Job ID: 238021

Postdoctoral Position in Law: Climate Change, Biodiversity and the Social Contract in the European Union

University of Copenhagen

  • Jun. 21, 2024
  • Postdoctoral Position in Law: Climate Change, Biodiversity and the Social Contract in the European Union
  • Faculty of Law
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Sep. 1, 2024
  • Dec. 1, 2024
  • Post-Doc
  • Law and Public Policy
    Environmental/Natural Resource Law
    Administrative Law
    Law - General

The Center for Climate Change Law and Governance (CLIMA) at the Faculty of Law of the University of Copenhagen is seeking applications for a postdoctoral position in climate change and the social contract in the EU.

The position has an 18-month employment period starting 1 December 2024 and is part of the EU Horizon-RIA Research Project SPECIFY AND PROTECT THE EU SOCIAL CONTRACT (EXPRESS2), which is carried out by a consortium of various universities in the EU.

The overall objective of the EXPRESS2 is to address from a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-sectional perspective, the growing demand for a new, more democratic, inclusive, and sustainable social contract in the EU. The project focuses on identifying and analyzing disruptive elements of the social contract, such as insecurity, populism, climate change, mistrust in institutions, gender discrimination, digitalization, and pandemics. The analysis of these stressors includes both individualized and cross-sectional approaches to cover the plausible relation of multiple disruptors, their concatenation, or the “trigger” effect of a disruptive phenomenon to another. By understanding these disruptive elements and their effects on the social contract, the project will propose concrete measures to ironclad the social contract and it will provide relevant information to protect it from actual and potential disruptions thus we conceive social contracts as incomplete theorized agreements and living documents. In addition to academic, policy, and socio-economic outcomes, EXPRESS2 will propose recommendations to strengthen the social contract's resilience and capacity for further development.

Postdoctoral Position at CLIMA: Climate, Biodiversity and the Social Contract in the EU
Within EXPRESS2, the postdoctoral position at CLIMA aims to shed light on the climate and biodiversity related stressors for the social contract in the EU. The current social contract, which holds the balance between economic and social imperatives, is facing new and deeper divides due to environmental constrains. These constrains refer to the undergoing ecological crisis that produces a new landscape of vulnerable groups and rights and responsibilities of countries, citizens, and stakeholders. The international regulation of two key environmental emergencies, namely global warming, and the decline of Earth’s biodiversity, has made notable advances in the last years through the adoption of goals and targets. In fulfilling the obligations adopted under international legal regimes, the EU has put in place policies and regulations to meet the targets and needs emerging from these evolving international regimes but go beyond into the creation of new economic and social models. The related tight deadlines and targets mentioned above set the EU on a pathway, which implies the rapid deployment of policies and regulation and encompasses a transformation of key societal structures such as energy production and consumption, land use and conservation of natural resources. Such transformations, inevitably, will bring changes to the current social contract in the EU. As a way of example, energy regulation pursuant of climate targets in the EU will modify the industrial landscape in the EU leading to impacts in jobs in traditional energy sources but also, increasing cost on greener goods and services. Conversely, these stressors could provide opportunities to improve life and work conditions if synergies are found and enhance. The project aims to use research methodologies beyond the traditional legal method, specifically, semi-structured interviews with key actors in the EU and selected Member States’ government, agencies and stakeholders.

About the position
We are seeking an enthusiastic and outstanding post-doctoral candidate with a strong interest in environmental and climate change law and EU Law. The ideal candidate must hold a relevant academic degree (in law or in another social science discipline, provided the applicant can also document sufficient knowledge in law), and possess the appropriate theoretical and methodological tools to carry out the research. Crucially, the successful candidate will have the ability to work in a collaborative international environment both independently and as part of the team.

The postdoc will be part the larger research team at CLIMA, which carries out work on climate change and sustainability. The center offers a nurturing, lively and expanding research environment that has developed frameworks that enable researchers to receive feedback on their ongoing work and interact with other researchers in their field.

Applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the faculty’s research areas by visiting the faculty’s website:

The faculty actively supports the effort to learn Danish.

