Standardization and certification are integral part of various research programs of the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT), part of Tilburg Law School. TILT is one of the leading research groups in Europe at the intersection of law, technology, and society. It is premised on the multidisciplinary study of socio-technical change, aiming at understanding the interaction of technology and social and normative practices, in order to clarify how regulatory challenges of socio-technical change can be addressed.
The research projects focus on the legal and law & economics aspects of standardization and certification in a broad field, including ICT, financial services, technical standardization, global trade, data protection, cyber security, energy, product safety, innovation, sustainability, environment and corporate social responsibility. These projects adopt an interdisciplinary perspective that includes empirical approaches, building on theories and methods from the social sciences, amongst other disciplines. The geographical focus of the projects is on the EU and beyond, and include an international/transnational dimension.
Research dimensions include institutional and substantive aspects of standardization and certification, including intellectual property rights aspects (including Standard Essential Patents and the interaction of patent policy and competition), technical barriers to trade aspects, regulatory aspects (including standards as transnational private regulation), governance structures, certification as compliance tool in in data protection and cyber security as well as liability and contracts related issues of standardization and certification. An important part of the research output in these areas stems from a five-year program on standardization, competition and innovation run by the economists and legal scholars of the Tilburg law and economics centre (TILEC).
A key research program in the field of standardization and certification is the ‘Resilience and Evolution of Economic Activism and the Role of Law’ (REVEAL) research project. This project investigates the origins and causes of the dominance of private standard-setting bodies, focusing on their mutability and resilience. The project accounts for dynamic change and evolution in standardization and certification and, also in relation to crisis, in a changing world. It does so by addressing the following research question: what enabling conditions, innate traits and mechanics allow for the transformation, adaptability and resilience of private rule-making bodies amid exogenous regulatory shocks and how does the law perpetuates this dominance? This project develops a multidisciplinary conceptual framework to analyse structures, institutional design and adaptive/resilience strategies in 10 non-public regulatory bodies and their public law counterparts. The project focuses on standardization in key areas of economic activity - financial services and goods & manufacturing. The outcomes are related to a global context, and relevant to EU policy makers as well as national regulators and supervisors .
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Research themes related to standardisation
Standardisation + Personal data protection and cybersecurity
Our research focuses on issues of alignment of international and European standards and specifications with legal requirements, questions of substantive and procedural legitimacy of standardisation stakeholders, good governance principles and the application of Global Administrative Law, and quality of standards.
Standardisation + Artificial Intelligence
Our research focusses on the potential role of standardization and certification as a (self)regulatory tool in these fields, including the role of standards in ensuring compliance with ethical issues.
Standardisation + Resilience in manufacturing
Our research examines theoretically and empirically the dynamic evolution of these standard-setters as well as their rule-making output in relation to specific critical events in their regulatory environment (be it a financial crisis such as the Asian contagion of late 90s and the recent Great Recession, a product safety crisis, a large-scale manufacturing glitch or a pandemic).
Standardisation + Finance
Our research focuses on the regulatory and governance issues associated with privately developed transactional and non-transactional standardization in banking, finance, and payments.
Institutional changes at ETSI since its inception in late 1980s
The project focusses particularly on ETSI’s changes in response to legal and statutory reforms, and perceived regulatory challenges.
Incentives for lobbying at transnational level: A case study of lobbying by associations at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
The project studies lobbying by associations representing bank’s interests at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision after the financial crisis of 2007-8 and examines the impact of this lobbying behaviour on the institutional architecture of the banking standards and vice versa.
Research by TILT
We are one of the leading research groups in Europe at the intersection of law, technology, and society. It is premised on the multidisciplinary study of socio-technical change, aiming at understanding the interaction of technology and social and normative practices, in order to clarify how regulatory challenges of socio-technical change can be addressed.