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  3. Two Postdocs in Computer Science for foundational research into 'legal tech'

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Two Postdocs in Computer Science for foundational research into 'legal tech'

We are looking for two postdoctoral researchers in computer science for foundational research into legal tech. This is your chance to dig into the fundamental …

9 maanden geleden


Houtlaan, Nijmegen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
10 - 40 uur
€ 4274 - € 4274 per maand


We are looking for two postdoctoral researchers in computer science for foundational research into legal tech.

This is your chance to dig into the fundamental assumptions underlying computer science (CS), teasing out the implications they may have for real life applications, notably those of legal tech. The combination of research into the theory of computer science and the opportunity to make a difference in the legal domain provides a unique opening for those willing to address the societal impact of both machine learning and self-executing code, based on frontline research in the theory of computer science.

Both postdocs will be part of the cross-disciplinary research team of the ERC Advanced Grant project on Counting as a Human Being in the Era of Computation Law (COHUBICOL). They will inquire into the architecture and foundational issues of:
  • Machine learning applications, e.g. prediction of judgements.
  • Self-executing code, e.g. ensuring compliance by design, in the context of legal practice, while the focus will be on assumptions of computer science and their implications.
One of the postdocs will focus on machine learning, the other on self-driving code.

Relevant research questions for the computer science team could, for instance, be:

On the side of machine learning:
  • If machine learning enables compression of a dataset into a mathematical target function, how could lay persons and lawyers learn to test and contest the relevance of the compression?
  • What is the relationship between ML and statistics and how do their assumptions differ? How does this relate to the difference between exploratory and confirmatory research? How does this relate to the credibility and reproducibility crisis and the lack of theoretical rigour in applied ML research?
On the side of self-executing code (smart contracts or smart regulation):
  • Which relevant assumptions are key to the mathematical foundations of CS?
  • What are the implications of the inherent limitations of CS, considering e.g. Gödel's incompleteness theorem, the Church-Turing thesis on undecidability, and Wolpert’s NFL theorems - coupled with the issues of, for example, undefined behaviour and floating point numbers?
  • What kind of transparency is required to ensure that self-executing code aligns with the claims made about their behaviour (mathematical, computational, domain expertise)?


  • PhD in CS, with a specialisation in either: theoretical CS, with a focus on code-driven architecture or data-driven architecture (ML); or code- or data-driven architecture, with a demonstrated affinity with theoretical CS.
  • An advantage could be that the candidate has a minor in philosophy and/or science, technology & society studies.
  • Academic writing skills, demonstrated fluency in English.
  • An affinity with novel types of conceptualisation.
  • Imagination beyond analytical skills, affinity with the generative nature of text.
  • Passion for conceptual clarity, critical reflection and creative intervention.
  • Independent mindset and work ethic, also when under pressure, respect for colleagues and deadlines, and the ambition to produce high-quality work.
  • Willingness to engage with legal scholars, clarifying the assumptions, research design and operations of computational systems.


  • Employment: up to 40 hours per week (open for discussion).
  • A maximum gross monthly salary of € 4.274 based on a 38-hour working week (salary scale 10).
  • The exact salary depends on the candidate's qualifications and amount of relevant professional experience.
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: depending on the number of hours, the appointment will be for 2, 3 or 4 years.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Prof. dr. Mireille Hildebrandt,
Email: m.hildebrandt@cs.ru.nl