University Professor of Law and Technology, with special emphasis on Artificial Intelligence

Executive Board – Executive Staff

12 juli 2018
€5,582 to €9,812 gross per month
9 september 2018
38 hours per week

The UvA is looking for an internationally recognized scholar who will initiate and carry out research and education in Law and technology with special emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI), as part of its university wide initiative to strengthen expertise in the area of AI. The University Professor in Law and Technology, with special emphasis on AI will perform these tasks in close collaboration with colleagues in the Amsterdam Law School and with the other University Professors in AI.

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

With around 3,500 students and over 300 staff members, the Faculty of Law at the University of Amsterdam is one of the largest faculties in the Netherlands. The Faculty of Law is housed at Building A at the Roeterseiland Campus, a brand new building situated in the centre of Amsterdam. 

The Faculty of Law offers a number of Master's programmes, several of which are taught completely in English: International and European Law, International Criminal Law (joint programme with the Columbia School of Law), European and International Labour Law, European Private Law, and research master's programmes in Information Law and Public International Law.

Job description


Recent developments in information technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics have added to the challenges faced by law and legal scholarship but have also opened up new fields of research and pathways that could potentially transform the legal profession.

New technologies and artificial intelligence raise multiple legal issues, one being the legal issues relating to autonomous systems: How do legal norms apply, or undergo adjustment, in relation to autonomous systems? What incentives do they provide to developers and users? And, how can legal norms be developed to ensure that autonomous systems behave responsibly? Related examples concern tort and product liability (e.g. self-driving cars), labour law (e.g. firms using independent contractors but in fact controlling them as if they were employees thanks to new information technology), law enforcement (e.g. new ways to monitor and apprehend violators thanks to innovative surveillance technologies), compliance with artificial intelligence agents, privacy, advertising and political campaigns (e.g. personalised ads on social networks), the application of authentication techniques to contracts and property issues (blockchain), online dispute resolution and machine ethics. A wider set of issues relates to the impact of new technologies on society, as well as on normative and legal systems, for instance relating to property, privacy, citizenship and democracy.

New techniques for data retrieval, visualisation and analysis are yet another area in which new technology and artificial intelligence create both opportunities and challenges for the law. These techniques have already been applied to texts in the digital humanities and, more recently, to legal texts. This introduces new ways to conduct empirical analysis in legal research and is also highly relevant to the legal profession. For instance, new search engine programmes such as ‘machine learning contract analysis’ can help lawyers analyse contracts; programmes based on data retrieval and analysis are able to predict the outcome of judicial decisions. This opens new avenues for the development of expert systems that could ultimately be of great significance for the legal profession.

More generally, artificial intelligence can be said to be critically important to the practice of law. The above approaches open up, for instance, key applications for law firms (predictive algorithms) and the judiciary (analysis of data from digitalised system).

Teaching and research

As one of the four University Professors to be appointed by the Executive Board, the chair will realise the following ambitions:

  • bring about innovation in AI research and teaching and its use in society, with a focus on collaborative inter-faculty research into AI issues, also with the other University Professors;
  • modernise the curriculum, increase its relevance to academic and social innovation;
  • seek the involvement of external parties (businesses, civic organisations, all levels of government) in research, education and other types of valorisation;
  • proceeding from a position of excellence, bring about innovation within the university by inspiring students, researchers and lecturers;
  • engage the academic community and encourage debate within the university on (the impact of) AI;
  • generate more social visibility for the UvA in terms of its research, teaching and public-private cooperation.

The chair holder on Law and Technology will conduct and lead research in relation to the area(s) identified above, will be expected to actively work across legal disciplines and research groups, and bring together expertise within the Law School and university relating to the above issues.

As per teaching, the chair will support and initiate initiatives to strengthen the place of technology and artificial intelligence in the existing programmes of the Amsterdam Law School, work with other (interdisciplinary) programmes to provide a firmer place to the legal implications of artificial intelligence, and explore possibilities to set up a minor or a master programme relating to law and artificial intelligence.

