KU Leuven

Tenure track in data law (50% at KU Leuven + 50% at the State Archives)

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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The Faculty of Law and Criminology of KU Leuven has a vacancy for a half-time position as senior academic staff member (ZAP) in the field of "data law", within the research unit CiTiP (Centre for IT and IP Law). This half-time position is part of the awarded FED-tWIN project DigiL4ARCH (digital law for archiving - Digital information management: blessing or curse. A legal challenge!) (code: Prf-2022-027_DIGIL4Arch), in which the ZAP position is linked to a half-time position work leader (SW2) of indefinite duration offered by the State Archives (ARA). The DigiL4ARCH project is part of the FED-tWIN programme on long-term scientific cooperation between the federal scientific institutions (FSIs) and the universities. The promoters of the project are Prof. Dr. Marie-Christine Janssens, Head of the research unit CiTiP and Dr. Johan Van der Eycken, Head of the digital archiving services of the ARA.
This project pursues a threefold goal: (1) to analyse legal challenges arising from digital archiving; this requires, firstly: an understanding of the impact of existing and upcoming legislation on the information management of public bodies and the State Archives in particular; secondly, an analysis of how to adjust work processes with a view of increasing compliance with the regulatory framework and legal certainty; (2) to identify regulatory gaps in different legal domains that need to be addressed to ensure sustainable value creation in digital archiving; this entails a reflection on (regulatory) solutions to align existing frameworks in the digital field with open data policies within archives in a manner that safeguards the legitimate interest of third parties involved while enabling the transition from collection development to data and information management; (3) to formulate recommendations for an "Archive Law 2.0" that is fit for purpose and adapted to the digital reality, and that takes into account the archives societal benefits of proper information and data management.

The appointed candidate will therefore work half-time at KU Leuven (as ZAP tenure track) and half-time at ARA (as contractual work leader). The evaluation and selection of the candidate will be carried out by a jury consisting of representatives of the two institutions, and in particular of the Advisory Committee of the Faculty of Law and Criminology (KU Leuven) and of the services responsible for scientific research and Digital Archiving (ARA).

CiTiP (Centre for IT and IP Law), embedded in the Faculty of Law and Criminology, is internationally recognised as a leading research centre in the field of legal aspects of information technology and intellectual property rights. Current research includes legal-ethical issues concerning artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, privacy and data protection, e-health, human enhancement and pharma, media and telecommunications, (cyber) security and crime, the management of and transactions with data, bio- and food technologies, and the protection of intellectual property in a digital environment. Characteristic of this research is the intra- and extra-legal interdisciplinary and comparative legal approach, constantly seeking cross-fertilisation between legal, technical, economic, ethical and socio-cultural perspectives. The research group consists of more than 90 researchers, is led by 6 professors and 2 research experts, in collaboration with 9 postdoctoral researchers and 4 research support staff members. The group currently has more than 15 nationalities and is gender balanced. CiTiP endorses the view that academic excellence follows from the combination of excellent research and teaching, in which the sharing of knowledge leads to social impact. In doing so, CiTiP recognises that excellence is not only the result of individual performance, but above all of group performance, with each team member acting as a leader connecting people.

The State Archive and State Archive in the Provinces, or the State Archives for short, is a federal scientific institution, which is part of the Programmatic Public Service Science Policy. The institution consists of the State Archive in Brussels and 19 State Archives throughout Belgium. The State Archives acquire and preserve (after selection) archives of at least 30 years old from courts and tribunals, public administrations and notaries, but also from private organisations and individuals (companies, politicians, associations and societies, notaries, large families, etc.) that have played an important role in social life. It ensures that government archives are transferred according to archival standards. The State Archives supervise the proper preservation of the archives that were established and managed by a government. In this context, it provides guidelines and recommendations, carries out inspection visits, organises courses for civil servants and acts as a consultant for the construction and establishment of archive repositories and for the organisation of archive management within a public administration. The scientific staff of the State Archives make archive files accessible for research through inventories and other search aids such as databases, search guides, archive overviews, guides and institutional studies. Making these archival documents available to the public is one of the main tasks. The State Archives make its collections available to a wide and varied audience in a digital reading room and 19 physical reading rooms. As a scientific institution, which is at the same time at the heart of practice, the State Archives occupy an ideal position for the assignment. On the one hand, it makes it possible to combine academic research with policy-making and, on the other hand, to apply these regulations and to consider its impact on the lives of citizens and researchers. In this way, the institution actively participates in the social transformation of information management, open data politics and good governance in Belgium, especially - although not exclusively - at federal level.



