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Since fall 2017, I am a PhD researcher at the Law Department of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. My area of expertise is international economic law with a particular focus on the field of business and human rights. 

In my doctoral thesis, I analyse the role of EU and national law in facilitating business respect for human rights through so-called human rights due diligence processes. Business respect for human rights describes hereby the expectation of society towards economic actors to consider the fundamental rights of others throughout their business activities. In order to meet this expectation, international soft law requires companies to apply human rights due diligence. Thus, enterprises must take the necessary steps to prevent and mitigate any negative impacts of their business activities on human rights. Such negative impacts can be child labour in a company’s supply chain or business relations with criminal organisations. 

In the past five years, the human rights due diligence approach has gained more and more recognition – also in the field of business law. On the EU as well as the national level, there is an increasing set of laws which intend to promote or require human rights due diligence practices. Following up on this development, my PhD project evaluates the different laws and their regulatory approaches in order to determine their prospects and limitations.

Academic background

In 2016, I graduated from the University of Bonn by passing the First German State Examination in law (Erstes Staatsexamen). Hereafter, I completed a Master in Comparative, European and International Law (LL.M.) at the European University Institute. 

In the course of my PhD research, I participated in several summer schools and PhD workshops on business and human rights including the PhD course ‘natural resources and human rights: impacts, conflicts, benefits, stakeholders and governance’ hosted by the Copenhagen Business School, the winter academy ‘Doing Business Right – Corporate Social Responsibility in Transnational Law and Practice’ organised by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague, and lastly the summer school ‘Business and Human Rights: Interdisciplinary Challenges and Opportunities (BHRICO)’ at the University of Zurich.

Academic teaching and conferences

As a PhD researcher, I am engaged in academic teaching and conferences. In April 2019, I gave a guest lecture at the Copenhagen Business School on the EU Regulation on (so-called) conflict minerals. Furthermore, I had the chance to present my research at the 2019 Business and Human Rights Young Researchers Summit hosted by the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. In July 2019, I taught three lectures at the Summer School on Business and Human Rights organised by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, Sweden.