PhD Student

Last application date
Aug 31, 2023 00:00
RE21 - Department of Interdisciplinary Study of Law, Private Law and Business Law
Limited duration
Master in Law
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The Center for the Future of Dispute Resolution at the University of Ghent School of Law and Criminology is currently accepting applications for a full-time position as a doctoral researcher. We invite highly qualified candidates to join our team and contribute to a four-year research project funded by the FWO, titled 'Digitalization and the Future of Arbitration – An (Re-)evaluation of the Fundamentals of Arbitration'.

Research Project
This research proposal addresses the broader topic of how legal proceedings, specifically arbitration proceedings, have evolved and will continue to evolve with the advent of new technologies. The digital revolution has introduced several technological innovations in international arbitration. However, the focus of current use of technology in arbitration practice seems to be limited to migrating offline communications to online platforms and exploring data-based tools.
Despite these initial steps toward digitalization, there is a consensus that much untapped potential remains. The primary challenge lies in striking the right balance between efficiency and safeguarding the parties' fundamental procedural rights. This proposed research aims to pave the way for further implementation of technology by examining the diverse ways in which technology could enhance arbitration. It also seeks to determine to what extent this can be reconciled with prevailing procedural and technology law norms. By doing so, we aim to challenge the current cautious policies of major arbitration stakeholders and significantly reduce costs and processing time in the thousands of arbitration procedures initiated each year.
The research will rely on empirical research as well as traditional legal methodology, with the need for technological exploration and input.

Research Environment
The research project will be conducted under the supervision of Professor Maud Piers, who leads the Center for the Future of Dispute Resolution. Our center investigates how dispute resolution evolves in response to various social developments, with a particular focus on digitalization and out-of-court dispute resolution. In exploring the question of "quo vadis dispute resolution?" (where is dispute resolution headed?), we adopt an international, comparative, and multidisciplinary approach. Two recurring themes in our research projects are the role, position, and value of human decision-makers versus automation technologies, including artificial intelligence, and the balance between party autonomy, concerns of legitimacy and due process, and standards of efficiency. For more information on our research, please visit:
The Center for the Future of Dispute Resolution is a dynamic research group that brings together dedicated scholars with expertise in various forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, and litigation. As a member of our group, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with motivated fellow researchers who share a forward-looking approach toward dispute resolution.

Your tasks:

Your primary responsibility will be to develop and complete a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Professor Dr. Maud Piers, adhering to the framework and requirements of the FWO project.

During this process, you will:

  • Collect and analyze data on the utilization of technology by arbitration stakeholders in traditional offline arbitration.
  • Conduct an extensive inventory of the current regulatory framework governing arbitration and the use of technology in arbitration.
  • Identify and examine the legal issues that may arise when implementing the technologies you have identified within the existing regulatory framework.
  • Evaluate the fundamental principles underlying arbitration and reflect on their relevance and durability in light of potential technological and other developments.

Additionally, you will dedicate an average of maximum four hours per week to providing support in educational activities.

Our offer:

We offer an appealing and internationally-oriented work environment, providing exceptional resources and fostering a supportive atmosphere. As the selected candidate, you can expect the following benefits:

  • You will be awarded a full-time PhD scholarship at Ghent University. This position is a fixed-term appointment for one year, with the possibility of a three-year extension following a positive evaluation.
  • Your research will be conducted under the expert guidance of Professor Dr. Maud Piers, a recognized authority in the field.
  • You will have the opportunity to actively participate in a multidisciplinary research group at the Center for the Future of Dispute Resolution, facilitating continuous scientific exchange and collaboration.
  • You will have access to a comprehensive library and the possibility of engaging in research stays abroad will be made available to you, further enriching your academic experience.

Our working conditions emphasize flexibility in working hours, prioritizing a healthy work-life balance, fostering open communication, and even offering the possibility of remote work. For more detailed information on working conditions, benefits, and career prospects as a PhD fellow at Ghent University, please visit:

At the Faculty of Law and Criminology, we are committed to promoting gender equality and diversity. We enthusiastically welcome applications from individuals with disabilities. Additionally, we strive to increase the representation of women in areas where they are currently underrepresented and actively encourage qualified women to apply. Similarly, we strongly encourage applications from individuals who are underrepresented in the fields of science and research, taking into account factors such as gender, age, professional and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation, and nationality.

Job profile

  • You must possess a university degree in law with above-average performance. Candidates should have completed a master's degree at the time of signing the PhD contract.
  • An excellent command of the English language is essential, and knowledge of additional languages relevant to the regional focus (such as Dutch, French, or German) would be advantageous.
  • Your curriculum vitae should demonstrate your potential to conduct research at a high international level. You should exhibit meticulousness in your work and the ability to meet deadlines. Independence and a strong interest in arbitration law, procedural law, and technology law, along with a demonstrated understanding of arbitration law, are required. Moreover, you should be capable of actively collaborating within the research group.

How to apply

Please address your application to Prof. Dr. Maud Piers (

Attach the following documents to your application as PDF files:

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in the position and why you believe you are a suitable candidate based on the selection criteria.
  • A comprehensive CV, including a list of any publications.
  • Copies of your university certificates.
  • If you have already obtained your Master's degree at the time of application, include a copy. If not, you must provide evidence that you will obtain the diploma before October 1.
  • A copy of a paper you wrote during your studies that showcases your research experience and skills (e.g., thesis).

Please submit your application online by the closing date of August 31, 2023. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview in the first half of September 2023. A final decision will be communicated by mid-September 2023. The intended starting date for the position is October 1, 2023.

For any inquiries regarding the project's scientific aspects, you are encouraged to contact Maud Piers. Please note that Prof. Piers will be on vacation between July 8 and July 31.