The 2019 SSHRC-CIGI post-doctoral fellowship is now open. 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 Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

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



Up to $80,500 per year plus up to $18,000 in research allowance


Between 12 to 24 months

CIGI is pleased to invite applications for post-doctoral fellowships for research in one or more of the international law research areas of focus, set out below. We invite 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.

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. 

The 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.

Areas of research focus
In consultation with public, private, academic and civil society sector experts in international and transnational law, CIGI has developed a research work plan focused on advancing knowledge and understanding of international law. In pursuing its work plan CIGI 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, CIGI is attentive to the emerging interactions between international and transnational law, Indigenous law and constitutional law. The following is an illustrative list only:

Intellectual property law

  • The management of IP rights to support entrepreneurship in the global marketplace
  • New IP standards in preferential trade agreements (CUSMA, 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 innovation
  • 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

Economic law

  • International trade and investment and, more specifically: WTO reform; investor state arbitration reform and CUSMA implementation
  • The multinational corporation in transnational law and governance
  • Financial technology and international law and governance challenges
  • International law and governance of the data-driven economy
  • Middle powers and trade in the context of G-20 and G-7
  • Mainstreaming gender and international trade
  • Indigenous participation in international trade and treaty making, and how a progressive trade agenda might facilitate Indigenous participation in a global knowledge economy

Environmental law

  • International and domestic legal frameworks and policies to encourage green/clean technology development and transfer to support domestic entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Legal approaches to transition to a low carbon economy
  • Climate and trade law; international law dimensions of connecting carbon markets in North America
  • Climate and oceans and geo-engineering law and governance
  • Building on the Paris Agreement’s “Indigenous and Local Communities Platform”, reimagining Indigenous peoples’ multiple roles in relation to climate change

Indigenous law

  • Practical aspects of implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including a new special report on comparative approaches to  implementing the UN Declaration
  • 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, as well as to participate actively in relevant 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 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 2020 and January 2021.

In order to be eligible for, receive, and maintain CIGI 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 2017 (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 have a focus on one or more of the research areas outlined above.

Please note that CIGI requires that successful CIGI-SSHRC post-doctoral applicants spend up to 50% of their fellowship time 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 CIGI.

Post-doctoral fellows are expected to produce a major research project on a topic related to the international law research areas of focus, which has been approved by the program 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 CIGI 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 CIGI 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 Director of International Law Research at CIGI, applicable senior fellows 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 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 CIGI's work plan projects;
  3. the qualities of the research project (e.g. relevance of the proposed research project to CIGI's 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 CIGI's areas of research focus, and ability to collaborate with CIGI researchers to achieve the work plan projects.

The selection committee's decisions cannot be appealed.

Adjudication timelines

Submission deadline


Available start dates

Sept. 20, 2019

February 2020

First of every month between May 2020 and January 2021

Contact InformationRegulations and Policies
Exceptionally, post-doctoral fellows funded solely by CIGI 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) must comply with the regulations set out for their SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship.

For more information please contact:

Oonagh Fitzgerald
Director of International Law Research
Centre for International Governance Innovation
67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON, N2L 6C2
Tel.: 519-885-2444  ext: 7207
Fax: 519-885-5450
Email: [email protected]  


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