Ioana Bratu

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Ioana Bratu is an Assistant Professor in Space Law at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She has introduced space law as a new area of law part of the educational curricula offered by the Law Faculty, and she acts as the lead of all academic activities involving space law and space policy at VU Amsterdam. 

She is the Co-Director of Amsterdam Law & Technology Institute and the Founder of AI ∞ Space Law Society

She is also an Elected Member of the Works Council at both university and faculty level. 

She served as a supervisory Board Member of the VU StartUp Hub in 2022 - 2023. 

Ioana Bratu actively advocates for the integration of space law in educational curricula, due to the following main arguments: 

As human activities expand beyond Earth, the legal complexities in space will inevitably increase. This expansion necessitates a new generation of legal professionals who are well-versed in space law to navigate these uncharted territories. By incorporating space law into curricula, universities can better prepare students for emerging legal careers in the space industry, academia, governmental space agencies, NGOs etc.

The study of space law raises awareness about the preservation of the space environment and the ethical implications of space activities. This is crucial in promoting sustainable and responsible use of outer space, ensuring its viability for future generations.

The importance of space law in fostering international cooperation should not be neglected. The exploration and use of outer space require collaborative efforts and understanding among nations, in the spirit of the Outer Space Treaty, the "constitution" of space law. Studying space law helps future lawyers and policymakers understand the intricacies of international treaties and agreements, enabling them to contribute effectively to global dialogues on space issues.

The study of space law also enhances understanding of international and national security concerns. With the increasing potential of space becoming a domain for military activities, knowledge of space law is essential in advising governments and international bodies on legal frameworks that prevent the militarization of space and promote peace.

At the same time, space law education is vital in protecting the interests of smaller nations and private entities in space. As space becomes more accessible, ensuring equitable access and preventing monopolization by a few powerful entities is crucial. Educating legal professionals in space law equips them to advocate for fair and equitable use of outer space, ensuring that its benefits are shared by all humanity.


Ioana Bratu's research focus includes: liability for damage caused by space objects; international and European governance and regulation of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); the synergy "Artificial Intelligence in Space" (e.g., governing space law in the age of artificial intelligence); space security; warfare; and the sustainable development of space (SDG 18). 

Her PhD, Charting the uncharted waters: non-contractual liabilities for damage caused by GNSS-enabled artificial intelligence. Legal challenges in international space law and European tort law, represents the first PhD in space law defended at VU Amsterdam and, internationally, the first research addressing the emerging intersection between the laws governing human activities in outer space and the opportunities and challenges posed by the adoption of artificial intelligence. The thesis was defended at VU Amsterdam; supervisors: Arno R. Lodder, Frans von der Dunk; PhD Committee Members: Jan Willem Sap, Mahulena Hofmann, Steven Freeland, P.J. Blount, Christiana Markou. 

She is currently working on a new research project related to space security and sustainability, analysing how the two concepts are interrelated—a novel approach that aims to fill the literature gap in the field. In parallel she is particularly interested in the concepts of "weaponization", "militarization" and the applicable legal rules to "warfare" in outer space as well as the increasing dependence of humanity on critical space technologies, alongside corresponding risks and opportunities.  



In 2020, Ioana Bratu successfully secured a multidisciplinary grant from NUFFIC: CYBER Project 2020 - 2022, OKP-10049 awarded for strengthening the capacity, knowledge, and quality of cyber security education in Indonesia. 

She was involved in drafting the application and in the implementation of the project. 



Ioana Bratu is a Doctor in Law. In addition, she holds an Executive MBA from Vienna University of Economics and Business. 

Before joining VU Amsterdam she worked as a qualified (European) attorney-at-law for 10 years. She practiced law in international law firms (Allen&Overy and Wolf Theiss) and as a founder of her own boutique law firm. She also acted as legal advisor part of international in-house legal departments and NGOs.

Her activity included, for example, advising more than 300 international companies, consortia and individuals on a range of law matters: corporate and business law, IT law, tort law, real estate due diligence processes, retail commercial agreements, joint ventures, asset deals, M&A, design, construction, O&M agreements, legal enviromental obligations of oil&gas companies, regulatory aspects of renewable energy projects, in-house policy implementation, employee's rights and obligations, settlements negotiation, diversity & inclusion internal policies, legal advice on EU law and conflict of laws etc.  



Law and Governance of Outer Space Technologies (creator and coordinator), Master 

Governance and Regulation of Emerging Technologies (coordinator) Bachelor

Multidisciplinary AI Academy (creator and coordinator), Summer Course on Space Law & Artificial Intelligence 

Guest Lectures on: Governance of Artificial Intelligence, Liability Aspects of Artificial Intelligence, Space Law, Intersection of Artificial Intelligence with Space Law, Outer Space Technologies, Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects   

Supervision of Bachelor and Master Theses 


Ancillary activities

  • Paris Cité Université | Paris | Affiliate | 2024-03-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Academic qualification

Law, PhD, Charting the Uncharted Water: Non-Contractual Liabilities for Damage Caused by GNSS-enabled Artificial Intelligence, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

1 Nov 20192 Feb 2024

Award Date: 2 Feb 2024


  • K Law
  • space law
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • tort law
  • space liability


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