Deadline : 31 July,  2019

The International Max Planck Research School for Successful Dispute Resolution in International Law (IMPRS-SDR) is accepting applications for PhD proposals within the research areas of the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution and the Department of European and Comparative Procedural Law to fill a total of 3 funded PhD positions at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law.


Founded in 2009, the IMPRS-SDR offers a multi-national student body the opportunity to examine and compare international dispute resolution from a legal perspective while also considering interdisciplinary, including political, sociological, historical, and economic aspects.

In addition to providing a stimulating research environment, the IMPRS-SDR strives to furnish PhD candidates with first-hand practical insights into the many facets of international dispute resolution.

Following a successful evaluation for the period 2009-2014, the IMPRS-SDR is now in its second funding phase (2015-2020) and currently comprises 24 PhD candidates.

The IMPRS-SDR is a multi-institutional effort by the Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law in Luxembourg, Heidelberg University, the University of Luxembourg, the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

The offer

Selected PhD candidates will receive full-time research contracts of initially 2 years, with a possible extension of up to 12 months depending on the availability of funds, the student’s progress, and the directors’ approval. In addition to being embedded in one of the vibrant Departments and its activities, the PhD candidates will be part of the IMPRS-SDR through which they will receive additional scholarly guidance and take part in events, such as doctoral seminars, master classes, and lectures. PhD candidates will benefit from the productive working environment within an international and creative team of researchers and have the opportunity to establish contacts and networks with all participating institutions as well as visiting academics and practitioners.

The IMPRS-SDR supports and encourages PhD candidates to present their work at national and international conferences and to conduct research stays at a partnering institution and elsewhere. Select PhD candidates will have the opportunity to work in an international dispute settlement institution, such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The MPI Luxembourg will provide a fully equipped office and access to its renowned legal library. Salary and social benefits are provided according to the Luxembourgish legal requirements.

Please be aware that the Max Planck Society does not award doctoral degrees. PhD students must therefore enroll at the University of Luxembourg. Subject to the regulations of the University of Luxembourg, co-tutelles can be arranged with universities outside of Luxembourg. However, the place of work is at the Max Planck Institute in Luxembourg.

Admission Criteria and Application Requirements

The IMPRS-SDR is looking for highly qualified candidates with a strong international focus, with respect to both their experience and area of research, as well as an excellent level of English.

IMPRS-SDR candidates are expected to have graduated in the top 5-10 percent of their university class. They have ideally spent considerable time abroad, as a student or an intern at an international organization or institution, or they have already worked in a field of law that is relevant to the IMPRS-SDR.

PhD candidates are expected to commit to their research project and to collaborate with the colleagues in the Department to which they are assigned as well as their fellow IMPRS-SDR scholars. They should therefore have good social skills and be interested in teamwork and academic exchange.

Applicants are requested to provide the following documents:

    1. Completed application form
    2. A curriculum vitae (CV), including a list of publications (if any);
    3. Copies of law degree / other university degrees / bar exam (if available), including a formal record of university courses, transcripts, and class rank. Documents must be in German or English or accompanied by a certified German or English translation.
    4. A succinct description of the research proposal the applicant intends to pursue (in English, 3 to 5 pages). The proposal should include the following:
      1. a general outline of the topic, including why the applicant considers it to be important;
      2. a description of the state of the art and the applicant’s preliminary work on the topic;
      3. the research question and the specific goals of the research project;
      4. the methodology, including interdisciplinary approaches;
      5. a proposed work schedule including a timeline; and
      6. a bibliography of the key publications on the topic as an Annex (not counting towards the page limit).

The proposal must be structured in such a way as to allow the project to be concluded within two years, unless special circumstances arise which preclude this. Applicants should be aware that their final research project is subject to modification by and agreement with their supervisor.

  1. Two letters of recommendation in German or English by professors familiar with the applicant’s academic legal training. Letters of recommendation should comment in particular on the applicant’s ability to conduct academic research.
  2. Applicants must be fluent in English. Non-native speakers can prove their proficiency by successful completion of legal studies (for example an LLM degree) in an English-speaking country, or through other evidence that shows they possess the requisite level of English. A minimum of 90 points in the Internet Based TOEFL (or IELTS equivalent) is required.
  3. Originals (or certified copies) of the relevant documents (including TOEFL score) need only be provided after the decision on admission has been made

Application and Selection Process

Please apply by 31 July 2019

For more information and to apply, click here. 

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