Required qualifications
The position requires academic qualifications PhD, JSD or equivalent degree in law or in another social science discipline, provided the applicant can also document sufficient qualifications in law. All applicants are expected to be able to use English as the working language (written and spoken). Successful candidates will demonstrate a clear potential to deliver high quality peer-reviewed research publications.  

In the overall assessment, emphasis will be placed on the applicant’s research potential. Special emphasis will be placed on the applicant’s ambition to develop and implement new research ideas, which may have an international impact. Furthermore, the Faculty places emphasis on the applicant’s interest and preferably, prior experience, in working with other researchers to conduct collective research and welcomes the applicant’s proven ability to make a valuable contribution in this regard.

Salary and terms of employment
The appointment is temporary and will be made in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (Akademikernes Centralorganisation, AC). In addition to the basic salary, you will receive an annual supplement per month and a total contribution to your pension fund equal 17.1 % of your salary and annual supplement is paid. It is possible to negotiate further salary supplements. 

In addition to the above, the researchers will receive yearly DKK 25,000 research allowance that can be utilized for work related expenses such as books needed to conduct the research, conference fees, research stays etc.

The position includes research and some administrative responsibilities.

Read more about the qualification requirements for postdocs in the ministerial order on the job structure for academic staff at universities 2019.

Letter of motivation, appendices and the submitted research publications (including papers, articles and books), must be written in English. The application will be rejected if not all the required documents are submitted.

It is essential that you fill out all the mandatory fields in the electronic application even though the info is already stated in your CV, application, publication, or other material you may find relevant to upload. The completed fields will be screened during the shortlisting and assessment process and in order to generate your final assessment, which we will send to you after the assessment work is finalized.

The application MUST include the following nine (9) elements:  

  1. Letter of motivation (a one-page document explaining the reasons for applying.)
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Research project. Applications should include a proposal for a research project to be completed during the post-doctoral period. Proposals should be no more than four pages long. The proposal should demonstrate the capacity to develop a postdoctoral project, identifying the relevant methodological tools to achieve the outlined project.
  4. Diplomas, PhD or JSD diploma or alternatively a document showing that the applicant submitted or will submit a dissertation.
  5. Publication list (Complete, numbered list of publications)
  6. Academic references, if available (please upload under “other relevant material”)
  7. A maximum of five (5) scientific publications that the applicant wishes to have included in the assessment, of which no more than one (1) may be a monograph. Applicants, who have written a PhD or JSD thesis or equivalent, must always submit the complete thesis (if the thesis is written in Danish, English, Swedish or Norwegian) and the written assessment of the thesis as a part of submitted publications.
  8. If citing work where the applicant has been a co-author, a co-author declaration, which addresses the applicant’s share of these works, must be submitted. Material that has not yet been published can be submitted. However, please indicate if this is the case.

In addition to the material which the applicant wishes to be included in the assessment, the assessment committee may require further material to assess the applicant. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide such supplementary material, should this be requested.

Application procedure
Upload letter of motivation, appendices and the research publications electronically using the link below. We advise you to have the above-mentioned documents ready before you begin to fill out your online application, and it is essential that all required documents are enclosed.

Applications must be addressed to the Associate Dean of Research and uploaded electronically.

An automatically generated message is sent out acknowledging receipt of the uploaded application.

Applicants will be kept informed about the process of the application procedure on a regular basis via email.

Following the application deadline, the Associate Dean of Research selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the appointments committee. Applicants are selected on the basis of an overall assessment of the applicants that best match the recruitment needs of the faculty as described in this advertisement for the post. This is compared with the applicant's research and teaching profile as set out in the application, CV incl. list of publication, teaching portfolio and any research/development plan. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and when the committee has completed its assessment, each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicants themselves.

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

For further information about the positions, please contact Associate Professor Beatriz Martinez Romera, e-mail:

Further information about the recruitment process is available from HR, e-mail:

The application deadline is 1 September 2024 at 23:59 GMT+1.

Applications received after the deadline has expired will not be accepted.

If your application does not include all the required supporting documents your application can be rejected and not be considered by the assessment committee.


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 135 full time researchers and approx. 60 PhD students as well as approx. 80 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.

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.

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Contact Information

  • Associate Professor Beatriz Martinez Romera
    Faculty of Law
    University of Copenhagen
    Karen Blixens Pl. 16

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