Prof. Dr. Anna Gerbrandy (PI)
Prof. dr. Anna Gerbrandy is professor of Competition Law at Utrecht University. In 2009 she defended her cum laude dissertation on 'Convergence in Competition law'. Her current research focus lies on foundations of competition law and more specifically the power of Big Tech companies, their influence on markets and democracy, and competition law's answer. In the summer of 2019, she received an ERC grant to do research on this topic.
In the course of the ERC Modern Bigness project, Anna holds leadership over the research team, including supervising the PhD candidates. Her substantive contribution to the project aims to fully develop the notion of Modern Bigness, develop a multifaceted normative framework for the project, and to answer the overarching research question of the project: can and should European competition law tackle the challenges of Modern Bigness?
Pauline Phoa LL.M. (Post-doc)
Pauline Phoa joined the MOBI-project in December 2020 as post-doctoral researcher. She holds Master’s Degrees in Law (LL.M.) from Utrecht University and Columbia Law School in New York (USA). Before starting her PhD research in Utrecht, Pauline has worked as a legal assistant at the General Court of the EU in Luxembourg (2008-2010), as a lawyer in EU and international law at a law firm in Amsterdam (2012-2014), and as EU law advisor for ECJ litigation team of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (2014).
Pauline’s PhD research focuses on developing a novel approach, drawing upon hermeneutic philosophy, for uncovering and understanding the EU legal narratives at play in the EU Single Market and EU fundamental rights protection. Her research for the MOBI-project will focus on platformisation in the agri-food sector.
Viktorija Morozovaite LL.M. (PhD)
Viktorija Morozovaite completed her LL.B. studies at the University of Aberdeen and her LL.M. at Utrecht University, where she specialised in Law and Economics. After graduating, she has been involved in teaching at both bachelor and master levels, as well as coordination of the annual summer school ‘European competition law and economics: cartels and other evils’.
Viktorija’s PhD research focuses on novel hypernudging strategies used by digital platforms to steer their users towards commercial transactions or other non-market outcomes. As giant tech platforms are central to users’ experiences online, they also regulate their behaviour by reassembling their choice environments. Through extensive collection of users’ data and the use of dynamically personalised business strategies such as hypernudging, platforms may harness users’ cognitive limitations in the quest to achieve profit-driven goals. In her research, Viktorija examines the emerging challenges of hypernudging in relation to article 102 TFEU that is concerned with curbing abusive market power.
Lisanne Hummel LL.M. (PhD)
After completing her BSc in International Business Administration at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, her LL.B. at KU Leuven in Belgium and her LLM in Law & Economics at Utrecht University, Lisanne Hummel worked in the financial sector as a legal counsel for several years. In August 2020 she left the financial sector and started her PhD at Utrecht University.
Her PhD research focuses on disruptive technologies in relation to the power of Modern Bigness and the (possible) response of European competition law.
Laura Frederika Lalíková LL.M. (PhD)
Laura Frederika Lalíková completed her LL.B. in International Civil Law at National University of Ireland, Galway, and her LL.M. in European Law at Utrecht University. Before joining Utrecht University as a PhD candidate, Laura worked as a research assistant at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg, where her research focused on the topics of EU agencies, EU administrative law, and EU economic and fiscal policy coordination.
Laura’s PhD research will focus on whether and how access to platforms can and should be secured by using the European competition law’s essential facilities doctrine, and/or by drawing upon public utility theory.
Carla Farinhas LL.M. (External PhD)
Carla Farinhas holds a degree in law (Licenciatura) from the University of Lisbon. She also obtained a Master of European Law (LL.M.) from the College of Europe, Bruges. Between 2013 and 2018, Carla served as a law clerk (référendaire) at the Court of Justice of the European Union. Carla is a member of the Portuguese Bar Association.
Carla’s research project focuses on the European Commission’s power to order interim measures in competition law proceedings against Big Tech.
Jan Polański, LL.M. (External PhD)
Jan Polański is a 2014 graduate of Utrecht University’s Law & Economics LL.M. programme. Since 2015 he has served as an antitrust enforcer at the Polish Competition Authority, dealing primarily with collusion cases. He also completed a traineeship at the European Commission’s DG COMP, where he worked on antitrust cases in payment markets.
Jan’s PhD research focuses on analysing whether competition law can be effectively used to address possible negative effects of Modern Bigness on the flows of information in markets. His dissertation attempts to put the issue of undisturbed information flows within a broader context of the marketplace of ideas and competition law serving as a form of a ‘check and balance’ mechanism on private economic power.
The research aims at verifying whether modern competition law, which puts much emphasis on consumer welfare, is capable of dealing effectively with the actions of economic actors which affect efficiency (e.g. free flow of commercial information) and non-efficiency (e.g. free political speech) interests of individuals in their capacities as consumers and citizens, insofar as these interests are associated with exchanging or communicating information.
Muriel Motaleb (Student assistant)
Student assistant for the ERC project Modern Bigness.
Honours Student Utrecht Law College.