PhD Candidate in Standards for Quantum Applications in Finance (0,8 - 1,0 fte)

Research / Academic

Research project
The proposed project aims to develop a better understanding of lawmaking processes surrounding quantum technologies, focusing on the regulation of quantum applications in finance as a key example of transnational lawmaking processes. Applications in finance may include trading algorithms, anti-money laundering techniques, FinTech and decentralized finance, or other areas where technological advancements are applied.

Scientific background
The project will examine the role of private rulemaking, in particular through standardization, as an instrument for ‘lawmaking beyond the state’. Characteristic of lawmaking in relation to new technologies that can be applied globally is that private regulators, rather than state legislators, are often the first to introduce new rules. ‘Private rulemaking’ here includes rulemaking by dedicated standardization bodies such as ISO, CEN, CENELEC, and private standard-setting bodies such as ISDA, ICMA and the UK Financial Market Standards Board (FMSB); but also rulemaking by means of contractual agreements between producers of technological applications, users, and third parties. These lawmakers can be faster as they are closer to the market and therefore have specific expertise and an awareness of when new regulation is needed. Also, their regulatory procedures are faster as they do not have to comply with the legislative procedures required for public lawmaking by the state.

Although private regulation has the advantage of expertise and expedition, it also has pitfalls. For example, standardization has been criticized for reinforcing extant interests of producers, as the power relations between representatives on standard-setting bodies are often not equal. Producers will often have more lobbying power than other stakeholders, such as consumer organizations. It is important, therefore, in situations where standardization is used as a regulatory instrument to determine the conditions that it would need to fulfil in order to obtain legitimacy. One aspect of legitimacy could be the voluntary adoption and use of standards by its addressees. Besides that, the substance of standards can be subject to checks and balances in the form of interaction with other sources of law that either directly or indirectly affect their content. In relation to ‘lawmaking beyond the state’ those checks and balances would consist of an interaction between state law, European and international legislation, and rule of private regulation. That has in recent years increasingly been conceptualized as a legal pluralist constellation of lawmaking (albeit that legal pluralism itself has various forms and theoretical definitions).

Research objectives
The proposed project will aim to answer the question: In which ways can standardization contribute to designing a regulatory framework that facilitates the introduction of quantum applications in finance, with safeguards for the protection of investors, financial market stability, and individual privacy rights?

The outcomes of the project can potentially be generalized to other areas in which quantum applications are being developed, in particular to fields in which private actors tend to be at the forefront of rulemaking. The project is intended to be based at Leiden Law School (as a collaboration between the departments of Civil Law, Financial Law and eLaw) and will be connected to other projects in the Quantum Delta NL network.

Supervision of the project will be undertaken by Prof. Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, Prof. Vanessa Mak and Dr. Ebbe Rogge. The PhD-researcher will be based at Leiden Law School and will benefit from being part of the private law research group ‘Coherent Private Law’, as well as the support and training offered through the graduate school and PhD Dean’s office.

Key Responsibilities


Your profile

  • A completed master degree in the field of law, with a specialization in private law;
  • Affinity with or an interest in financial law and/or law & technology;
  • Excellent research qualities, demonstrated for example by written work such as a master thesis or research paper;
  • Excellent command of English (other languages, especially Dutch are an asset);
  • Excellent communication and personal skills, and enthusiasm for working in a team;
  • Organisational skills and an ability for time-management, enabling timely completion of the PhD thesis.

Salary Benefits:

The PhD candidate will be embedded in the Institute for Private Law, and supervised by researchers within Civil Law, Financial Law and eLaw. This will provide the unique opportunity to directly gain from the expertise within these departments. Also, it is possible to work together with other junior and senior researchers from these departments who are working on closely related projects. All the departments have outstanding reputations and extensive networks in their fields. This position is just one of the examples of how Leiden University fosters interdisciplinarity within its faculty to perform groundbreaking research on law and new technologies. Moreover, a good work-life balance is important, whereby there is flexibility to combine work with other responsibilities.
The project is part of the Quantum Delta NL network.

Our faculty
With over 6500 students and 650 members of staff, Leiden Law School is one of the largest faculties in The Netherlands. Yet, in all its diversity, it is still known for its ability to provide education on a small scale. The Faculty focuses on multi-faceted and high-level teaching and research, both nationally and internationally. It does so by working with talented people, and stimulating and supporting them in their professional and personal ambitions. The Faculty is housed in the beautifully restored Kamerlingh Onnes Building on the Steenschuur in Leiden. Working for the Leiden Law School means working in an inspiring scientific environment.

We offer
This is for a full-time position initially for one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended by a further three years. The salary range is from € 2770 to € 3539 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). As a result of the current Collective Labour Agreement negotiations the salary will very likely be increased considerably in the near future.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses, we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive. We therefore especially welcome applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Work Hours:

32 - 40 hours per week


Rapenburg 70