ILRP Scholarship Student Conference 2017


The International Law Research Program (ILRP) of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is pleased to announce its Doctoral Scholarship Competition for the 2018-2019 academic year.  The ILRP invites Canadian and foreign students who are enrolling or are currently enrolled in SJD or PhD in Law studies at a Canadian university faculty of law to apply for the CIGI ILRP Doctoral Scholarship.

Introduction to the International Law Program at CIGI
We are the Centre for International Governance Innovation: an independent, non-partisan think tank with an objective and uniquely global perspective. Our research, opinions and public voice make a difference in today’s world by bringing clarity and innovative thinking to global policy making. By working across disciplines and in partnership with the best peers and experts, we are the benchmark for influential research and trusted analysis. The ILRP is a $60-million, ten-year, multi-disciplinary international law research program located at the award-winning CIGI Campus in Waterloo, Ontario, proximate to the Balsillie School of International Affairs. 

The ILRP strives to be the world’s leading international law think tank on international governance, with recognized impact on how international law is brought to bear on significant global issues. Our mission is to seek to connect knowledge, policy and practice to build the international law framework – the globalized rule of law – to support international governance of the future. Our founding belief is that better international governance including a strengthened international law framework can improve the lives of people everywhere, increase prosperity, ensure global sustainability, address inequality and safeguard human rights, and promote a more secure world.

The ILRP’s areas of research focus
The ILRP Doctoral Scholarship is designed to enhance research opportunities for SJD and PhD in Law students who wish to develop expertise in one or more of the ILRP’s areas of research focus and to develop world-class intellectual strength in the areas of international law that are most important to global innovation, prosperity, sustainability and security.

In consultation with public, private, academic and civil society sector experts in international and transnational law, the ILRP has developed a research work plan focused on advancing knowledge and understanding in four vital areas of international law, set out below.  In pursuing its work plan, the ILRP is interested in empirical case studies, analysis of the efficacy of international law regimes, and interdisciplinary research that considers the impacts on human security, rights and development:

  1. International economic law:
  • Legal approaches to sovereign debt resolution, corporate risk mitigation, financial stability and setting international standards for capital markets;
  • Blockchain and distributed ledger technology and its application to international law and governance challenges (e.g. trade and value chains, sovereign debt and financial stability, climate change measurement, country of origin procedures and customs valuation);
  • Trade negotiations and the role of subnational governments;
  • International law dimensions of connecting carbon markets in North America;
  • Investor state dispute resolution;
  • Middle powers and trade in the context of G-20 and G-7;
  • The progressive trade agenda;
  • NAFTA renegotiation;
  • WTO dispute resolution challenges.
  1. International intellectual property (IIP) law and innovation:
  • Assisting the province and federal government to develop their innovation agendas and related approaches to international trade negotiations;
  • Management of IP rights (IP strategy and commercialization);
  • New IP standards in preferential trade agreements (NAFTA, CETA, China, India);
  • Adapting international and domestic legal frameworks for disruptive technologies (AI, big data, blockchain etc.), including internet governance;
  • Developing international law and governance on traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions;
  • Open and collaborative innovation;
  • Geographical indications and trade marks;
  • Creating international and domestic legal frameworks and policies to encourage green/clean technology development and transfer.
  1. International environmental law:
  • Compliance and implementation, technology transfer, internationally transferred mitigation outcomes, the sustainable development mechanism, climate finance and Rules development for climate governance under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;
  • Insurance issues and financial products related to Loss and Damage under the Warsaw International Mechanism;
  • Transition to a low carbon economy including the issues of climate risk and the Financial Disclosure Guidelines from the Financial Stability Board and approaches to decarbonization and sustainable finance; 
  • Climate law and trade law;
  • New and emerging issues in oceans law, including climate action in maritime shipping and oceans climate geoengineering, law and governance to protect biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, and a liability regime in respect of Deep Sea Bed mining.
  1. International Indigenous law
  • Practical aspects of implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Indigenous participation in international trade and treaty making, and how a progressive trade agenda might facilitate Indigenous participation in a global knowledge economy;
  • Building on the Paris Agreement’s “Indigenous and Local Communities Platform”, reimagining Indigenous peoples’ multiple roles in relation to climate change;
  • Indigenous knowledge in a globalized world, how to protect and codify Indigenous knowledge, how to engage Indigenous people in decision-making relating to their knowledge;
  • Exploring the idea of Canada as a plurinational state; re-envisioning of the Canadian constitution in light of a revitalized “nation to nation” or “Crown to Inuit” relationship.

