ILRP Scholarship Student Conference

The International Law Research Program is pleased to announce the 2018 SSHRC-CIGI post-doctoral fellowship. This funding opportunity is open to citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Permanent resident status must be obtained, at the latest, by the application deadline. Candidates must apply through the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships competition website.

It is offered as a joint initiative administered collaboratively by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the International Law Research Program (ILRP) of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

Selected recipients (fellows) may be funded jointly by SSHRC and CIGI’s ILRP or solely by the latter in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between SSHRC and CIGI’s ILRP. Based on the source(s) of funding, governing regulations and policies may vary.


Value      Up to $80,500 per year plus up to $18,000 in research allowance
Duration     Between 12 to 24 months

The International Law Research Program (ILRP) of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is pleased to invite applications for post-doctoral fellowships for research in one or more of the ILRP areas of focus, set out below. The ILRP invites doctoral students who are completing their SJD/PhD in Law and those who have completed such a degree in the last two years to apply for these post-doctoral fellowships. The ILRP will be engaging up to four post-doctoral fellows in 2018.

Future Challenge Areas 
Value and Duration 
Application Process 
Evaluation and Adjudication 
Regulations, Policies and Related Information 
Contact Information

About CIGI
CIGI is an independent, non-partisan think tank focused on international law, governance, economics, politics and security. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences. 

About ILRP
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 vision of the ILRP is to strive to make CIGI the world’s leading think tank on global governance and law, with recognized impact on how international law is brought to bear on significant global issues. The ILRP 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. Its 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 post-doctoral fellowship program aims to develop world-class intellectual strength in the areas of international law that are most important to global innovation, prosperity, sustainability and security.

ILRP areas of research focus
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 three 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. In its research, the ILRP is attentive to the emerging interactions between international and transnational law, Indigenous law and constitutional law. The ILRP areas of research focus are the following:

Intellectual property law

  • The management of IP rights to support entrepreneurship in the global marketplace (IP awareness, IP strategy and commercialization)
  • New IP standards in preferential trade agreements (NAFTA, CETA, China, India) and their impact on domestic entrepreneurship and innovation
  • International and domestic legal frameworks to support innovation and business opportunities while addressing the governance challenges of disruptive technologies (Artificial Intelligence, big data, blockchain etc.), and internet governance
  • International law and governance of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions to support domestic entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Open and collaborative mechanisms for innovation
  • Geographical indications and trademarks to support domestic entrepreneurship and innovation
  • International and domestic legal frameworks and policies to encourage green/clean technology development and transfer to support domestic entrepreneurship and innovation

Economic law

  • International trade and investment and, more specifically, WTO dispute resolution challenges, investor state dispute resolution, NAFTA renegotiation, trade negotiations and the role of subnational governments in the negotiation and implementation of international trade agreements
  • Legal approaches to sovereign debt resolution, corporate risk mitigation, financial stability and setting international standards for capital markets, and the potential for Ontario and Canadian leadership in these areas, particularly in light of Toronto’s importance as a financial centre
  • 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), and the potential for Ontario and Canadian leadership in the development, deployment and governance of these technologies
  • International law dimensions of connecting carbon markets in North America
  • Middle powers and trade in the context of G-20 and G-7
  • Canada’s progressive trade agenda and specifically how to bring the opportunities and benefits of trade to a broader population including small business, women, rural populations and Indigenous peoples

Environmental law

  • Compliance and implementation, technology transfer, Article 6 on markets and the sustainable development mechanism under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  • Insurance issues and financial products related to Loss and Damage under the Warsaw International Mechanism
  • Legal approaches to transition to a low carbon economy (e.g. sustainable transportation, technology transfer) for the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2018.
  • Climate and trade law
  • Climate and oceans law
  • Negotiations on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction
  • Oceans and geoengineering law and governance
  • Liability arising from deep sea bed mining

Indigenous law

  • Practical aspects of implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including a new special report on Next Steps in Braiding International, Indigenous and Constitutional law to implement the UN Declaration and a book on the international law and governance challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in implementing the UN Declaration
  • 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 and how to engage Indigenous people in decision-making relating to their knowledge
  • Exploring the idea of Canada as a pluri-national state and re-envisioning of the Canadian constitution in light of a revitalized “nation to nation” or “Crown to Inuit” relationship

Infrastructure and support
During the period of residency each post-doctoral fellow will be provided work and study space in the CIGI Campus building as well as access to our library and related research resources. A computer, telephone, internet and e-mail access will be provided. Financial support for reasonable research-related costs such as travel and conference attendance will be provided.

Residency at the CIGI Campus building will offer post-doctoral fellows an opportunity to pursue policy relevant academic research in a think-tank environment with other experienced researchers and senior fellows who are studying related issues of international law, as well as to participate actively in the ILRP international law research work program and relevant CIGI and ILRP scholarly and professional activities. 

CIGI will provide guidance to post-doctoral fellows who require assistance finding suitable accommodation for the duration of their period of residency at the CIGI Campus.

Value and Duration
CIGI’s ILRP Postdoctoral Fellowships are valued at $80,500 per year plus an accountable research allowance of up to $18,000. These are taxable, non-renewable fellowships, tenable for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 24 months. The award may begin on the first of any month between May 2019 and January 2020.

