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For the next six years, the Amsterdam Law School will receive an extra six hundred thousand euros a year, to be spent on scientific research, increasing the number of young researchers and diversity. The money is part of the annual grant of over six million euros awarded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) to the ten law schools in the Netherlands as part of the Law Sector Plan.

The pledge is initially for the period between 2019 and 2024 and is primarily intended for research. The Amsterdam Law School will receive an annual grant of €640,000. After 2024, the implementation of the Sector Plan will be reviewed; if the outcome is positive, these funds may be allocated on a structural basis.

Dean André Nollkaemper is delighted with the grant award: 'It is a huge opportunity for the legal domain in the Netherlands. The funds will enable us to pursue the HR agenda, recruit young researchers and improve the gender balance at the top of the faculty.'

Research priorities

The budget is part of the ten million euros that the government made available to social sciences and humanities (SSH) on the condition that domain and sector plans were drawn up. The SSH domain chose to invest 6 million euros specifically in the Law sector. 

The ten faculties of law were subsequently required to collectively identify research priorities. The Law Sector Plan published in late 2018 identified one generic objective, namely the HR policy aimed at increasing the number of young researchers, and five substantive objectives: Empirical Legal Studies, Digital Legal Studies, conflict-solving institutions, the transformative effect of globalisation in law and the re-evaluation of public interests in private relationships. 

HR objectives

The Amsterdam Law School seeks to increase the number of young researchers by shortening the PhD tracks. Career development policy should also be made more attractive to young researchers, by creating positions that allow them to spend half their time on research, for example, and by offering a greater number of permanent appointments.

The faculty also aims to enhance diversity and inclusiveness. The target is for 33% of the professors to be women by 2025. To this end, new female professors will be appointed. At the same time, several male professors are due to retire and some temporary contracts will end. 

When recruiting new staff, more attention will also be paid to minority groups. Part of the additional funds will be used to create four PhD positions, at least one of which will be made available to a candidate from an underrepresented group. 

An honours research programme will also be developed (to replace the Research Master's). When recruiting new students for this programme, students from underrepresented groups, in particular, will be approached. 

Scientific research

In the field of science, the Amsterdam Law School has adopted the themes Digital Legal Studies and the transformative effect of globalisation in law. For both themes, the faculty will develop a strong research group that is leading at national and international level in terms of academic excellence and social impact. The substantive aspects, such as digitisation and the effect of globalisation on law, must also be reflected in the legal education. 

André Nollkaemper: 'The grant award is a boost for research in the field of digitisation and globalisation. The fact that these are broad, current themes offers many opportunities for cross-pollination within the faculty. Examples of this are the interaction between globalisation and digitisation, digitisation in tax law and automated decision-making in the Dutch legal system.'