EU funding for research in digital trade law

Dr. Mira Burri has become the first researcher at the University of Lucerne to receive a grant from the European Research Council (ERC). With this grant in the amount of 1.6 million euros, she will investigate the effects of the data-driven economy on international trade law.

Mira Burri conducts research on global trade law.

The research project entitled "Trade Law 4.0" is scheduled to run for five years. Mira Burri will be supported by a team of one postdoctoral and two doctoral fellows.

Global trade law reform

Data and data flows have become an engine of growth and innovation in contemporary economies. Although cross-border data flows are a relatively recent phenomenon, they already generate more value than traditional trade in goods. At the same time, they pose a number of challenges to trade law and policy and call for an apt balance between free information flows on the other hand, and the protection of privacy and overall national sovereignty, on the other.

The project by Mira Burri, which is supported by an ERC Consolidator Grant, is set against this backdrop and will pursue research in three interrelated areas to: (1) enhance our understanding of the implications of digital disruption for trade law and vice versa; (2) boost our toolkits for reconciling economic and non-economic objectives, and ultimately, (3) suggest design for trade law that can be sustainable in an environment of technological change.

Enabling innovation and protecting fundamental rights

Mira Burri sees the funding as a recognition of her scholarly achievements so far. The grant is also a clear sign of the critical role of global trade law in regulating the data-driven economy. "I hope that over the next five years we can actively contribute to recognizing the potential as well as the limitations of trade law as a governance toolkit that can enable further digital innovation while at the same time protect the fundamental rights affected by the digital economy", stated Mira Burri.

This success should motivate other researchers

The funding for Mira Burri’s project is the first award of the European Research Council for the University of Lucerne. Prof. Dr. Alexander Trechsel, Prorector Research, explains: "For the research of the University of Lucerne, Dr. Mira Burri’s ERC Consolidator Grant is a great success". It gives Mira Burri the opportunity to advance groundbreaking research at the international level, said Trechsel. This success should motivate other researchers to base and implement their projects in Lucerne.

Contributions from the ERC Consolidator Grants support excellent researchers in their already independent careers. This year, grants of 655 million euros were awarded to 327 projects, including 21 from Switzerland.