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1-2 Postdocs in the ERC Project Law as a Vehicle for Socio-Economic Change: Mainstreaming Non-Extractive Economic Practices

Universiteit van Amsterdam - Department of Private Law

The Amsterdam Law School has an opening for two Postdoctoral researchers (0,8 - 0,9 FTE for the duration of 3 years) at the Department of Private Law, within the framework of the ERC funded project Law as a Vehicle for Social Change: Mainstreaming Non-Extractive Economic Practices.

Project description

The current economic model is overdue for revision. The relentless focus on economic growth is ravaging the environment, and the concomitant social problems have either already reached glaring levels (rocketing global inequality) or seem poised to do so (climate displaced persons). A number of radical proposals, such as prosperity without growth, circular economy, or doughnut economics, have been proposed to chart a trajectory towards socio-ecological transformation, arguing that a profound change in our ways of living and modes of production is necessary in order to respond to the threats we face. Yet such proposals, however commendable, have gained only modest political traction, insofar as they seem unthinkable from the vantage point of our current economic system, consumption patterns, political discourse and legal institutions. 

This project will show how law can contribute to making such transformative projects politically credible. More specifically, it will demonstrate how law, and private law in particular, can be used to nurture those existing economic practices that already build on the environmental and social aspirations embodied by such projects. The two main objectives are, first, to offer a set of legal tools and policy proposals that would make the adoption of environmentally and socially non-extractive economic practices, such as social cooperatives or solidary financial institutions, more attractive for people to implement. Second, N-EXTLAW theorizes how law can turn seemingly utopian projects for socio-ecological transformation into a realistic legal-political project. By refashioning the concrete socio-legal arrangements for pursuing non-extractive economic practices as well as re-shaping the values on which economic decision-making draws, law can make non-extractive economic practices more present in everyday action, and thereby uphold those cultural frames that affirm the sense that socio-ecological transformation is within our reach.

Further background

Run by prof. Marija Bartl, the 5-year ERC-funded project will start in May 2020. It will be institutionally placed within the framework of the Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law (ACT) and the Amsterdam Law School research programme Sustainable Global Economic Law (SGEL). Prof. Bartl is looking for one or two postdoctoral researchers (both: 0,9 fte for 3 years). Alongside, the team will be complemented by one PhD student.

The emphasis of the project is on the transformative potential of private law (company law, contract law, and property law), however, the team will also venture into the transformative role of European and national public law and regulation, including taxation, competition law, and social security law.

The team will conduct qualitative empirical research to investigate the enablers and obstacles for socially responsible corporations to flourish within the legal systems of the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia and Norway. Besides these field visits, the PhD is expected to be based in Amsterdam for the duration of the doctorate.


  • Carry out and publish academic research of the highest caliber within the framework of the project;
  • present our research to a variety of academic and non-academic audiences;
  • work well both independently and as a team player;
  • be a proactive communicator and dedicated and creative contributor to our team;
  • take responsibility for organising events and administrative tasks;
  • optional: teaching (in addition to the postdoc contract).


The successful candidate:

  • has a PhD in a relevant fields of law and preferably also a background in other social sciences;
  • has experience with qualitative research methods and analysis techniques;
  • is proficient in English, and preferably also in Dutch, Norwegian and/or Italian;
  • has excellent analysis and writing skills, as demonstrated by publications;
  • is a creative and out-of-the-box thinker;
  • is an excellent public speaker;
  • while teaching is optional, teaching experience and motivation to teach are a plus.

Our offer

The initial employment contract will be for 30,4 to 34,2 hours per week, for the period of 1 year. After a positive assessment, the contract will be extended by additional 2 years.

The starting date of the appointment is negotiable, anytime between 1 September 2020 and September 2021.

The gross full-time monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for Postdoctoral researchers at Dutch universities, scale 11 (Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) ranging from €3,637 to €4,978 gross per month (full-time equivalent). 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?

The successful candidate will join a vibrant research community of the Amsterdam Center for Transformative Private Law and the programme Sustainable Global Economic Law.

At the Amsterdam Center for Transformative Private Law (ACT) we explore the role of private law in the making of society, as well as the processes of private law-making in a pluriform world. ACT has a strong track-record of excellent research and sustains a dynamic research culture through a series of events and intiatives.

Sustainable Global Economic Law (SGEL) is a law school project that connects private law with International and European law in exploration of the constitutive role of law in global political economy and its transforatin to sustainability. Next to ACT, SGEL includes researchers from the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG) and the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL).

The law school’s relevant graduate and postgraduate programmes draw a diverse, interesting and interested student population from the Netherlands and abroad.

About the Amsterdam Law School

The Amsterdam Law School prides itself on its international orientation and strong social commitment. This is reflected by both its research and educational activities. The Amsterdam Law School offers three Bachelor’s programmes, including the interdisciplinary English-language Bachelor Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) in cooperation with two other Faculties, as well as a variety of Master's programmes, several of which are taught exclusively in English (i.e. International and European Law, European Private Law, International Criminal Law, and Law & Finance). The Amsterdam Law School prepares students for a wide variety of legal careers including law firms, government, business and industry, the national and international judiciary, public service, human rights advocacy, and academia. With 4000 students and over 450 staff members, it is one of the largest law faculties in the Netherlands.

The department of Private Law is responsible for coordinating and teaching a wide scope of first-year Bachelor courses and the Masters Private Law, European Private law and Law and Finance. In terms of research environment, the postdoctoral researcher will be part of the lively and supportive intellectual environment of the ACT and the broader research program SGEL.

Further information

For further inquirements please contact:

Job application

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 selection process consists of three stages.

1. In the first stage (Deadline 15 May 2020), the applicants are asked to send:

  • a cover letter;
  • CV, including a list of publications;
  • contact details of 2 referees;
  • proof of your PhD and other relevant degree(s);
  • a writing sample of a recently written, single authored manuscript in English of no more than 50 pages (this may also include a chapter of the PHD thesis)

2. The best candidates will be selected for the second round, and will be invited to draft their own 3-page research proposal (Deadline for submission 1 July) setting out the research the applicant wants to pursue within the context of the larger 5-year team-project. The selected candidates will receive more information about the 5-year project as input for their research proposal.

3. In the final stage, the best candidates will be invited for an interview, which will take place between 15 and 17 July 2020.

You can send in your application by using the link below.

No agencies please

Location: Amsterdam - Netherlands
Salary: €3,637 to €4,978
£3,067.81 to £4,198.94 converted salary* gross per month
Hours: Part Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 13th February 2020
Closes: 15th May 2020
Job Ref: 20-085
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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