Since 2021, Nicola is the Head of the Department Public Law and Governance at Tilburg Law school. She holds the Chair of Human Rights Law. From 2012-2021, she served two terms as Commissioner at the Netherlands National Human Rights Institute, the official NHRI of the Netherlands (Het College voor de Rechten van de Mens). She is currently member of the Steering Committee of the Netherlands Network of Human Rights Research (NNHRR), Member of the Editorial Board and Executive Editor of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (NQHR) and member of the Human Rights Committee of the Advisory Council on International Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (AIV). Previous memberships include: member of the Board of the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law (KNVIR) and member of the Advisory Committee on Public International Law (CAVV).
Nicola holds a degree in history (MSc) and a LLM in international law. She earned her PhD from Utrecht University.
Nicola's research interests concern the transformations that have occurred in international (human rights) law relating to changes in the relationships between states and markets and changes in the regulatory roles and capacities of NGOs and transnational business corporations. In 2002, Nicola published one of the earlier books on the issue of corporate responsibility for human rights violations Corporate Human Rights Obligations: in search of accountability. Ever since, the consequences at the national and international level of the two dominant faces of globalisation: the expansion of trade beyond borders and the universalising effects of the human rights movement have remained Nicola's core research interest resulting in (participation in) various research projects and multiple publications on the issue.
Nicola currently teaches two courses in the Masters Program 'International and European Law. These courses (in the International Law and Global Governance Track) "Human Rights & Globalization) and "Human Rights & Business".