join its research unit on human-robot collaboration and personal data protection law. The selected candidate will be working on a research and innovation project co-funded by the European Commission and concerning the development of a “hybrid collaboration environment, where humans and robots will harmoniously share and undertake at the same time different processing and manipulation tasks, targeting the industrial application case of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling”.

The researcher will be expected to (a) provide legal and ethical advice to project partners, (b) assess the societal risks and impacts caused by the proposed system and contribute to an informed co-design development processes, and (c) research and discuss other ethical issues related to human robot interactions; develop and deliver legal and ethics control based on self-regulation for the human, robot and material safety.

While working on the project, the researcher is expected to develop a proposal for a doctoral degree (PhD). In addition, the researcher will have the opportunity to take an active role in LSTS contributing to its research agenda, attending and presenting in seminars, assisting in organizing conferences and workshops, and helping the Center in competing in national and European funding opportunities.

Descriptions & Requirements

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Applicants should have a Master’s Degree in Law, Criminology, Sociology, Ethics, or STS, preferably with a specialization in
technology, with relevant working experience. Interdisciplinary experience (say, in an area such as law and economics or computer science) would be an added bonus.

The ideal candidate should have excellent organisational and communicative skills, and should demonstrate enthusiasm by contributing to ongoing research activities and attracting external funding for research projects. S/he should be able to work independently, under pressure, respect deadlines, and produce quality work. Fluency in English, and ability to conduct research in at least one other language is required.

The selected candidate is expected to:

  • Develop an original PhD thesis on topics related to the privacy and data protection aspects of human-robot interactions.
  • Coordinate and manage the execution and implementation of LSTS projects and activities.
  • Participate in international seminars and conferences, and publish in peer reviewed journals.
  • Represent LSTS at third party events.

Application Process

The following application documents are to be consolidated into a single PDF file sent by email to

Applications (in English) should include:

  • Curriculum vitae.
  • A cover letter which explains the motivation and qualifications of the candidate.
  • Two recent works: essay/excerpt from recent research or article written by the candidate.

The successful candidate will work as a full-time doctoral researcher, with a team under the guidance of Prof. Paul de Hert. Remuneration (approximately €1.900 net per month) includes contributions for social security. The candidate 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, and a budget for travelling and other research‐related expenses will be provided. The PhD degree will be awarded in law.

For more details, please visit the LSTS website here or send an email.

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