Research Professor in Public International Law at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

July 10, 2024

Apply for this job

Job Description

KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that conducts both fundamental and applied scientific research. It has a strong inter- and multidisciplinary focus and strives for international excellence. To this end, the Faculty and the Research Unit actively collaborate with research partners in Belgium and abroad.

The Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Humanities and Social Sciences Group of KU Leuven has a vacancy for a full-time position as a research professor (BOFZAP) in Public International Law at the Research Unit for International and European Law. This position is funded by the Special Research Fund (BOFZAP), established by the Flemish Government. A research professorship at KU Leuven offers excellent researchers the opportunity to build a research group, with limited teaching responsibilities in the first 10 years. After 10 years, the position will be transformed into a regular academic professorship, and depending on the Research Unit/Faculty, teaching responsibilities may increase.

The Faculty of Law and Criminology has a strong national and international reputation for teaching, research and service in the area of public international law. It pursues leadership in each of these spheres at the national, European and international levels. In doing so, the Faculty wishes to distinguish itself through the academic nature of its work and its awareness of the major societal role of this research area. The technicality of the legal domain is therefore to be transcended through originality in research, attention to values, awareness of the interaction of legal rules in a multi-layered legal order, and intra- and interdisciplinarity.

The vacancy is hosted by the Research Unit for International and European Law which is internationally renowned for the quality of its scientific research output, as well as for the high level of education it provides (in English and/or in Dutch) to students from Belgium, the European Union as well as from around the globe. The activities of the Research Unit (RU) are organised around 3 axes: public international law (e.g. international legal theory, and generalist approaches – e.g. nature and sources -, international dispute settlement, law of international organisations, international economic law and international humanitarian law), private international law (e.g. international commercial litigation, strategic and public interest litigation) and European law (with a focus on institutional matters, e.g. EU constitutional law, judicial protection, fundamental rights, law of external relations). Our staff is composed of 4 full-time professors, 2 post-doctoral researchers and 9 full-time researchers. We also benefit from the involvement of numerous part-time professors, experts and assistants, and are very successful in attracting external research funding. Many members of the RU are affiliated to the inter-disciplinary Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and work closely together on research projects within the Centre.

Unit website


As a research professor you will develop a broad research programme with a focus on public international law, understood broadly also to include transnational, global, or pluralist approaches to the law. With a view to ensuring complementarity with existing expertise in our RU in matters of public international law, including the law of international organisations, private international law and European institutional law, the new recruit will be expected to develop an innovative research agenda in at least one of the following themes:

  • Challenges created by migratory fluxes at international level (including migration caused by climate change, or other natural disasters);
  • Inter-state relations, peace & security (with a particular focus on armed conflicts, and including hybrid forms of conflicts);
  • International organisations/international institutional law;
  • The rule of law in an international context;
  • Environment, climate change, and energy law;
  • The impact of new technologies on supranational governance;
  • Multilevel monetary governance;
  • Finance/development law;
  • Multinational undertakings in international trade and investment law;
  • Intersections, and interactions, between various forms of international dispute settlement (e.g. investor-state dispute settlement, arbitration, or adjudication).

The Faculty particularly welcomes candidates who would strengthen the Research Unit’s long-established profile as a leading research centre on the interaction between international and European legal orders, ranging from the European Union as an international actor and its participation in international institutions to the reception of international law in the European legal order.

You will be expected to:

  • Carry out independent research, develop an internationally competitive research programme and pursue excellent scientific results;
  • Develop national and international partnerships;
  • Be open to a multidisciplinary approach and intensive collaboration with other research groups at KU Leuven, notably, the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies;
  • Supervise and coach master’s students, PhD/junior researchers and postdoctoral researchers;
  • Seek to acquire competitive research funding from national and international funds;
  • Have a keen interest in fundamental research, while also paying attention to the valorisation and practical application of research results, e.g. through contacts with policymakers and stakeholders and by engaging in applied research that is relevant for decisionmakers and legal practice.


A research professor will be expected to primarily focus on research in the first 10 years after recruitment. The candidate will be expected to share expertise with students and researchers in the context of supervision of research papers and doctoral research, and will have limited teaching tasks. Teaching tasks may be at both master’s and bachelor’s level, to be taught in Dutch or English. Our courses are taught to both bigger and smaller groups of students at the different KU Leuven campuses.

