The Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, is seeking applications for a position as PhD. The position is part of the research project “Algorithmic Fairness Asylum-Seekers and Refugees (AFAR)” and is available from 1 January 2023, for a duration of 36 months. Start date is negotiable.

About the AFAR project
‘AFAR’ ‘Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum Seekers and Refugees’ investigates the use of new technologies – and particularly, forms of artificial intelligence (AI) – in migration and asylum governance. This includes automation of processes previously done by humans, using simple closed-rule algorithms, as well as more complex machine learning and AI systems. These new technologies are set to radically transform governance, but also risk human rights violations and unfairness, especially in areas such as migration and asylum where the ‘data subjects’ are already disempowered and disenfranchised. This calls for sustained research on what fairness means as a concept, how it can be institutionalized, and how new methods related to data analysis and machine learning can be leveraged in order to support fairness in asylum and migration governance.

The PhD will define his or her own research idea and project within the AFAR project. The PhD will be responsible for securing a strong link to migration law within the project and may engage with formal-legal, law-data science, socio-legal approaches, and/or legal philosophical analysis. The PhD project should focus on one or more key areas where these new technologies are being used, (1) access to asylum, (2) refugee status determination or asylum processing, (3) refugee-focused family reunification. We further welcome projects that investigate how AI technologies can support fairness in this empirical domain more broadly.

AFAR is a collaborative project drawing from expertise in law, data science, refugee studies, and political science. A relevant educational background and/or experience in one of these fields is necessary, experience in more than one is desirable. As part of an interdisciplinary team, the PhD is expected to work in close collaboration within research partners based at the University of Oxford, Hertie School of Governance, European University Institute, and the University of Zagreb. The PhD employed will form part of a larger research team based at the University of Copenhagen that incorporates legal and data science expertise as part of the and the forthcoming Center of Excellence on Global Mobility Law.

The candidate will be enrolled and based at the Faculty of Law and expected to teach relevant courses at LAW for at least one semester.


  • Applicants must have obtained a degree that corresponds to the Danish Master of Laws which is a second cycle 120 ECTS degree (two years of full-time studies), that builds on a 180 ECTS bachelor’s degree (three years of full-time studies) or equivalent qualifications. Applicants with a non-Danish Master’s degree will have their degree assessed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science in order to establish, if the Master’s degree is equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree.
  • Applicants must have obtained a minimum overall grade average of 8.2 or above at the Master’s level in accordance with the Danish grading scale (for Danish scale, see here).
  • Applicants may submit their application before they have completed their Master’s Degree. The Master’s degree must be obtained before the start date.
  • Applicants must document an aptitude for research through the meritorious assessment of their final thesis, publications or academic recommendations in order to show that they are capable of undertaking the demanding task of writing a PhD thesis.
  • Applicants must have excellent language skills in English and have excellent communications skills. Applicants must be able to teach at an academic level in Danish or English and to follow PhD courses in English.

Successful PhD candidates are required to

  • Actively engage in the interdisciplinary research environment established by the project and the Nordic Asylum Law & Data Lab at the University of Copenhagen; participate in international conferences, courses and meetings relevant to their research project;
  • Comply with the formal requirements of the PhD programme;
  • Contribute to teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in Danish or English offered by the Faculty of Law;
  • Conduct independent and high quality research under the supervision of a senior member of academic staff at the Faculty.

Application procedure
Click ’Apply now’ below to be taken to the online application form.

We advise you to have the following documents ready before you begin your online application:

  • Research project proposal: This should include the following: (1) objective(s) of the research, (2) major research questions, (3) review of relevant literature, (4) methodology to be applied in the research, and (5) a timetable that plans for all course requirements to have been met within three years. The project description must elaborate on the value of the proposed research project in terms of its relevance to existing and future research in the field. It is recommended that the project proposal does not exceed 6 A4 pages (excluding bibliography). The document must be in Times New Roman, font size 12, spacing 1.5 with all margins (right, left, top and bottom) set to 2 cm
  • Curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages).
  • Diplomas and transcripts: Certified copies of original diploma(s) and transcripts (both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree) in the original language and an authorized English translation if they are issued in other language than English or Danish.
  • Grading scale: A certified explanation of grading scale in the original language and an authorized English translation if it is available in another language than English or Danish.
  • Letter of motivation: Explain the choice of the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen as a host institution for the proposed project and outline how the project fits within the research priorities at the Faculty (maximum 1 page).
  • Documentation of English level: Documentation of English level can for instance be documented by an excellent IELTS or TOEFL test.

Submit your application electronically in English.

University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society and therefore encourages all interested parties regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

Recruitment process
Following the application deadline, the Associate Dean of Research will pre-select applications that will proceed to the assessment stage upon the recommendation of the Selection Committee. Applicants are pre-selected for further assessment in line with the Faculty’s recruitment needs as described in this job advertisement. This is carried out based on the overall assessment of the applicant’s educational qualifications, the quality of the submitted research proposal and its relevance to the Faculty’s research agenda, and other relevant qualifications (e.g. relevant professional experience, any previous academic publications etc.). All applicants are then notified by the HR Centre as to whether their application has proceeded to the assessment stage. The assessment is carried out by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants will be notified of the composition of the assessment committee. When the committee has completed its assessment, each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the assessment. A number of qualified applicants will be invited for an interview.

Terms of employment
Successful candidates will be employed in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations and the Ministry of Finance concerning the salary of PhD students. If you are offered a PhD position, you will receive a regular monthly salary in accordance with Danish law and you will be entitled to an annual research budget. The Faculty does not provide accommodation.

If you are offered the position a certificate of criminal record must be submitted.

General information about the PhD programme and the requirements can be found here:

Additional Information
For questions regarding the research project, please contact Postdoc William Hamilton Byrne,

For practical questions, please contact HR South & City Campuses, Please refer to ID 211-1171/22-2H.

Closing date for applications
The closing date for applications is 29 September 2022, 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Likewise incomplete applications (i.e. without all required documents) will be rejected

The Faculty of Law is one of six faculties at the University of Copenhagen. The Faculty carries out research, education and knowledge dissemination within the area of law. Research is partly organized in research centres and groups with focus on thematic areas of interest. The Faculty employs about 105 researchers and approx. 60 PhD students as well as approx. 70 administrative staff members. In addition, approx. 400 part-time lecturers teach on the legal programmes on which approx. 4,500 students are enrolled. See the Faculty website: for more information.APPLY NOW

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 29-09-2022

Employment start: 01-01-2023

Department/Location: Det Juridiske Fakultet

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