24 Nov 2023

SAFE postdoctoral researcher receives a Leibniz Best Minds grant

Lawyer Nikolai Badenhoop to lead a new Leibniz Junior Research Group on “Sustainable Finance Law in Europe”

Following a decision by the Senate of the Leibniz Association, Nikolai Badenhoop, a legal scholar and postdoctoral researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE, has been awarded a five-year grant in the Leibniz Best Minds 2024 Competition to lead a Leibniz Junior Research Group on „Sustainable Finance Law in Europe – Navigating between Regulation, Contractual Practice, Litigation, and Regulatory Competition“. Only three out of 13 applications for a Leibniz Junior Research Group were successful in this competition. The project will begin in January 2024.

The project will analyze financial products advertised as sustainable and focus on four strongly interdependent layers of analysis: regulation, contractual practice, litigation, and regulatory competition. Regulation and contractual practice impact each other, and both are affected by litigation before European and national courts as well as regulatory competition between private and public rule-setters. The project’s combined analysis will help navigate the multi-faceted field of sustainable finance law in Europe. It will add a valuable contribution to the nascent research field of sustainable finance law, as well as informing economic analysis of sustainable finance.

Research project will investigate how to prevent greenwashing

“The law of sustainable finance is a recent phenomenon and a new field of legal research. It governs the link between financial markets and environmental, social, and governance goals. The field has grown significantly over the past decade, which is reflected in a growing economic and legal literature as well as EU legislation on the matter. We will write a comprehensive legal commentary on the core pieces of EU sustainable finance legislation: Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, Taxonomy Regulation, Climate Benchmark Regulation and European Green Bond Regulation. In addition, the project will empirically analyze ESG bonds and funds and investigate to what extent sustainability promises are met and how greenwashing or socialwashing can be prevented,“ explains Badenhoop, adding that he is excited to build a new research group at SAFE and very pleased that his research has received this high recognition by the Leibniz Association.

SAFE Director Florian Heider also welcomes the Senate’s decision: “I’m very much delighted that the project will yield a substantial and highly visible contribution to the field of sustainable finance and green regulation, which are core topics at SAFE. The project will not only contribute to an area of growing academic significance at SAFE but will also boost out institute’s interdisciplinary Law and Finance work”. Moreover, the project’s policy relevance will stimulate the work of the SAFE Policy Center.

Excellent publication and track records

Given his early career stage, Nikolai Badenhoop has an impressive publication record and track record in acquiring third-party funding. His key publications include a monography, four peer-reviewed journal articles in leading European law reviews, two journal articles, three book chapters, two case notes, a study for the European Parliament and a legal commentary. He received, among other grants, a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes) for his studies at Humboldt University Berlin, Sapienza University of Rome and King’s College London, a PhD scholarship from the Protestant Research Foundation (Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst) and the Foundation of the German Economy (Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft), an LL.M. scholarship from the ZEIT Foundation, and a prestigious Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute’s Law Department. 

The Leibniz Junior Research Groups funding program aims at postdoctoral researchers with an excellent track record who are keen to take on a professorship or similar academic role. As leaders of a Leibniz Junior Research Group, they are given the opportunity to pursue their own research projects and establish themselves in their respective fields.

Scientific Contact

Dr. Nikolai Badenhoop

Postdoctoral researcher