UCLouvain’s JURI (Institut pour la recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences juridiques) is looking for a PhD student (M/F) in Law to work with an interdisciplinary team on a research project relating to the sharing economy.
The PROSEco Project
The project funded by Action de Recherche Concertée programme (ARC) is entitled Platforms Operations and Regulation in the Sharing Economy (PROSEco). In recent years, many innovative sharing economy platforms (SEPs) had a strong impact on their stakeholders: service providers and consumers alike. Platforms change the economy: individuals renting out rooms or driving cars create competition for established hospitality and transport providers (as evidenced by the protests of taxi drivers in cities where Uber operates). SEPs also impact society as a whole: they prompt change in how people plan, travel, meet and eat. Their operation can modify social and economic environment in entire communities (think of Airbnb’s effects on cities’ housing markets and quality of life).
The sharing economy is not only a land of promises but also of great perils. Even fast-growing and global for-profit platforms like Uber are still struggling to make a profit, while the failure rate of startups is higher than in other sectors. Also, many non-profit SEPs fail to stay active. For both types of platforms, the road to success is paved with a number of operational, economic, and legal challenges, which directly stem from their innovative business model.
These multifaceted challenges call for an interdisciplinary approach to answer our overarching research question: How can platforms in the sharing economy deliver long-lasting value for their stakeholders and for society as a whole? Our objective with this research project is to conduct a fine-grained analysis of the implications of the sharing economy, combining researchers from operations research, economics, and law. A more detailed description of the research project can be found here.
For this project, we are hiring three PhD students (one in economics, one in law, and one in operations research) and two postdoctoral researchers (one in economics and one in law).
The successful candidate will conduct part of the legal analysis underpinning the PROSEco project. Issues to be researched will center around Rating &Review (R&R) systems that platforms use: their functioning, pitfalls and how to regulate them. The researcher will also be called upon to contribute to other parts of the project, jointly with other team members. Her/his input will be needed in particular on issues related to price transparency on platform and how data function as a shadow price.
The researcher will be hired full-time for a period of two years, which is extendable to three years depending on a positive evaluation after the first two years. The contract starts in principle on October 1st, 2019 (but some flexibility is possible). In case it is needed, we will help the candidate in finding additional funding. The net salary is of an order of 2000 euros per month. The recruited person benefits from the complete Belgian social insurance scheme (health care, etc.) without additional expenses.
The selected candidate will attend the programme of the doctoral school in law (common to UCLouvain, UNamur, USaint-Louis and ULiège). The program consists of 180 ECTS, divided among the writing, editing and defense of a doctoral dissertation (about 120 ECTS), and research workshops and other scientific activities (about 60 ECTS). The position does not come with any teaching duties, but PhD researchers with an interest in teaching will be invited to participate in courses or seminar.
Hold a strong master's degree in law (including courses covering consumer law, data protection, IP/IT law, competition law and tax law, or at least some of these subjects);
Be fluent in spoken and written English;
Be ready to collaborate with researchers from other disciplines (in particular economics and operations research);
In addition to good knowledge of the law, display a genuine interest for reflexive thinking and the capacity to deal with complex issues.
A complete CV, with a transcript of records.
A short essay (maximum 1000 words) describing your views about the research project PROSEco (a description can be found here) and demonstrating your motivation for the PhD position;
A recommendation letter, to be sent directly by the person recommanding you.
Interested candidates should send their application file by email to Prof. Anne-Lise Sibony (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Prof. Alain Strowel (email@example.com). Applications should be received before July 31, 2019.
For additional information, please contact directly Prof. Strowel or Prof. Sibony by email.