Report ATLAS Agora 2021

Foto van ATLAS Agora 2021

From 24th of June – 30th of June, Erasmus Graduate School of Law hosted the ATLAS Agora. The Agora is an initiative of the Association of Transnational Law Schools (ATLAS) that brings together talented doctoral students in the field of law from different member universities from around the world since 2006.

Normally the ATLAS Agora is organized in person, but due to the COVID-19 situation, ATLAS took place online. This year, 23 doctoral students from seven law faculties in six countries attended the Agora to discuss the most diverse range of topics related to transnational law and regulatory responses to globalisation, such as to indigenous rights, environmental law, immigration law. As diverse as the topics were, there was also a common denominator; all participants wanted to learn more about this year's theme of the summer school: Empirical Legal Research. This theme was provided by Prof. Peter Mascini and co-organisers Wilma Puper (EGSL) and Josje de Vogel (PhD Candidate).

Almost every day of the ATLAS Agora, there were dissertation panels for the PhD candidates to present papers about their research projects, which they submitted prior to the panel. Furthermore, all papers were peer reviewed. The panels were organised in small groups based on the candidates’ topics and were moderated by a senior researcher. The PhD candidates had 10-minutes to present their topic and research approach. After the presentations, each participant received valuable feedback on how to improve their paper. The senior researchers also provided each PhD researcher with oral feedback on their paper. The senior researchers who acted as moderators during the dissertation panels were Prof. Klaus Heine, Prof. Michael G. Faure, Dr. Koen Swinnen, Prof. Karin van Wingerde, Prof. Martin de Jong and Prof. Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko.

Foto van ATLAS Agora 2021 - 2

There were seven lectures during the ATLAS agora, which allowed the participants to learn about Empirical Legal Research. The lectures were very interactive and gave rise to interesting and fruitful discussions between the participants and the lecturers. All lectures were given by ELR experts, namely prof. Peter Mascini, prof. Pauline Westerman, Prof. Michiel Vols, Prof. Christoph Engel, and Prof. Pieter Desmet.

The Erasmus Graduate School of Law was represented during the ATLAS program by three PhD candidates: Melissa de Groot, Francesca Leucci, and Josje de Vogel. The EGSL delegates attended the daily lectures and dissertation panels. Besides these formal opportunities to get to know co-participants, there was an option to network in a more informal way, namely which is a video chat platform that has avatars move around a map. This proved to be a wonderful networking tool and to chat with other PhD researchers and experts.

For more information on the ATLAS Agora, you can look at

Interested in how one of our EGSL participant thought of ATLAS Agora? Read her testimonials below:

Melissa de Groot

  • Foto van Melissa de Groot

    ''Taking part in ATLAS agora summer school 2021 was an excellent experience! I had the opportunity to attend interesting lectures on empirical legal research, present my research to scholars from different universities and receive valuable feedback. Although the summer school was online, there were plenty of possibilities to get to know the other participants, especially during the informal meetings in Many thanks to the organising team for this great opportunity.”

Francesca Leucci

  • Foto van Fransesca Leucci

    ''After more than one year from the beginning of the pandemic, having again the opportunity to get inspired by a full program of lectures and workshops has been extremely thought-provoking and useful. My personal motivation to attend the 2021 Atlas Agora Summer School relied on the fact that it was focused on transnational laws (as object) and empirical legal studies (as method). Various empirical research methods were therefore illustrated through five days of lectures provided by highly competent experts. Moreover, each lecture offered ample room for open discussion and it was followed by workshops where all students could present their research projects, receive feedbacks and learn from the others’ presentations. Networking with the other people (students and professors) was also possible every day by connecting to after the classes. In the end, this unique combination of formal and informal communication made the 2021 online edition highly in line with my expectations. I could meet people from many different universities working on cutting-edge research topics. Particularly, I learned how legal questions can be answered in a more effective way by adopting empirical methods in addition to purely doctrinal approaches. A great experience to develop my research project!''

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