Job Offer Doctoral Fellow big data & crime

(13-07-2021) IRCP, affiliated with the Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law (Faculty of Law - Ghent University) is looking for a full-time (100%) academic employee (m/f) in the domain of criminology.

Job description

The PhD researcher will work on the interface between data analytics and criminology by exploring the possibilities of big data policing. ‘Big data policing’ is an innovative intelligence-led policing strategy making use of historical data to forecast when and where there is a high risk of new crime events, with the objective to use police resources more efficiently and proactively, and ultimately reduce crime rates. Big data policing applications commonly analyse data using machine learning algorithms, with the aim to “learn” from past crime patterns to be able to forecast future trends and patterns. Big data policing has been introduced in several police departments around the world, with many more interested in applying it in the future. Despite this popularity, today only limited scientific evidence is available for the effectiveness of big data policing. The current project wishes to contribute to closing these gaps by conducting Randomized Controlled Trials.

The successful candidate will be able to enrol in a fulltime and fully funded PhD position for a maximum of four years (upon yearly positive evaluations) within the IRCP (Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy) of the Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law (Faculty of Law and Criminology) of Ghent University. Successful completion of the PhD project will lead to the obtainment of a doctoral degree (PhD) in Criminological Sciences.

Job profile

For this specific position, we are looking for someone with the following characteristics and assets:

  • A completed Master’s degree (MA or MSc), by preference in a relevant field of study (e.g., Criminology, Safety Sciences, Geography, Data Sciences, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Statistics, Data analytics). Good study results throughout the entire educational trajectory are an asset.
  • A strong interest in scientific research in general and big data and crime analysis in particular.
  • Clear scientific and communicative skills (e.g., critical thinking, scientific writing, presentation skills, project management, methodological skills).
  • A profound knowledge of the Dutch language is a strong asset as regular contacts with (police) organizations in Belgium will be required. We thus expect someone with sufficient maturity.
  • A profound knowledge of the English language is a prerequisite, as the successful candidate will have to present during international conferences and publish in international scientific journals.
  • Strong social skills that enable to work in team, combined with the necessary skills to work independently (yet with guidance and mentoring) on subprojects.
  • Someone who integrates a flexible and creative mindset with strong administrative and organizational skills.
  • Someone with a responsible personality, who values ethics, both in social contacts as well in relation to scientific research.

What do we offer?

  • A fulltime, fully funded PhD position of maximum four years (upon successful yearly evaluations).
  • An interesting and diverse job.
  • The possibility to contribute to a societally very relevant and large-scaled research project on big data policing. Given the many personal contacts with people in both the academic world and the field of police, a large personal network can be formed or extended.
  • Numerous opportunities for personal growth, illustrated by e.g., conference participation, “doctoral schools” courses on transferable skills, personal contacts with organizations in the field of police and beyond, participation in the department’s educational initiatives, and publication opportunities.
  • A social, tolerant, and constructive working environment that offers many and diverse opportunities for personal development.
  • Earliest starting date possible: October 1, 2021.

How to apply

  • Please apply before August 27, 2021 (1pm).
  • By means of sending an email to , including your resume, a motivation letter, a copy of your degree and study results.
  • More information: Prof. Wim Hardyns,