Vacancy at HRC Ugent: Postdoctoral Fellow (deadline 10 Jan 2022)

Postdoctoral fellow

Last application date: Jan 10, 2022 00:00
Department: RE22 – Department of European, Public and International Law
Contract: Limited duration
Degree: PhD degree in law or a relevant social science
Occupancy rate: 100%
Vacancy type: Research staff

Job description

The ERC research project “DISSECT: Evidence in International Human Rights Adjudication” (ERC-AdG-2018-834044) is seeking to fill one full-time research position at post-doctoral level.

Contract duration: 24 months with a possible 6-month extension. Deadline for submission: 10 January 2022. Foreseen starting date:1 September 2022.

The post-holder’s main task will be to research the evidentiary regime of two (or more) UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, including the Human Rights Committee and possibly the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

This task can be completed in one of the following ways:

  • The organisation of an academic seminar bringing together a number of experts followed by the publication of an edited volume and/or special issue in an academic journal;
  • The publication of 3 articles in academic journals;
  • The publication of a monograph;
  • A combination of various elements you wish to propose.

In addition, the post-holder will participate in the DISSECT research team’s activities (on which, see below), attend academic conferences and contribute to the dissemination of the findings of the DISSECT research project.

The postholder will become a member of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law and Criminology.

English will be the main working language.


DISSECT comes out the recognition that, although evidence is at the heart of adjudication and adjudication is at the heart of the international protection of human rights, evidence in international human rights (IHR) adjudication has not yet been studied in a systematic and comprehensive way.

Employing a team of researchers, DISSECT has 4 main aims:

1. To identify across the three regional human rights courts and at least two UN treaty bodies, the set of formal and informal rules and practices (‘regime’) which govern the treatment of evidence in IHR adjudication;
2. To examine the regime’s political underpinnings and uses;
3. To generate specific recommendations for the treatment of evidence in adjudication; and
4. To develop new insights regarding power, truth and evidence, as well as to the way law treats factual uncertainty.

In addition to Prof Dembour (PI), DISSECT currently employs six researchers. It also benefits from the involvement of two affiliated researchers.


Job profile

In order to be eligible, applicants must:

  • Hold a PhD in law or a relevant social science, which has not been awarded by a Belgian university;
  • Have obtained their PhD degree at the time of applying or convincingly demonstrate that they will have this degree in hand by 1 September 2022;
  • Not have resided or carried out a main activity (work, study, etc.) in Belgium for more than 24 months in the three years prior to the start of their contract;
  • Be ready to relocate to Belgium as their main residence for the time of the contract;
  • Be willing to spend period(s) of time abroad for fieldwork as appropriate and to participate in international conferences;
  • Be fluent in English as their primary working language and as their primary publication language.

In addition, applicants are expected to demonstrate the following:

  • direct experience (or excellent knowledge) of UN human rights Treaty bodies;
  • a clear interest in (or dormant passion which only needs to be awakened for) evidentiary issues;
  • familiarity with the research methods required for the successful conduct of their proposed research project;
  • access to useful networks and resources for the completion of their project;
  • excellent academic writing and presentation skills.

The following are also required:

  • ability to work both independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary and international team;
  • capacity and willingness to contribute to the well-being of the DISSECT research team;
  • meticulousness, organization skills and capacity to manage deadlines.

How to apply

To apply, please send:

  • a cover letter (double-spaced, font 12, 4 pages maximum) outlining your motivation, how you propose to complete your main task, and the assets you will bring to your research project and the DISSECT team;
  • a detailed CV (including a list of your publications);
  • a transcript of your degrees and grades
    • If your diplomas are in a language other than Belgium’s national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, their translation in one of the afore-mentioned languages;
  • two letters of recommendation; and
  • a writing sample in English, ideally an academic or research paper on a topic related to this post (10,000 words maximum).

Applicants are asked to submit these documents as one pdf file via email to with the subject line “Application_[your name]_UNbodies_DISSECT”.

Failure to respect the afore-mentioned format may result in your application not to be processed.

The deadline for submission is 10 January 2022.
The foreseen starting date is 1 September 2022.

For inquiries, please contact prof. dr. Marie-Benedicte Dembour at


The submitted dossier will form the basis of a first selection. Longlisted applicants will then be invited to complete a home-based written assignment, probably in the last week of January. Any candidate who may require special facilities should indicate this in their application, and we will try to accommodate their request.

The written assignment will be used to decide which candidates will be shortlisted. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a video conference interview, which is likely to take place between 22 and 28 February 2022.

This interview will serve to gauge the quality, and relevance for this post, of the academic and practical experience of the candidates.
The selecting process will be carried out by an appointing panel chaired by Prof. Dembour.


Several elements, including prior experience and family situation, will be factored into the calculation of the salary offered. The minimum salary (applicable to someone without family dependents or previous experience) is € 2199,50 net per month.

In addition to the salary, the University offers several social benefits to which the candidate has access, such as commuter allowances, access to university restaurants. More information can be found here.

The selected candidate will be expected to live in or near Ghent, except when travelling and spending periods of time elsewhere as required by their study.

The post-holder will be institutionally based at the Human Rights Center of the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University (see below).

They will be able to develop their training further by enrolling for courses offered at the University of Ghent.

The position must result in appropriate accepted publications within the contract period.


Ghent University
Ghent University is a top 100 university and one of the major universities in Belgium. Our 11 faculties offer a wide range of courses and conduct in-depth research within a wide range of scientific domains.

Ghent University occupies a specific position among the Flemish universities. We are a socially committed and pluralistic university that is open to all students, regardless of their ideological, political, cultural or social background.

In its mission statement, Ghent University identifies itself as a socially committed university. This implies that the institution reflects about the positive impact that its activities can have upon society, and that it attempts to optimize that impact. It also implies the reflection about the potential negative impact of activities upon society, and the attempt of minimizing such impact.

Research is the motor of Ghent University. Boundaries are pushed. Researchers make discoveries. These discoveries impact people worldwide, give new impulses to teaching, and provide a foundation for a knowledge society.

Over the course of its 200-year history Ghent University has built up a strong scientific reputation. Ghent University invests both in fundamental, high risk science as in applied research. The university is known for its scientific expertise in life sciences and medicine, materials and agricultural science, veterinary medicine, psychology and history, and many more.

Faculty of Law and Criminology
The Faculty provides academic teaching and services based on innovative scientific research.

The education within these programmes is supported by the innovative scientific research performed within the 3 faculty departments encompassing all possible disciplines within the fields of law and criminological sciences.

Human Rights Center
The Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law and Criminology at Ghent University is a world-leading academic center. We are proud of our dynamic international team, counting many young researchers, and of our broad research and teaching expertise, covering international, regional, national and comparative law of human rights. Human Rights Centre members work on a range of thematic issues, including legal pluralism, freedom of expression, gender, indigenous peoples’ rights, and the European Court of Human Rights. Members also actively engage with human rights practice by supervising clinical projects and submitting third-party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights.

We ensure equal opportunities, equal treatment and equal access to the vacancies for all who apply. We ensure an objective and non-biased assessment procedure. Origin, ethnicity, gender, age, employment disability, sexual orientation and other identity factors will not be a factor in assessing candidates’ competences. Candidates belonging to vulnerable or minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

You are most welcome to reach out to prof. dr. Marie-Benedicte Dembour by emailing her at:

This is a copy of the official vacancy on the website of Ghent University, published on 25 Nov 2021.