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Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law

Professor Dr Ralf Poscher
Professor Dr Jean-Louis Van Gelder
Professor Dr Tatjana Hörnle

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law belongs to the Human Sciences Section of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association. There are three research departments in the Institute: the Department of Criminal Law, the Department of Public Law, and the Department of Criminology. The Institute’s research focus includes both basic research and, owing to its interdisciplinary approach to the legal and social sciences, applied research. While the departments are independent of each other, they are linked in terms of methodology and through the selection of research topics, and they complement each other in their different approaches to research and their theoretical perspectives.

Research Areas

Criminal Law

A major focus on the normative foundations of criminal law (such as theories of criminalization, assumptions behind criminal law doctrine and foundational concepts), based on comparative and/or interdisciplinary insights. Criminal politics in fragmented societies and a critical analysis of contemporary policy initiatives are other research areas, as well as gender related issues, for instance in the area of sexual offences or femicide.


Focusing on theoretical innovation (integrated and interdisciplinary development of theory, in particular between contextual and individual-level factors in the explanation of criminal behaviour), methodological innovation and technology (building on criminal decision-making research and the application of technologies such as virtual reality to study crime), and putting crime into practice (connecting theory, innovative methods, and technology to policy and practice).

Public Law

Constitutional law, administrative law, constitutional theory, analytical legal theory, and public security law — especially fundamentals of public security law (theoretical foundations and doctrinal structures), trends (internationlization, digitalization, fragmentation) and challenges (fundamental rights, rule of law, democracy).

Joining the Institute

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law welcomes external scholars for limited research stays in criminal law, criminology, public law, legal theory, and legal philosophy on a temporary basis. There is the possibility for scholars to undertake research leading to a doctorate. You can also join us as a postdoc, senior researcher, or research group leader. 

For further information and application please visit the Institute’s website: https://csl.mpg.de/en/


Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security, and Law

Günterstalstraße 73
79100 Freiburg i. Br.

Tel.: +49 761 7081-0
Fax: +49 761 7081-294


For information on employment opportunities and unsolicited applications:


For information on fellowships:


To enquire about applying as a doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow:

Dr. Carolin F. Hillemanns
Research Coordinator

Tel.: +49 (0)761 7081-320

Dr. Annika Hampel
Recruitment Officer & Talent Acquisition Manager
+49 761 7081-251