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a PhD Research position (1,0 fte) on Legal and Governance Aspects of Data-Driven Innovations in Infrastructure Management

Tilburg law and Economics Center (TILEC) is looking for a PhD researcher interested to examine the legal or organizational impediments for the implementation of data driven innovations in the infrastructure sectors. The LONGA VIA project ...

10 maanden geleden


Warandelaan, Tilburg, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur


Tilburg law and Economics Center (TILEC) is looking for a PhD researcher interested to examine the legal or organizational impediments for the implementation of data driven innovations in the infrastructure sectors. The LONGA VIA project is led by Prof. Saskia Lavrijssen and financed by the Dutch Research Council NWO. The project will be performed in cooperation with large infrastructure organizations, including Alliander, Vitens, Port of Rotterdam, Prorail and Rijkswaterstaat.

Managers of infrastructures for energy, transport and water are continuously looking for smarter ways to operate and maintain their infrastructures, in order to provide reliable, safe, affordable and sustainable services to the general public. At the same time, existing infrastructures are aging, and facing increased wear and tear as a result of higher utilization. Data-driven innovation in the operation and maintenance of, and the sharing of data across critical infrastructures can aid the managers of these infrastructures in safeguarding these public interests, yet are insufficiently utilized. There is little cross-sectoral cooperation between infrastructure managers for the purpose of creating data sharing platforms and common security and crisis procedures. Neither are data-driven innovations in infrastructure operation and maintenance implemented at a large scale.

The research project investigates which legal and organizational factors impede the implementation of data-driven innovation in infrastructure sectors and how these impediments can be overcome. It combines a legal-empirical perspective with an organizational-economic perspective on infrastructure operation and maintenance, a combination which is relevant yet hardly pursued. The legal-empirical perspective is used to identify legal and regulatory barriers, and aims to identify effective adaptations to existing rules and regulations to facilitate such innovations. The organizational/ economic perspective helps to assess the main hurdles towards the adoption of data-driven innovation, and seeks to identify effective business models. In combination, these two perspectives help mitigate challenges at the organizational level (i.e., at infrastructure managers and between them and their partners) as well as at the sectoral level (i.e., within and across infrastructures).

The project into legal impediments will be executed by a PhD with a legal and/or law and economics background and will be supervised by prof. S. Lavrijssen and prof. M. Groenleer.


Applicants must have:

  • a Bachelor’s degree in law or law and economics or law and technology;
  • a Master’s degree in the areas of regulation and competition, law and technology, EU law or a related field;
  • genuine interest in regulation, law and technology, data driven innovations and infrastructure;
  • multidisciplinary and explorative mind-set;
  • strong analytical skills and knowledge of empirical research methods. Experience with empirical research methods (eg, empirical research and dataset design in a master thesis or a project) would be an asset (otherwise, willingness to acquire such knowledge rapidly);
  • excellent command of English and Dutch, both written and spoken.
  • ambition to perform top-level research and occasionally teach, ability to work autonomously and within a team, and interest in interacting and delivering within a group in a multidisciplinary, international environment;
  • assist in the organization of high-level academic events.


TILEC is an interdisciplinary center producing cutting-edge research of global repute in the broader fields of competition, regulation and innovation. Tilburg University is rated among the top Dutch employers and has excellent terms of employment. The appointment will be for the total of 48 months. The selected candidate will initially be appointed for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months on the basis of a positive evaluation. The evaluation will take place after 12 months.

The selected candidate will be ranked in the Dutch university employment system (UFO). The starting gross salary is € 2.222,- per month (for a full-time appointment) based on the PhD salary scale of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) Dutch Universities. Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The university will apply for such an allowance on their behalf. The university offers very good fringe benefits (it is one of the best non-profit employers in the Netherlands), such as an options model for terms and conditions of employment and excellent reimbursement of moving expenses.

Additional information

In particular the successful candidate for this project is expected to:

  • perform legal-empirical research leading to a doctoral dissertation in the area of economic regulation and the protection of public interests in the infrastructure sectors in the digital age;
  • assist in implementing the LONGAVIA research program in terms of data discovery, dataset design and maintenance and theory building;
  • Be in charge of the design and operation of LONGAVIAs qualitative case studies relating to the legal hurdles and possibilities for the implementation of data driven innovations in the infrastructure sectors;
  • Undertake empirical research, including interviews and surveys, alone or with the supervisors and the infrastructure partners;
  • Contribute to policy discussions and the implementation of policy recommendations into the regulations and practices of infrastructure managers;
  • Regularly present intermediate research results at the LONGA VIA partners, TILEC meetings as well as international workshops and conferences;
  • be an active member of LONGAVIA, TILEC and TISEM, especially by organizing and participating in events and activities, and presenting and discussing research output regularly with the research group;
  • contribute to the educational programs in which TILEC is involved.

Additional information about Tilburg University and TILEC can be found at http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/tilec/. Specific information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof. S. Lavrijssen, s.a.c.m.lavrijssen@uvt.nl.


Tilburg Law School (TLS) staat voor kwaliteit, met brede, internationale opleidingen en innovatief onderzoek. Het onderzoek van Tilburg Law School vindt plaats in een organisatie waar ruimte is voor diversiteit. De Tilburg Graduate Law School is verantwoordelijk voor de opleiding en begeleiding van promovendi en onderzoeksmasterstudenten. De inspirerende en open cultuur maakt het werken plezierig.

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