Position within the University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has taken up a leading role in the technical developments of AI and, as a comprehensive university, has invested strongly in research into the applications and societal embedding of AI. The UvA operates in an environment that devotes considerable resources to AI-research; the business community, civic organisations and (local) government are also extremely active on this front. The Executive Board expects that the appointment of four new University Professors specialised in the field of AI (AI and Information Retrieval, Humanities and AI, AI and Medical Imaging, and Law and Technology with special emphasis on AI) will invigorate the various research projects, programmes and partnerships that currently exist throughout the UvA.

The University Professorship in Law and Technology with special emphasis on AI will be appointed by the Executive Board and liaised with the Amsterdam Law School. In principle, the professorship will become part of the Law School after five years. To enhance their university-wide impact, University Professors are given centrally located offices as well as one at their liaised Faculty. University Professors confer regularly as a group and meet with relevant stakeholders from within and outside the UvA and participate in the activities of the research institute with which they are liaised.

The Law School has developed broad expertise in digital legal studies; several of its research groups engage in research on implications of technological developments for law and society, and for the role of law in guiding and controlling development of technology. These include the Institute for Information Law (IViR), that conducts research in such areas as information law, blockchain and profiling and targeting of news readers; the research group on law and economics, that carries out research in such areas as enforcement, liability rules and rules for depersonalized businesses the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL),as well as groups conducting research on such areas as consumer law, labour law and health law. The chair holder will work with the different research groups at the Law School as well as with partners elsewhere within the UvA, such as those with a particularly strong reputation in logic (ILLC), digital humanities (CDH), big data (ADS), and the Innovation Centre for AI (ICAI). The chair aims at creating links between the Law School and these initiatives.


The ideal candidate will initiate new research within the broad field of Law and technology, especially artificial intelligence. The candidate will also be capable of bridging AI-research in Law and other academic disciplines.

Candidates for the position are expected to meet the following requirements:

  • a Law degree and demonstrable expertise in a subject related to Artificial Intelligence (e.g., but not limited to: computer science, logic, economics, econometrics or mathematics);
  • proven ability to engage in cutting-edge research at the intersection of Law and Artificial Intelligence;
  • an extensive publication record;
  • documented excellence in teaching and commitment to stimulating and supervising PhD research;
  • a wide international network, strong leadership skills, and a willingness to further build a promising interdisciplinary research group, to carry out certain administrative, organisational and managerial tasks and to engage with initiatives at an inter-faculty level;
  • experience and enthusiasm for teaching at all academic levels (corresponding with the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ), or Basiskwalificatie Onderwijs BKO; candidates lacking this qualification are expected to acquire it upon appointment);
  • experience in developing new teaching programmes;
  • experience with collaborative projects;
  • a proven track record for acquiring external research funding;
  • an extensive national and international network of academic and cultural institutions;
  • the ability to contribute to knowledge exchange in public as well as in an academic setting;
  • the ability to establish productive connections with other academic disciplines.

Further information

For further details about this position, interested parties should contact the secretary of the selection committee:

  • dr. N. Brunsveld MBA, Senior Policy Advisory Research & Innovation
    T: +31 (0)20 525 8768


  • E. Jaspers, Head of HR Executive Staff
    T:+31 (0)20 525 3518

Both will be available until 20 July and from 20 August onwards.


The University Professorship entails a permanent appointment that in principle converts to a chair at the Amsterdam Law School after five years. Salary and benefits will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities and with the university regulations for academic personnel, and, depending on experience, range from a minimum €5,582 to €9,812 gross per month (salary scale H2 or H1, €77,902 to €136,936 per annum, including 8% holiday pay and an 8,3% end of year payment) on a full-time basis (38 hours per week).

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Candidates are invited to submit their application no later than Sunday 9 September 2018, 23.59h CET. Please combine in one pdf:

  • an application letter in Dutch or English;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a list of publications.

The application should be addressed to Prof. Karen Maex, Rector Magnificus of the UvA using the link below.

Applications will be received by a selection committee headed by Prof. Karen Maex. The application process will be confidential.

A first round of interviews is scheduled on Monday 24 and Thursday 27 September 2018 in Amsterdam. Candidates will be notified by Monday 17 September if and when they are invited for an interview. Following a procedure which may involve a formal assessment and a public trial lecture, the committee will make its final recommendation to the Executive Board of the UvA. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam