INFO-LEG Research Fellowship on Information (in) Law

INFO-LEG fellowship

In 2020 Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society will welcome a research fellow working in the area of information law, interested in the meaning and role of the information-related concepts in law. The selected fellow will become a part of the INFO-LEG project, an ongoing ERC Starting Grant project of the institute led by Dr Nadya Purtova, and will be able to join a workshop organized in Fall 2020.

About the Project

INFO-LEG (‘Understanding Information for Legal Protection of People against Information-induced Harms’) is funded through an ERC Starting Grant. The ERC funding is meant to facilitate truly ground-breaking and pioneering research and allow explore big ideas that would profoundly impact on their respective fields of science.

The project aims to reinvent the current system of data protection, or legal protection of people against information-induced harms, which is presently centered around the notion of personal data (‘PD’) (or personally identifiable information, ‘PII’). However, modern data collection and processing techniques and unprecedented amounts of data available for analysis lead to a situation where any information can be personally identifiable information. Therefore, PII-based legal protection will fail, since a law regulating everything is meaningless. Yet, alternatives for structuring legal protection other than through the concept of PII/PD are lacking. The project will look for substitutes for the notion of PD/PII to fundamentally re-organize legal protection against information-induced harms, currently embodied in the law of data protection.

‘Personal data’ is defined as a particular kind of information. Therefore one of the ways in which the project looks to reorganize data protection is by looking at the meaning and role of the concept of information (and information-related concepts) in law. The fellow will be joining this track of the project. The ‘information in law’ track aims to answer the following questions:

  • Should law operate with a single concept of information?
  • Should law adopt a particular / scientific concept of information?
  • How does law conceptualize information (and information-related concepts)?
  • How does law regulate information and its impact on people?
  • How does the respective domain of information law achieve its goals through regulating information?
  • What can data protection law learn from the answers to the questions above?

For more on the core premise of the project see

Nadezhda Purtova (2018) The law of everything. Broad concept of personal data and future of EU data protection law, Law, Innovation and Technology, 10:1, 40-81, DOI: 10.1080/17579961.2018.1452176

About Fellowship

Time Frame: We offer a fellowship program that ranges from a minimum of 1 month to a maximum of 4 months within the period of March to September 2019. Applicants can apply on a rolling basis. However, the funds are limited and earlier applications are more likely to be successful.

Costs and Allowances: Fellows will be allocated a monthly budget of EUR 2500 to cover their living costs (please inquire for which costs are eligible) and up to EUR 500 travel budget (NB: only actual incurred costs will be reimbursed). In addition, Fellows will have access to TILT’s facilities free of charge during their stay. They are allocated an office space and are part of the vibrant academic life at the institute for the period of their stay.


The fellow will be expected to

  • develop and execute a research proposal relevant for answering the questions outlined above; the proposed research preferably has a comparative law element;
  • be part of the project team, by participating in project meetings and discussions;
  • be physically present in the office on week days (to facilitate spontaneous interactions and discussions);
  • write at least one paper together with the INFO-LEG research team, which will be published in (at least green) open access journal (meaning a maximum of 12 months embargo for institutional archiving of a manuscript after peer review);
  • publish any research stemming from the research conducted during the fellowship in (at least green) open access;
  • in all publications stemming from the research conducted during the fellowship, acknowledge the project and ERC as a source of funding.


We are seeking talented people on various stages of their academic career with completed PhD in Law, are fluent in English and interested to pursue their future careers in academia.

The desirable candidate

  • has a strong background or interest in one of domains of information law which is not data protection, for instance, but not necessarily, intellectual property, freedom of expression, law of professional (e.g. medical) confidentiality, and others. Law of genetic data and biobanks, cybersecurity and freedom of information have already been covered by the project;
  • good knowledge of data protection is a plus, but not required.

Required Documents

  • Curriculum vitae (max. 5 pages)
  • Cover letter (explaining your expectations, research background, and general interest – max. 2 pages)
  • Research outline (explaining how you propose to answer the research questions stated in the call – max. 4 pages)
  • 1 publication (or its draft) in English

All application materials must be submitted to the email below. In case you have any questions, please contact us at n.n.purtova at tilburguniversity edu