Ph.D. positions in law (IP, antitrust, privacy, Internet law, legal tech)

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Center for Law & Economics is home to about 60 researchers and research assistants from the law, economics, political science, computer science, and data science.  The Center participates in the international discourse on applying quantitative social science methods to the law. At the Center, the Intellectual Property Group (Prof. Stefan Bechtold) invites applications.

Project background

We conduct empirical and experimental projects in intellectual property, antitrust, privacy, Internet law, legal tech, and related areas. For example, we:

  • investigate the implications of the EU's Digital Market and Digital Services Act, and
  • analyze privacy policies and terms of service, both using empirical methods

Job description

In our group, PhD students conduct internationally oriented fundamental research. PhD theses consist of three to four papers, are written in English, and always include an empirical or experimental component. We organize comprehensive training for legal PhD students in social science methods during their first year at the Center. This may include courses in economics, political science, and/or statistics at ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, the Study Center Gerzensee, or international summer courses. PhD students usually take three to four years to finish their thesis. Since we want you to be able to focus on your own research and thesis, our PhD positions come only with limited organizational or teaching duties. We provide close supervision, guidance, time and resources for you to develop as a new scholar in the field.

Your profile

  • You are looking forward to applying quantitative empirical or experimental methods to intellectual property, antitrust, privacy, Internet law, legal tech, or related areas. While we appreciate it if you already have some formal training in these methods, we are also interested if you are highly motivated to learn these methods.

  • You feel that your enthusiasm and your law degree (master, J.D., state exam etc.) provide you with a sound basis to pursue a PhD as a next step of your career.

  • You are interested in writing a paper-based dissertation in English.

  • You are excited to join an international and interdisciplinary group that spans many topics and fields.

Your workplace

Your workplace




We offer

At the Center for Law & Economics, we maintain close contact with leading scholars in our fields across the globe. Throughout the year, we organize various seminar series and conferences. These events create rich opportunities for you to meet and exchange ideas with discourse-shaping researchers from all areas of law & economics. Our broad network opens attractive career prospects. We offer an internationally competitive salary (based on ETH standards) and comprehensive benefits (from health insurance to family well-being and paid time off). In addition, we provide support for attending multinational conferences and workshops as well as research stays abroad. Our offices are in the city center of Zurich, and the working language is English. We envision a starting date in the summer or fall of 2023, but are flexible.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application until January 15, 2023, with the following documents:

  • a cover letter (2 pages max; please describe your familiarity with quantitative or experimental methods in the letter),
  • your CV, 
  • your university transcript with exam grades, and a
  • short description of your research interests (2 pages max). If you are particularly interested in collaborating on our empirical projects (1) analyzing the implications of the EU's Digital Market and Digital Services Act, or (2) analyzing privacy policies and terms of service, please describe your interest. We are, however, also interested in you if you would like to focus on other topics.

Feel free to list two to three references, although this is not required for your application. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Would you like to receive more information about the IP group and about being a PhD student in the group? Feel free to check out our websites (ip.ethz.ch and ip.ethz.ch/teaching/phd.html) and attend the CLE Hiring Event on December 8, 2022, from 3:00 to 4:15pm (Zurich time). Do you have questions about the projects or our Ph.D. positions? Please reach out to Prof. Stefan Bechtold via email (sbechtold@ethz.ch).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application until January 15, 2023, with the following documents:

  • a cover letter (2 pages max; please describe your familiarity with quantitative or experimental methods in the letter),
  • your CV, 
  • your university transcript with exam grades, and a
  • short description of your research interests (2 pages max). If you are particularly interested in collaborating on our empirical projects (1) analyzing the implications of the EU's Digital Market and Digital Services Act, or (2) analyzing privacy policies and terms of service, please describe your interest. We are, however, also interested in you if you would like to focus on other topics.

Feel free to list two to three references, although this is not required for your application. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Would you like to receive more information about the IP group and about being a PhD student in the group? Feel free to check out our websites (ip.ethz.ch and ip.ethz.ch/teaching/phd.html) and attend the CLE Hiring Event on December 8, 2022, from 3:00 to 4:15pm (Zurich time). Do you have questions about the projects or our Ph.D. positions? Please reach out to Prof. Stefan Bechtold via email (sbechtold@ethz.ch).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.