Tsourdi, E (Lilian)

Lilian Tsourdi is an Assistant Professor of European Union Law and Dutch Research Council grantee at the Law Faculty of Maastricht University, as well as a visiting professor at Sciences Po Paris/Paris School for International Affairs. She is a member of the coordination team of the Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe, the ‘Odysseus Network’. Lilian was previously a Departmental Lecturer in International Human Rights and Refugee Law at the Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford, a Max Weber Fellow at the Law Faculty of the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence; a researcher at the Migration Policy Centre of the EUI, the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and the Centre Charles De Visscher for International and European Law of UC Louvain; as well as an advisor for a Member of the European Parliament. She obtained her PhD from the Law Faculty and the Institute for European Studies of the ULB (December 2016).  

Lilian’s expertise lies in EU and Public International Law with a focus on fundamental rights, asylum and migration. She received two prestigious grants, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship by the European Commission and a VENI grant by the Dutch Research Council for her new research line on EU financial governance. She has published her research widely (e.g. Human Rights Law Review, Common Market Law Review), has co-edited a book Exploring the boundaries of refugee law: current protection challenges (with J.P. Gaucci and M. Giuffré, Brill 2015), and two special journal issues (RSQ 2016; MJECL 2017). Her monograph on the constitutional foundations and administrative governance of the EU asylum policy is forthcoming in Oxford University Press, while she is also currently working on a Research Handbook on EU Migration and Asylum Law (with P. De Bruycker, Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2020). 

Lilian regularly undertakes consultancy for EU institutions and international and non-governmental organisations, and has contributed to the EASO Training Curriculum as a member of the EASO Reference Group on behalf of the Odysseus Academic Network. Upon invitation, she has given numerous lectures and policy presentations (e.g. EUI, NYU, KU Leuven, International Association of Refugee Law judges, European Commission Contact Group Meeting, European Parliament, UNHCR Global Consultations). 

Research Projects

i) Principal Investigator 

NWO VENI grantee (2019-2022: under implementation)

Financial Governance: Policy Implementation and Solidarity through EU funding

Effective implementation and inter-state solidarity remain elusive in migration. EU migration funding could contribute in addressing these problems but is ill-designed. Using an original combination of legal and empirical analysis, this project analyses why, advances knowledge on the multi-level nature of the European administrative system, and formulates proposals for reform.   

Marie Skłodowska-Curie IF Principal Investigator 2018 round (award)

Financial Governance: Policy Implementation and Solidarity through EU funding, awarded by the European Union/Horizon 2020 Program; host organisation: University of Maastricht/MCEL (not implemented due to the concurrent award of a VENI grant) 

One of two Principal Investigators of a ‘UNHCR Small Grant’ (CONS-0000004103), awarded by the Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2011)

II) Scientific Collaborator and core member of the bidding team

LIMA Project’- Personal Aspirations and Processes of Adaptation: How the Legal Framework Impacts on Migrants’ Agency (2015) (fund: Actions de Recherche Concertée; Wallonia Research Council; award close to 900.000 EUR) implemented at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) 

 ‘MADE REAL Project’-Making Alternatives to Detention in Europe a Reality by Exchanges, Advocacy and Learning (2014) HOME/2012/ERFX/CA/4020 (European Refugee Fund/DG HOME, award close to 500.000 EUR) implemented at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

III) Core member of the bidding team

OMNIA Project’-Odysseus Monnet Network for Immigration and Asylum, 565754-EPP-1-2015-1-BEEPPJMO-NETWORK (fund: Erasmus + program, Jean Monnet actions/DG Education and Culture, award close to 300.000 EUR) implemented at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)






In UM, Lilian is currently involved in the delivery of modules of EU institutional law (reduced teaching obligations due to the award of a VENI grant). Since 2016 she co-convenes and co-lectures a postgraduate course on EU asylum and migration law at Sciences Po Paris. Before joining UM, Lilian designed, convened, and taught postgraduate modules on international refugee law and human rights law at the University of Oxford (2017-2019). Lilian has guest lectured at postgraduate level modules in Queen Mary University of London, the University of Turin, the University of Pisa, and the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). She has experience on long-distance learning having designed and co-convened a postgraduate module on EU asylum law for the School of Advanced Study of the University of London (2015-2017). Lilian has taught in specialised summer schools organised by the Odysseus Academic Network at the ULB (since 2014); the Migration Policy Centre at the EUI (2015-2017); and the Department of International and European Law at the University of Athens (2017; 2018). She has trained public officials and practitioners in the framework of activities funded by TAIEX (the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument of the European Commission), the European Council of Refugees and Exiles (‘ELENA’ courses); and the European Joint Masters in Strategic Border Management (University of Salamanca).