The position at KU Leuven entails research in the growing field of "data law", focusing on one or more of the following themes: data regulation (including open data and reuse of public sector information), electronic contracting, privacy and data protection, copyright (and more broadly intellectual property rights), information management and security, public and/or private law aspects of (digital) archiving, artificial intelligence, network and platform regulation, regulation of digital services and markets. 
The following is expected of the selected candidate:
  • conducting scientific research independently, developing an internationally competitive research programme and pursuing excellent scientific results;
  • developing a strong methodological research profile, including a focus on the applications of the research; 
  • genuine interest in intra- and interdisciplinary research;
  • managing one or more research clusters at CiTiP in the field of data law and digital archiving;
  • supervising master students, PhD students, postdocs and junior researchers;
  • setting up and/or promoting national and international collaborations in the field of research;
  • attracting external competitive resources for research.
The research assignment of the State Archives is an extension of that of KU Leuven. The State Archives are processing more and more digital information: a trend that will only increase in the coming years. This is accompanied by organisational, technical and also legal challenges. The institution must adapt to a complex legal framework, which is also constantly expanding and changing. 
The following is expected of the selected candidate:
  • analysing the impact of the current regulations on the work processes of the ARA;
  • formulating recommendations for adjusting these work processes;
  • participating in consultations with institutional partners at federal level and with federal entities such as ministerial cabinets and legal services;
  • assessing both EU and national draft legislation, analysing their potential impact and, if necessary, formulating proposals for adaptation;
  • formulating recommendations for a new federal legal framework for document and archive management (Archives Act 2.0), adapted to digital reality, taking into account the social benefits of information and data management;
  • attracting external resources for research;
  • supervising researchers;
  • setting up and/or promoting national and international partnerships for the exchange of both research insights and practical experience, for example in the context of the preparation and application of regulations relating to digital archiving and document management. Potential partners include foreign national archive institutions and organisations, members of European research infrastructures, representatives of the business sector and various social users.


The position at KU Leuven includes teaching in Dutch and English within subjects that are in line with the research assignment (where the candidate is expected to be flexible). Teaching is offered to both large and smaller numbers of students on the various campuses of KU Leuven (Leuven, Brussels, Kortrijk). This concerns both students with a legal and a non-legal profile, and this at all levels (bachelor, master, ManaMa). Teaching also includes the supervision of master's theses. The selected candidate has a solid vision and ability to provide academic research-based teaching and is willing to contribute to interactive and innovative forms of education. He/she has demonstrable didactic skills. The teaching must meet the excellence requirements set for academic programmes in terms of level, orientation and academic content. The position also includes the development of the interactive and innovative teaching on which the Faculty focuses.


The position at KU Leuven includes tasks of scientific, social and internal services (such as participating in university and Faculty committees and taking on tasks - in the long term also policy tasks - within the Faculty; availability for government, society and press for advice or science communication). An active contribution to the general management of CiTiP and to its financial stability is expected by acquiring funds for research and/or teaching, and coaching junior researchers in grant applications. The selected candidate contributes to the academic growth and visibility of the CiTiP, the Faculty and KU Leuven in general, by co-organising conferences, workshops and other events. 
The assignment at the State Archives also includes tasks of scientific, social and internal services (such as advising various services of the State Archives, archivists and researchers, preparing the necessary documentation and organising training courses and workshops). Active participation is expected within the Digital Archiving Department and, by extension, the State Archives. 


The successful candidate:
  • has obtained excellent education and research results, and holds a doctoral degree in Law (or has a public defense date planned), obtained maximum 12 years before the application date. (Extensions due to pregancy leave, parental or adoption leave and/or absences due to longtime illness of the candidate or their family members are taken into consideration.);
  • has in-depth knowledge of one or (ideally multiple) aspects of "data law": data regulation (including open data and re-use of public sector information), electronic contracting, privacy and data protection, copyright (and wider intellectual property rights), information. 
Proficiency in English is required. 
The official language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in meetings.
Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch, respectively English, to the required standard.
KU Leuven and ARA pursue an equal opportunities and diversity policy.


