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Recipients Meijers Grants 2023

At least six people are off to a good start of the summer, because they are the recipients of a Meijers grant. For the next few years, these researchers will be able to devote themselves to their PhD research. Let’s meet these new PhD candidates!

More researchers than ever

Every year, Leiden Law School offers a number of Meijers PhD positions to talented researchers. Over the last few years, there were usually two grants available, but this year that has been increased to three. Not only that, but because all departments of the intended PhD candidates were willing to supplement half of the research funds , so-called 'matching', six researchers will be able to start working on their PhD research this year instead of three. 

Who are these researchers and what are their plans?

We asked the fortunate PhD candidates what it means to have secured a Meijers grant and what their research is about.

Heleen Andriessen

Heleen Andriessen
Departments: Labour Law and Constitutional and Administrative Law
Supervisors: prof. B. Barentsen, prof. G. Boogaard

‘For me, this is a unique opportunity to develop intellectually. But it is also a great creative challenge with which I hope to contribute to an important issue in society: legislation on social benefits.’

Perception of people on social benefits
‘My research is about the “human perception” underlying the Participation Act, the law in the Netherlands under which people receive social assistance benefits. Especially since "the groceries affair" [Ed: this was a case where woman receiving social benefits had to repay over 7,000 euros because her mother occasionally went grocery shopping for her] when there has been a lot of talk about this in the media: implementing authorities would view people on benefits as fraudsters. I want to study these different “human perceptions”. Besides these examples, there are many other existing perceptions. I will therefore be talking to people who are involved with the Act in practice. I will also examine the Act itself. With what “human perception” was this Act actually established? Is this compatible with how it is implemented? My aim is to reveal possible contradictions and to acknowledge, refute, or clarify these. And I hope to contribute to future legislation on social assistance.’

Matthijs Appelman

Matthijs Appelman
Department: Tax Law
Supervisors: prof. J. Vleggeert, prof. J. van de Streek

‘This PhD position will allow me to conduct research into a topic of my own choice for a number of years. I’m really looking forward to learning more and acquiring expertise.’

Does the legal concept 'partnership' in law align with reality?

'I am going to conduct research on the concept of “partnership” in the area of tax, the benefits system and social security. The term “partnership” is relevant in many different laws, but in all of them it is defined in a completely separate way. This is remarkable given that most people have one or no partner, and that that choice of partner is usually independent of the law they later face. I want to start looking at the justifications for those different concepts of partner, issues that arise in practice, and possible room for improvement in this legislation.’

Robbert Bruggeman
Department: Constitutional and Administrative Law and the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (Humanities)
prof.dr. A. Meuwese, dr. M. Westera, prof. Y. Schuurmans

‘This PhD position means a lot to me. I’m passionate about administrative law and in recent years have become increasingly interested in digitalisation and the new possibilities arising from artificial intelligence (AI) for administrative law. In 2022, I was already taking courses in the Pre-PhD Programme to eventually write a proposal for a Meijers grant. I’m delighted that it’s now been accepted.’

Artificial Intelligence in government decisions?
'I want to look at how large implementing authorities, such as the IND, SVB and DUO, make decisions and whether it is possible to apply AI in them. Both administrative law and the world of AI are currently undergoing great changes, so that makes it extra fascinating. How do policy rules, decision trees and algorithms currently affect decision-making? Are law and practice still on the same track? And can we apply advanced text analysis tools to decisions in order to promote more people-oriented administrative law? These are the questions I want to address in the coming years.’

Elias Tissandier-Nasom

Elias Tissandier-Nasom
Departments: European Law and Child Law
prof.dr. M.P. Sombroek van Doorm, dr. M.A.K. Klaassen LL.M.

‘Getting this position is a huge achievement for me, and I believe, for the development of queer law. There is a fundamental need to bring attention to the situation of LGBTQIA+ children who are facing an increasingly harsher backlash every day. I hope my research, and the findings it will bring about, might be a starting point in developing a truly protective framework for their process in the asylum system’.

Asylum applications of LHBTQIA+-children
‘In my research, I will be working on credibility assessment of asylum claims lodged by minors on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. In layman’s terms, this means I will be studying the way LGBTQIA+ children are processed in the asylum system’.

Genevieve Noordeloos

Genevieve Noordeloos
Department: Civil Law
prof. V. Mak, dr. G. Veldt

‘For me, this PhD position is a dream come true. Over the next few years I can conduct my own research on a highly challenging issue in society that is also very close to me. After all, every day when I open my closet, it’s staring me in the face!'

Recycling clothing by consumers
'The starting point for my research is that the transition to a circular textile market is a shared responsibility. The central theme is the reuse, repair, and recycling of clothing. Action is needed from both companies and consumers. My research therefore asks how companies can motivate consumers to reuse and repair their clothing. Specifically, I will examine how contract law, as part of the legal framework for sustainable clothing, can facilitate this.'

Joni van Laeken

Joni van Laeken
Department: het Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies
prof. C. Stahn, prof. L.J. van den Herik

‘I’m very honoured and proud. I’ve always been passionate about research and teaching. So, I’m really looking forward to being able to conduct socially and legally relevant research on a topic that is very close to my heart – and at my alma mater! Being able to conduct this research while surrounded by and working together with inspiring experts in their fields, makes this PhD position truly special.’

Do reparation programmes work for victims?

'In my research, I seek to examine the extent to which existing reparations based on international and national reparation programmes enable victims of large-scale atrocities (e.g. genocide or war crimes) to positively change their lives and move forward. This will be done from the perspective of the victims and through comparative analysis.'


Leiden Law School will continue to follow the researchers throughout their projects and will report on their (preliminary) research outcomes.

The jury comprised Cecily Rose (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies) (chair), Harold Koster (Dept. of Business Law), Miranda Sentse (Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology), Jim Been (Dept. of Economics), Tim Lubbers (PhD representative/Dept. of Legal History), Michael Klos (Research Dept./ Dept. of Jurisprudence). 

Photographer of photo at top of article: Ankush Minda via Unsplash.

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