The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

PhD position within the project Separation of Powers for 21st Century Europe

This job offer has expired

    University of Amsterdam (UvA)
    Juridical sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    19/06/2020 23:59 - Europe/Brussels
    Netherlands › Amsterdam


We are looking for an enthusiastic, dedicated and well-organized PhD researcher, preferably a graduate of a research master, who is specialized in European law and will contribute to our a 3-year international project on the division and interaction of the different powers (legislative, executive, judiciary) in the context of EU international trade agreements.

Project description

SepaRope (Separation of Powers for 21st Century Europe) is the first empirically-grounded and comparative project rethinking the theory and practices of separation of powers in present-day European Union. Separation of powers, the classic model of decision-making, entrusts different state functions to different branches (legislative, executive, judiciary) and serves the double purpose of ensuring collective will-formation and control of those in power. The polyarchic and multilevel nature of the EU is not easily reconciled with the separation-of-powers-model, either at EU or national level. SepaRope demonstrates in combined horizontal and vertical inquiries how recent economic and political developments affect the EU’s institutional framework and the anchoring of EU decision- making in national legitimacy. It combines conceptual constitutional analysis with empirical research in three fields (Economic and Monetary Union, migration, trade), in which EU decision-making is controversial, rights-sensitive and illustrative of recent power shifts. Based on a joint conceptual framework for identifying and examining will- formation and control structures, SepaRope conducts autonomous but interlinked empirical and legal-analytical studies of the three branches in the three policy fields, respectively, exposing ever-increasing ‘grey areas’ of diffuse, ring-fenced, and informalised public power. The research team of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG) at the University of Amsterdam will be engaged with the study focused on the executive.

The project engages with several legal subdisciplines including constitutional law, EU law and international law. It applies social science methods of collecting and evaluating empirical data.


The successful applicant will be working in the sub-study on the executive within the SepaRope project. S/he will investigate the division and interaction of the different powers (legislative, executive, judiciary) in the context of EU international trade agreements. In her/his research, the applicant will be expected to engage with issues of general constitutional and democratic importance, such as transparency/secrecy of international negotiations; legislative oversight; limits and reach of judicial control of external actions; as well as checks and balances emerging from the interaction of the national and European spheres within the EU’s polycentric and multilevel structures. S/he should specialise in EU trade law, but engage in a comparative exchange with EU migration law, or EMU law. Issues of interest for this PhD project include but are not limited to:

  • division of powers and control mechanism between EU and national actors and between different EU actors in the negotiation, conclusion, and implementation of trade agreements;
  • the European Parliament’s direct and indirect influences over negotiating and concluding trade agreements examining a number of case studies.

You will:

  • execute your PhD research in close collaboration with the other project team members and under the supervision of Professor Christina Eckes, leading to completion and publication of a dissertation;
  • engage autonomously in the collection of empirical data (interviews; document analysis);
  • present intermediate research results in internal discussions and potentially at workshops and conferences and
  • participate in the overall work on the SepaRope project by e.g.contributing to the organization of meetings and events.

More Information


The employment contract will be initially for the period of one year and will be extended for another two years upon favourable evaluation. There is no possibility for a permanent position. The position as PhD researcher will start on 1 September 2020 or, if particular reasons justify it, as soon as possible thereafter.

The gross full-time monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for PhD researchers at Dutch universities, scale P (Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) ranging from €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month. Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end-of-year Bonus.

What else do we offer?

Your research will be carried out within the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance under the guidance of ACELG director and project leader Prof. Christina Eckes. ACELG unites a diverse group of researchers with an interest in the institutional, constitutional and economic law of the European Union. The centre has a strong track-record of excellent research and sustains a dynamic research culture through a series of events and intiatives.

Additonally, you will be profit from the collaboration in an international team that consists of researchers from the Centre for European Research (CERGU) at the University of Gothenburg and the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights (ECI) at the University of Helsinki.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to participate in the Law School’s PhD training programme and be part of the PhD community of the Amsterdam Law School.

The positions are first and foremost research positions; yet the successful applicant will incidentially have the opportunity to be involved in teaching in the field of European law.

Selection process

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

The application has to be submitted electronically in the online recruitment system no later than 19 June 2020. To apply please submit the following items (preferably in one file) in Word or PDF format electronically using the link below:

  1. cover letter;
  2. CV of no more than two pages;
  3. project outline of no more than 2 000 words, excluding references;
  4. copies of the LLB and LLM degrees or equivalent, providing information about the programme's length, content, passed courses and grades;
  5. writing sample of a recently written, single authored manuscript (e.g., your master’s thesis or other work written during your degree) in English.

The project outline should contain the following headings:

  1. Aim and background
  2. Research problem/ research questions
  3. Method
  4. Novelty and relevancy of the proposal for the wider SepaRope project
  5. Reference list, (please, use the Oxford or the Harvard system format for in-text citations and the reference list)

Interviews are expected to be held end of June 2020 via Zoom.

Additional comments

To discuss the position informally, please send an email to:

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

Specific Requirements

The doctoral positions are open to persons not yet accepted for a PhD programme.

An applicant meets the general eligibility requirements for doctoral studies (third-cycle studies) if s/he:

  • has a law degree, master’s level or equivalent; a research master will be an advantage;
  • is specialized in the field of European law;
  • has a strong motivation to do PhD research;
  • is proficient in English;
  • has excellent scientific writing, planning and communication skills;
  • has an interest in, or potentially experience with methods of adjacent disciplines and their respective methods (i.e. history, philosophy, political economy, political science, etc.).

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Amsterdam
1018 WV
Nieuwe Achtergracht 166

EURAXESS offer ID: 526746
Posting organisation offer ID: 292072


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