In order to be eligible for, receive, and maintain CIGI ILRP funding, candidates are expected to meet and follow the eligibility requirements outlined below:

Eligibility to apply
To apply to this funding opportunity, candidates must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada (status must be obtained by the application deadline).

Candidates must also be current SJD/PhD students in Law or have earned such degree no earlier than September 2016 (date all degree requirements were completed, not the date of graduation).

Note: Other related academic backgrounds may be considered in exceptional circumstances. 

The proposed research must meet the ILRP objectives and have a focus on one or more of the ILRP areas of research focus.

Please note that CIGI requires that successful CIGI-SSHRC post-doctoral applicants spend up to 50% of their fellowship time with the International Law Research Program at the CIGI Campus in Waterloo; participate in one or more CIGI roundtables and conferences relevant to their research; and publish policy related summaries of their academic research through CIGI, as 1000-word opinion pieces, 3000-word policy briefs, and 7000-10,000-word CIGI research papers.

Medical insurance
Post-doctoral fellows must obtain adequate medical insurance during their stay at CIGI if relocating from outside the province of Ontario. Post-doctoral fellows 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 post-doctoral fellows are required to ensure that they have suitable health insurance either through OHIP or private insurer before taking up residency with the ILRP.

Post-doctoral fellows are expected to produce a major research project on a topic related to the ILRP areas of research focus, which has been approved by the program director or deputy director. They are also expected to deliver a research plan for their major topic of research, quarterly updates on progress of research, a comprehensive academic report, policy paper and policy brief, and summary and more extensive presentation materials. Additionally, they are expected to participate in the planning and development of related research projects with other ILRP researchers and fellows.  The specific details of the deliverables will be determined in consultation with the program director.

In addition, post-doctoral fellows are required to acknowledge, verbally and/or in writing, their source(s) of funding and the role it has played in their research, in the following cases:

  • media interviews, speeches, and presentations at conferences and workshops;
  • conference or workshop materials, web materials, press releases and other media materials; and
  • submissions to peer-reviewed publications, citing the name of the funding opportunity.

CIGI (and/or SSHRC) may cancel the post-doctoral fellowship if the candidate’s progress is judged unsatisfactory.

Additional requirements
Candidates must also comply with the eligibility requirements, regulations, policies and guidelines set out in the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships funding opportunity description.

Application Process
Before submitting their application, candidates must ensure that they meet the requirements specified under Eligibility. It is strongly recommended that candidates discuss the possibility of the CIGI-SSHRC post-doctorate with their intended academic supervisor and dean of graduate studies, and contact the  ILRP director with any questions.  This will enable the candidates to incorporate elements of the CIGI post-doc (such as policy relevant publications, multi-disciplinary workshops, and residency at CIGI) into their SSHRC applications. Candidates must complete and submit the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships application, ensuring that they indicate their desire to be considered for this joint initiative in the appropriate section of the application form. Instructions for filling out the application form and CV are available within the online application system.

Evaluation and Adjudication

Selection Procedure
The selection committee is composed of the ILRP Director, Deputy Directors, Program Manager, senior ILRP researchers and the CIGI Human Resources Director. First, applications will be adjudicated by the relevant SSHRC adjudication committee. Then, eligible applications that will have been recommended for funding (whether successful or considered recommended but not funded by SSHRC) will be referred to CIGI’s ILRP selection committee for final review and selection.

The selection process will include a review of application materials. Select candidates may be called for oral interviews (by telephone, via Internet – using Skype, Google Hangout, etc. – or in person). Additional documentation may also be requested by the selection committee.

Evaluation criteria
The selection committee will consider the following:

  1. the potential of the candidate including education, training, experience, and academic achievement (on the basis of transcripts, reference letters, publications)
  2. the ability of the candidate to successfully complete the research project and to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams to achieve the ILRP work plan projects;
  3. the qualities of the research project (e.g. relevance of the proposed research project to the ILRP areas of focus, originality, clarity and feasibility).

Candidates will be selected based on past academic and work performance, letters of reference, statement of interest, professional goals, relevance of the postdoctoral fellow’s research project to the ILRP areas of research focus, and ability to collaborate with ILRP researchers to achieve the work plan projects.

The selection committee's decisions cannot be appealed.

Adjudication timelines

Submission deadline Assessment by CIGI Announcement Available start dates
Sept. 20, 2018 March 2019 April 2019 First of every month between May 2019 and January 2020

Contact InformationRegulations and Policies
Exceptionally, post-doctoral fellows funded solely by CIGI’s ILRP may defer or interrupt their fellowship for medical reasons, maternity/paternity leave or on compassionate grounds, conditional upon approval by the selection committee. The maximum length of time allowed for deferral will be 12 months. Jointly funded post-doctoral fellows (by SSHRC and CIGI’s ILRP) must comply with the regulations set out for their SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship.

For more information about the CIGI ILRP, please contact:

Scott Lewis
Program Manager
International Law Research Program
Centre for International Governance Innovation
67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON, N2L 6C2
Tel.: 519-885-2444  ext: 7236
Fax: 519-885-5450
Email: [email protected]  

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