Bernadette Zelger

Dr. Bernadette Zelger, Mag iur, Dr iur (Innsbruck), LLM (Queen Mary University of London),  Postgraduate Diploma (Kings College London) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of European law and Public International law at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Bernadette is a former fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and visiting academic at the Institute of European and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. She was appointed as Max Planck fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munich) and as Emil Noel fellow at the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice at NYU Law School (academic year 2023/24), NYC. Before Bernadette stepped into academia, she gained professional experience in London (QMUL), Brussels (European Commission) and was trained as a lawyer in Vienna where she obtained her qualification (bar exam 2014). Her research focus lies with EU Internal Market Law, EU Competition Law, EU State Aid Law, EU Data Protection Law and EU Economic Constitutional Law, with a special focus on digitization and the challenges related thereto as well as to other challenges of the 21st century (e.g. climate change et al). Moreover, since the  beginning of her academic career, Bernadette has published extensively in peerreviewed journals (inter alia Common Market Law Review, European Competition Journal, Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, Europarecht EuR, European Yearbook of International Economic Law, Global Privacy Law Review, European State Aid Law Quarterly etc) and been a speaker at various different national and international conferences. Her monograph Restrictions of EU Competition Law in the Digital Age The Meaning of Effects in a Digital Economy was recently published in the Springer book series Studies in European Economic Law and Regulation.


Research Project

The EU Social Market Economy in the Digital Age. I aim to expand the areas of EU and International Economic law which form my research focus to comprehend from an as holistic perspective as possible the interplay and necessary balance between an economic constitution on the one hand, and other aspects and dimensions necessary in a democratic society to be taken account of (i.e. social, environmental aspects etc) on the other hand. Doing so, however, I will maintain to scrutinize identified issues from an EU Internal Market law and EU Competition law lens. Moreover, I also have a special interest in the impact of digitization and the societal challenges related thereto and the role of the law, as a tool to combat and face these challenges. Hence, the interplay and role of digitization and 2 our legal framework (shaping and securing the functioning of our democratic societies, liberal markets etc) as regards future societal developments influenced by technology falls within my research interest. Take, for example, the role of algorithms in the area of competition law where the latter were identified as a potential means to foster collusion as well as the technology of the internet as such with its being prone to the business model of online platforms that has arguably altered the functioning of traditional markets. All these developments have an impact on society by affecting not only markets but also other fundamentals warranting the functioning of the latter (e.g. opinion forming and the role of Google as regards the right to be forgotten in EU data protection law). Moreover, I am also interested in the general function and capacity of law with respect to the establishment and functioning of the EU Internal Market (via the EU fundamental freedoms and the competition provisions) as well as its interplay with other rules and considerations, such as social, constitutional and environmental aspects.