Post-Doctoral Researcher

The Asser Institute in The Hague is a research centre for international and European law. Its mission is to contribute to the development of international and European law by conducting independent fundamental research, policy-oriented research, and applied legal research, as well as by initiating and facilitating academic and expert meetings, (professional) education, and public events with a view to disseminating knowledge of international and European Law. The Institute is dedicated to building a strong research community and creating an environment that facilitates critical-constructive reflection.

The Asser Institute invites applications for a:

Post-Doctoral Researcher with a focus on philosophy and ethics of technologies in the military context

Full-time (38 hours per week)
Starting date: 1 September 2020 

The post-doctoral researcher will join the NWO-MVI funded interdisciplinary research project DILEMA on Designing International Law and Ethics into Military Artificial Intelligence.

Project description

The DILEMA project explores the conditions and modalities that would allow to leverage the potential benefits of AI technologies in the military while abiding by the rule of law and ethical values. An interdisciplinary research team will work in dialogue and together with partners to address the ethical, legal, and technical dimensions of the project. The research team will investigate why it is essential to safeguard human agency over certain functions and activities, where it is most critical to maintain the role of human agents in order to ensure legal compliance and accountability, and how to technically ensure that military technologies are designed and deployed in line with ethical and legal frameworks. More information about the project is available at:

Within this project, the Asser Institute invites applications for a post-doctoral researcher with a background in philosophy and ethics, to conduct research on human agency in relation to military AI technologies. The post-doctoral researcher will engage in fundamental research on the functions of human agency, and analyse how current or future AI systems could affect these functions. She/he will test the assumption that human agency enables and is a precondition to compliance with international norms and accountability. The post-doctoral researcher will also work in collaboration with other members of the DILEMA research team, and contribute to developing policy and technical guidance on military AI.


  • Conduct fundamental research within the DILEMA project;
  • Publish articles in high-level academic journals;
  • Present research at international conferences;
  • Assist in the organization of research and dissemination activities within the DILEMA project;
  • Work together with the other team members of the DILEMA project;
  • Contribute actively to the Asser research community;
  • Engage with research groups of the University of Amsterdam.


The successful candidate will meet the following requirements:

  • A completed PhD in philosophy;
  • A track-record of academic publications;
  • A demonstrated research focus and/or a strong research interest in ethics of technologies, artificial intelligence, legal philosophy, governance of technologies, military affairs;
  • Experience or interest in interdisciplinary research;
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • Fluency in English.


  • The employee will be appointed at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Law School, and seconded to the Asser Institute.
  • The appointment is for two years. Extension of the appointment is subject to the availability of additional funds.
  • The gross full-time monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities, scale 11, ranging from €3.637 to €4.978 gross per month (full-time), depending on the actual level of education, experience and knowledge. Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • In the context of this project, the employee will be subject to a security screening and clearance.


To apply to this position, please submit:

  • A motivation letter;
  • A curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages), including a list of publications;
  • A research proposal (maximum 800 words, excluding references) describing the research the applicant intends to pursue within the framework of the DILEMA project, in particular how the applicant intends to address the topic of human agency in relation to military AI technologies;
  • The name and contact details of two referees (referees will only be contacted at a later stage).

Submit your application in PDF format by email to, to the attention of the Selection Committee. Further information on the position and the project may be obtained from Dr. Berenice Boutin (, Senior Researcher and DILEMA Project Leader, and Prof. Dr. Janne Nijman, Academic Director of the Asser Institute (

The deadline for application is 15 April 2020.

Acquisition for this job offer is not appreciated.