Both the Research Unit and the Faculty attach importance to strong personal commitment to teaching assignments and broad employability as a lecturer.

Your teaching must meet the requirements of academic programmes in terms of level, orientation and substance, and must in particular be research-based and -oriented. It must be consistent with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and research-based education and learning. A commitment to the overall high quality of our educational programmes is considered self-evident.


  • Your duties include the provision of scientific, societal and internal services (such as serving on University and Faculty committees and availability to the government, society and press for science communication).
  • You help to develop specific initiatives, including in the context of KU Leuven Engage. 
  • You are expected to play an active part in the general management of the Research Unit, to actively contribute to its financial stability by raising funds for research and/or education and to coach junior researchers who are applying for grants. 
  • You will contribute to the academic flourishing and visibility of the Research Unit, the Faculty of Law and Criminology, and KU Leuven in general, by helping to organise conferences, workshops, and other events.


  • You have achieved excellence in study and research and you have been holding a PhD in Law preferably for at least 3 years. You can demonstrate expertise in the themes indicated above through publications and other research achievements. If you have recently obtained your PhD (or have at least a set date for your public defence prior to the starting date of the appointment), it is important to substantiate your research and growth potential with academic references. 
  • You have an excellent research track record, which includes national and/or international peer-reviewed publications and/or other research achievements that demonstrate originality, a capacity for abstraction (note that we welcome innovative theoretical approaches) and openness to intra- and/or interdisciplinary research (such as drawing insights from sociology, political science/international relations, or economics).  We will take into account your current career stage when evaluating your application. 
  • You have a well thought-out vision of and the capability to provide high-quality, research-based academic education and possess excellent didactic skills. Teaching experience is an asset. If you have evaluations of previous teaching assignments at your disposal, please add them to your application. 
  • Finally, you possess demonstrable organisational, social, professional and leadership skills, as well as the collegiality and flexibility necessary to join an existing team. 
  • Experience in legal practice is not required, but can be considered an asset. Experience with research supervision is not required, but can also be considered an asset. 
  • The official administrative and teaching language of KU Leuven is Dutch. If you have no or insufficient knowledge of Dutch at the start of your appointment, KU Leuven offers language courses which will allow you to participate in board meetings. Candidates who are not Dutch-speaking should be willing to master Dutch at CEFR level B2 no later than 3 years after recruitment.  In addition, an excellent oral and written command of English is required. Knowledge of other languages, is a plus. KU Leuven offers training opportunities to strengthen your language skills.


  • We offer full-time employment in an intellectually stimulating environment.
  • Depending on your application file and qualifications you will be appointed at one of the ranks of senior academic staff. In Belgium, each of these ranks are positions with ius promovendi that offer a prospect of promotion to full professor without your needing to apply for a new vacancy.
  • As a senior academic staff member, in the course of your career you will have the possibility to make use of periods of sabbatical leave, during which you are exempted from regular duties. The purpose of these sabbaticals is to allow you to focus (even more) on your professional development or to recharge your academic batteries, without loss of salary.
  • KU Leuven is well equipped to welcome foreign professors and their families and where possible offers practical support in the areas of immigration, housing, child care, learning Dutch, career coaching for the candidate’s partner, …
  • To facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase a starting grant of circa 110.000,00 euros is offered to new professors if they meet the eligibility criteria determined by KU Leuven.

full application and selection procedure Research Professorships (BOFZAP)

Information on BOFZAP

Start-up grant

KU Leuven vision on education and learning

KU Leuven Engage

Terms of employment senior academic staff


More information on the content of the job can be obtained from the academic contact person Prof. Dr. Elise Muir, Head of Research Unit for International and European Law, ( or Prof. Dr. Wouter Devroe, Dean Faculty of Law and Criminology, ( 

More information on the guidelines, regulations and application file is available from Ms. Kristin Vermeylen (, tel. +32 16 32 09 07) or Ms. Martine van Nierop (, tel. +32 16 32 76 98).

You can apply for this job no later than September 03, 2024 via the online application tool 

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Do you have a question about the online application system? Please consult our FAQ or email us at

Source link