Postdoctoral Researcher: Studying the Institutional Forms of Societal Trust in the Digital Society

The Faculty of Law, the Institute for Information Law (IViR), and the University Research Priority Area on Trust in the Digital Society is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to study the institutional safeguards of trustworthy centralized and decentralized techno-social infrastructures.

The TRUST RPA is a five year long interdisciplinary research initiative to study how we trust is changing due to the emergence of new trust production technologies, and the disruption of existing trust relations.

The digital society relies on an ever-expanding network of digital infrastructures. This forces us to rethink some of our basic assumptions about one of the most fundamental resources in all interpersonal, social, economic relations: trust.

  1. Despite their widespread use, we know little about the trustworthiness of our digital infrastructures. At best it is difficult to establish their trustworthiness (such as with AI), at worst they are proven to be untrustworthy (as is the case with social media).
  2. Some of these digital infrastructures play key roles in interpersonal and societal trust dynamics. They disrupt existing trust relations and offer new ways to trust each other.
  3. Our scientific methods and theories face serious limits when it comes to the study of change of social structures, institutions, and processes under the conditions of rapid technological transformation. Research on trust in technology and trust by technology is siloed, and focuses on narrowly defined technologies (AI), or problems (system security), and lacks a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, long-term-view.


The successful candidate, Institutional Forms of Societal Trust in the Digital Society will:

  • Conduct empirical, qualitative research on the dynamics of institutional, impersonal trust about emerging digital technologies, such as digital platforms, web3 technologies, or Machine Learning based automated systems.
  • Coordinate the development, fieldwork and initial analysis of a large-scale longitudinal survey
  • Conduct work on the emerging European technology regulation framework (Digital Services Act, AI Act, Digital Markets Act) using doctrinal research, normative research and discourse analysis
  • Organize events, conferences
  • Participate in grant proposal development, international network building
  • Acquire funding
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Duration: 4 years


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment, they offer multiple fringe benefits, including:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from hei Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

Job Requirements

The successful candidate, Institutional Forms of Societal Trust in the Digital Society has:

  • a PhD degree in law, or social sciences (sociology, economics, political science, communication science, science and technology studies  or related fields)
  • strong empirical research skills;
  • familiarity with qualitative research methods,
  • familiarity with doctrinal research or policy research;
  • good knowledge of current developments in information markets and technology;
  • academic excellence, as shown in the grade transcripts and curriculum vitae.
  • a creative mind and analytical intelligence;
  • an interest in working in a multidisciplinary team;
  • willingness to learn new knowledge, and acquire new skills required by the project;
  • excellent written and spoken command of English, and ideally knowledge of Dutch
  • interest in working on interdisciplinary topics, in interdisciplinary teams.

Application Process

Applications Studying the Institutional Forms of Societal Trust in the Digital Society in .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • An academic writing sample in English (e.g., published book, journal article, PhD dissertation).
  • Draft research plan (2 pages maximum) on the topic of the call, including possible research questions, relevant literature, methods.
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Deadline: April 15, 2023.

For more information on Studying the Institutional Forms of Societal Trust in the Digital Society, visit the official site.