Value of Doctoral Scholarship
The value of the Doctoral Scholarship is up to $56,000 CAD. $24,000 CAD is paid in three instalments of $8,000 CAD in the first year. A doctoral student who has already been awarded a CIGI ILRP doctoral scholarship may apply for renewal in a subsequent year (for a maximum of two additional years) by submitting a summary renewal application. $16,000 CAD is paid per year, in two instalments of  $8,000 CAD for years 2 and 3 of the doctoral scholarship. The value, duration and conditions for each scholarship will be detailed in the letter of offer provided to the successful applicant.

Doctoral Scholarship students are required to spend a four-month period of residency at the CIGI Campus within year 1 of the scholarship. There is no residency requirement for years 2 and 3 of the scholarship. 

The residency requirement provides SJD/PhD in Law students an opportunity to pursue their academic research in a think-tank environment where experienced researchers and senior fellows are studying related issues of international law and to participate actively in relevant CIGI and ILRP scholarly and professional activities. During the residency period, all scholarship students will present their research to the ILRP team for feedback and guidance. Each scholarship student is expected to prepare a CIGI opinion piece related to their research for publication by CIGI. There may be opportunities for scholarship students to publish commentaries on Where logistics permit, scholarship students will have opportunities to participate in workshops and conferences organized by the ILRP that are relevant to their research.

The residency element is flexible and can be adapted to complement the particular doctoral program and doctoral student’s research needs.  A doctoral student may stay longer than four months if space permits and the student’s academic supervisor agrees.

During the period of residency each scholarship student will be provided work and study space as well as access to our library and related research resources.  Each student must provide their own computer; internet and e-mail access will be provided.

Should the need arise, CIGI will provide guidance to students who require assistance finding suitable accommodation for the duration of their period of residency at the CIGI Campus.

Scholarship applications should be received by APRIL 27, 2018 and, except for a summary application to renew a doctoral scholarship, should contain the following:

  1. Statement of Interest, indicating a clearly specified explanation of why you wish to spend a period of residency at CIGI's ILRP;
  2. Research proposal (maximum 1500-words) with a description of your proposed research project related to one of the ILRP areas of focus;
  3. Up-to-date curriculum vitae;
  4. One letter of support from your current/proposed supervisor in your academic program;
  5. Three references, at least two of which are academic references;
  6. A list of previous awards/publications/conference/research experience; and
  7. Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

Summary applications to renew a doctoral scholarship should contain the following:

  1. Student’s letter requesting renewal; and
  2. Letter of recommendation from the student’s doctoral supervisor affirming that the student is making excellent progress in his/her doctoral research.

Please submit all applications HERE (

Selection Procedure
All applications will be assessed by a Scholarship Selection Committee composed of the ILRP Director and Deputy Directors.

Students will be selected based on past academic and work performance, letters of reference, statement of interest, professional goals, and relevance of the student’s research project to the ILRP areas of research focus.

To that end, the Selection Committee will consider the following:

  1. The relevance of the proposed research project to the ILRP areas of research focus
  2. The potential of the student including education, training, experience, and academic achievement (on the basis of transcripts, reference letters, publications and depending on where the candidate is in his/her program, etc.)
  3. The ability of the student to successfully complete the research project;
  4. The qualities of the research project (e.g. originality, clarity, feasibility, suitability of location, and proposed supervisor).

CIGI may cancel the scholarship if the student’s progress is judged unsatisfactory by his or her home institution academic supervisor.

The scholarship may be deferred or interrupted for medical reasons, maternity/paternity leave or on compassionate grounds, conditional upon approval by selection committee. The maximum length of time allowed for deferral will be 12 months.

Medical insurance
Students must obtain adequate medical insurance during their stay at CIGI if relocating from outside the Province of Ontario. Students from Canadian provinces other than Ontario may be eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), the government-run health insurance plan in place within the Province of Ontario. However, all students are required to ensure that they have suitable health insurance either through OHIP or private insurer before taking up residency with the ILRP.