PhD Position: ‘Fundamental rights and Neurotechnology at Utrecht University Netherlands 2021

Utrecht University in the Netherlands invites applications for a PhD position in ‘Fundamental rights and neurotechnology in the 2021/22 academic session.

The PhD project we pursue is about the responsible application of neurotechnologies in criminal justice, made possible by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The project is embedded in the research programme of Utrecht University’s Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law (UCALL). The focus of the project is on fundamental rights and the use of neurotechnologies to reduce recidivism. The PhD candidate is asked to research this topic from a human rights perspective, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights. The PhD project should contribute to the development of a normative framework for responsible use of neurotechnologies in criminal justice. It is part of the NWO Vici project ‘Targeting the offender’s brain. A unified normative framework for the evaluation of neurotechniques in criminal justice’, in which lawyers and ethicists will collaborate.

During the doctoral research, the candidate is expected to publish and write a dissertation related to the theme ‘Fundamental rights and the use of neurotechnologies in criminal justice’. The supervisors of the project are Prof. Gerben Meynen, Prof. Antoine Buyse, and Dr. Johannes Bijlsma.

They expect the PhD Researcher to:

  • engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis;
  • participate in the activities of the Willem Pompe Institute and UCALL, such as conferences and seminars;
  • participate in the educational programme for PhD candidates at Utrecht Law School;
  • publish interim results from the doctoral research in the form of conference papers, contributions for scientific journals as well as through popular publications and presentations;
  • participate in research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications.
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Worth of Award

  • You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for 18 months, with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment after 18 months.
  • The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment.
  • Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions  external link (multiple choice model).


The successful candidate should have a particular interest in human rights and neurotechnological developments. Furthermore, the successful candidate should:

  • have a degree in human rights law and/or criminal law (or can be expected to obtain such a degree in this academic year), or a legal Research Master’s degree with demonstrated affinity for these legal fields (or can be expected to obtain such a degree in this academic year)
  • have experience in legal research (preferably as demonstrated by publications);
  • have a strong motivation to do PhD research in the area of fundamental rights and neurotechnology in an interdisciplinary research group;
  • have an excellent command of English in speech and writing (a working knowledge of Dutch would be an asset, but is not mandatory);
  • have the ability to plan ahead and meet deadlines;
  • have excellent scientific writing and communication skills;
  • be a team player and have strong interpersonal skills.
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How to Apply

  • Applicants are invited to send their current curriculum vitae, including the contact details of two references, a grade list and a cover letter outlining their motivation to do PhD research about fundamental rights and the use of neurotechnologies in criminal justice, using the ‘apply now’ button.
  • Candidates are requested to reflect on the research topic.
  • At a later stage in the procedure, they may be asked to share how they would approach the research subject resulting in a dissertation.

Deadline: applications close August 1, 2021.


Click here for more details and to apply