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FRC Researcher is One of the Finalists of the VUB PhD Cup

  • May 22, 2019

On April 24, FRC researcher Júlia Zomignani Barboza, presented her PhD topic in three minutes during the pre-selections of the VUB’s PhD Cup. Júlia’s presentation and the relevance of her research awarded her a place in the finals of the PhD Cup, which will take place on May 27.


The PhD Cup is a competition between VUB PhD candidates in which they present their research in 3 minutes. The best candidates receive training to improve their presentation and get to present their research one more time during the Cup Finals, where the Cup’s winner will be selected. The PhD Cup gives VUB PhD candidates the opportunity to present their work to a broader audience, which requires them to use their public speaking skills to explain their PhD topic in laymen’s terms. During the pre-selections for researches in the human sciences, Júlia presented her research on undesirable but unreturnable migrants.


‘Undesirable but unreturnable’ is a special category of migrants that are considered undesirable in their country of residence because they are deemed to pose a threat to national security, either because of past criminal activities or involvement with armed or terrorist groups. At the same time, the country they are in is forbidden by international law to send them back to their country of origin, as they might be subjected to gross human rights violations there (thus, they are unreturnable). As a solution to this situation, Júlia is proposing a balancing test to find the right balance between the rights of migrants and national security. In this solution, the migrants that fall under this category would stay in their country of residence, but such country would be allowed to limit their rights and freedoms, as long as these limitations represent the least amount of limitations that is necessary and proportionate to mitigate the threat they pose. Once the right balance is established, Júlia will look at whether countries strike such balance in practice.