KU Leuven offers a dynamic, recognised and internationally oriented research environment. The research unit CiTiP is embedded within the Faculty of Law and Criminology, which has an extensive national and international network within the academic and legal world.
The workplace is Leuven, a historical, dynamic and vibrant city in the heart of Belgium, 20 minutes from Brussels and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.
The vacancy is open to junior researchers who have, at the moment of application, a public defense date scheduled and who will have defended their PhD before the start date of the position. In principle, the selected candidate is recruited as an assistant professor (ZAP) in tenure track, with the prospect of a permanent appointment as senior associate professor after five years in the event of a positive evaluation. Candidates with an advanced profile can exceptionally be appointed as associate professors from the start date. Both the assistant and associate professor appointments include ius promovendi and offer the prospect of promotion to (full) professor without a new vacancy.
To facilitate scientific integration and research in the starting phase, KU Leuven offers the possibility to apply for a start-up grant of 110 000 euros. This scholarship is for new professors without substantial other funds, and who have been appointed for at least 50%.
The ARA offers a stimulating professional research environment. The 'Digital Archiving' service is part of the Operational Directorate Brussels, and is responsible for all work processes (acquisition, management and valorisation) relating to digital archives. The service actively participates in various European research infrastructures (DARIAH, CESSDA, APEF, EOSC, etc.). In the 'Digital Archiving' service, brainstorming, consultation, collegiality, initiative and flexibility are encouraged. It is a medium sized environment, but with many contacts and interlocutors both inside and outside the State Archives. The service offers a unique experience as it occupies a key position at the crossroads of the process of legal creation and the evaluation of its concrete application.
The workplace is Brussels. The ARA is located a few minutes from the central station (Rue Ruisbroek 2 1000 Brussels). 
The selected candidate is recruited as work leader (senior researcher) at SW2 level with a contract of indefinite duration. This is a position at the level of scientific staff commensurate with the profile of the researcher. As a scientific institution, the State Archives take scientific seniority into account.
Both the ARA and KU Leuven offer the following additional benefits:
  • flexible working hours and working conditions in line with the policy of both partners of the project (teleworking, flexible work schedule, etc.);
  • free public transport for commuting and/or bicycle allowance in Belgium;
  • advantageous hospitalisation insurance via the State Archives and KU Leuven;
  • bonuses for sports and cultural institutions;
  • support with childcare.
Additional benefits via KU Leuven can be found on the KU Leuven jobsite; additional benefits via the State Archives can be found on www.fedplus.be and https://www.belspo.be/soc/index_nl.st . 


You can apply for this vacancy up to and including June 29th, 2023, via our online application.

If you have problems applying electronically, you can send an email to solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

The application package includes:

- your biosketch (more info: www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/academic-staff/senior-academic-staff-tenure-track-information); 

- a comprehensive CV (including a full list of publications);

- a research plan with attention for the development of a research line and associated research team and with an eye for collaboration with fellow researchers within the entity(s) of employment (maximum 4 pages);

- an overview of your 5 most important publications or achievements (more info: www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/academic-staff/senior-academic-staff-tenure-track-information);

- a description of your vision on academic teaching and its organisation (maximum 2 pages);

- all educational evaluations of the past 5 years that you have;

- an overview of your contribution to service activities (internal representation through membership in boards and governing bodies, contributions to society from education and research, outreach and science communication) (maximum 1 page);

- a description of your vision on leadership (maximum 1 page).

When preparing these documents, please take into account the appointment across the 2 institutions. 

Contact persons for questions about the content of this position or vacancy are:

KU Leuven:

- Prof. Dr. Wouter Devroe, Dean, wouter.devroe@kuleuven.be

- Prof. Dr. Marie-Christine Janssens, Head of the research unit CiTiP, m-ch.janssens@kuleuven.be

- Prof. Dr. Peggy Valcke, Vice-Dean of Research, peggy.valcke@kuleuven.be


- Prof. Dr. Sébastien Dubois, Operational Director, sebastien.dubois@arch.be

- Dr. Johan Van der Eycken, Head of the Digital Archiving Service, johan.vandereycken@arch.be

- Dr. Rolande Depoortere, Digital Archivist, rolande.depoortere@arch.be

KU Leuven and the ARA want to create an environment in which all talents can develop to the maximum, regardless of gender, age, cultural origin, nationality or disability. If you have any questions regarding accessibility or support options, you can contact us via the respective email addresses diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be and personeelsdienst@arch.be.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Job details

Tenure track in data law (50% at KU Leuven + 50% at the State Archives)
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-06-29 23:59
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