Prof. Sofia Ranchordás appointed as Full Professor of Administrative Law
Tilburg University has appointed Prof. Sofia Ranchordás as Full Professor of Administrative Law at Tilburg Law School starting from December 1, 2022. Professor Ranchordás’ research within the chair will focus on equal treatment in the digital administrative state.
Sofia Ranchordás' research agenda addresses the automation, datafication, and digitization of government transactions, especially with regard to administrative decision-making and enforcement. In the coming years, she will focus on her recently awarded Vidi project (2023-2028) which touches upon some of the key questions of (Dutch) administrative law in the digital age: the (unequal) relationship between citizens and government and how technology reinforces existing inequalities.
Ranchordás examines the different circumstances that place citizens in a position of vulnerability in relation to digital government. Although digitization and automation aim to promote efficiency, the Dutch Child Benefits Scandal (Toeslagenaffaire) showed that the benefits of digitization are not equally distributed. For many citizens, digitization and automation are a source of anxiety that hinders the exercise of their rights.
Existing rules and principles of good administration still do not take into account the vulnerability of citizens in relation to digital government. Ranchordás aims to shed more light on the legal situation of these citizens and how existing principles and procedures should be adapted to reduce administrative vulnerability.
"With the chair in Administrative Law at Tilburg University, I want to generate more attention to the 'modern' side of this area of law and the pressing problems that vulnerable citizens experience on a daily basis in their interaction with the government," Ranchordás says. "Equal digital participation and equal treatment by a digital government require not only digital skills, good literacy and sufficient information about how systems work but also a new vision of decision-making and good governance. My research agenda has a strong inter- and multidisciplinary dimension and I look forward to new collaborations within the Department of Public Law and Governance as well as with TILT, TILEC and other Schools of Tilburg University."
Geert Vervaeke, dean of Tilburg Law School, is delighted with the appointment of Sofia Ranchordás as the new professor of Administrative Law. "Sofia has proven to be a very talented scholar. I appreciate her multidisciplinary perspective on administrative law with a focus on technological developments. It is also particularly gratifying that her expertise is recognized at home and abroad. Her research further aligns extremely well with two research programs at TLS, Global Law and Governance and Regulating Socio-Technical Change. She is an academic who seeks collaborations with other colleagues and can build bridges inside and outside the Law School. In addition, she knows how to interest students in Administrative Law in innovative ways. I am incredibly looking forward to her contributions in research and teaching and am grateful that Prof. Sofia Ranchordás has chosen to continue her academic career at Tilburg Law School, where she also obtained her PhD."
Sofia Ranchordás (born 1985 in Porto, Portugal) studied law at the Universidade Catolica Portuguesa in Portugal (LLB and LLM, summa cum laude), Law Economics at the University of Utrecht (LLM, cum laude) and obtained her PhD cum laude at Tilburg Law School and the University of Antwerp in 2014 (double doctorate, Prize for Best Dissertation of Tilburg University 2014). She then served as a visiting scholar at George Washington University Law School (2014) and Resident Fellow (postdoc) at Yale Law School's Information Society Project (2015-2016). In 2016, Ranchordás returned to the Netherlands for the position of Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Administrative law at the University of Leiden (June 2016-September 2017) before becoming Associate Professor with ius promovendi (September 2017-December 2020) and Full Professor of European and comparative public law at the University of Groningen(since December 2020). Since 2021 Ranchordás has also been part-time Professor of Public Law, Innovation and Sustainability at LUISS Guido Carli. She has received several awards and grants for her work, including a Niels Stensen Fellowship and fellowships from the Knight Foundation, KNAW, Independent Social Research Foundation, Norwegian Research Council, and NWO Smart Governance. Her scholarship is published with leading law journals and publishers such as Computer Law & Security, Duke Law Journal, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University.
In 2022, she received a Vidi from NWO (800K) for her research on administrative vulnerability and a grant (1M) from the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program- Humanities and Society (WASP-HS) to supervise and conduct research on government automation and vulnerability in Scandinavia for five years as a Guest professor at Lund University (Sweden). Her research has often been cited by both national and international media (Wall Street Journal, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, NRC, RTL News, Diario de Noticias).