Centre for International Governance Innovation International Law Research Program Graduate Scholarship, Canada

Publish Date: Feb 19, 2016

Deadline: Feb 29, 2016

Centre for International Governance Innovation International Law Research Program Graduate Scholarship

The International Law Research Program (ILRP) of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is pleased to announce its Graduate Scholarship Competition for the 2016-2017 academic year. The ILRP invites Canadian and foreign students who are enrolling or are currently enrolled in masters or doctoral levels studies at a Canadian university faculty of law to apply for the CIGI ILRP Graduate Scholarship.

Introduction to CIGI ILRP

CIGI is an independent, non-partisan think tank focused on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. 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’s vision is to strive 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 scholarship 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.

The ILRP’s areas of research focus

The ILRP Graduate Scholarship is designed to enhance research opportunities for graduate level students who wish to develop expertise in one or more of the ILRP’s 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. The ILRP is also interested in developing a research agenda on international indigenous law issues that cross-cut its three areas of research focus:

  1. International economic law:
    • International and transnational governance and regulation of insolvency and sovereign debt
    • Multilateral harmonization of local regulations in the global value chain, including developments in private international law and adoption of the Ruggie principles
    • Emerging issues in international trade and investment law, particularly:
    • Governance of multilateral and preferential trade agreements
    • Assessing use of investor state arbitration in diverse contexts (case studies)
  1. International intellectual property (IIP) law and innovation:
    • Creating legal frameworks and policies to encourage green/clean technology development and transfer
    • Adaptation of IIP law frameworks for open innovation and collaboration
    • Evaluating IIP rules and the advantages and disadvantages of multilateral vs. like-minded or regional IP instruments (case studies)
    • Protecting IP rights while unlocking and commercializing IP from academic research; disseminating functional IIP knowledge to innovators (IP Law Clinic)
    • International intellectual property, biodiversity, indigenous and traditional knowledge & indigenous and traditional cultural expression
  1. International environmental law:
    • Assessing the efficacy of bilateral or regional environmental agreements vs. multilateral environmental agreements
    • International or transnational governance and regulation of the extractive industry and energy sector, including UNHCHR (John Knox) concept of environmental protection as a human right; relations between indigenous peoples and extractive industries
    • Implementing climate change commitments through international, transnational, national and sub-national legal and policy instruments (case studies); engagement of indigenous peoples in climate change action.

Value of Scholarship and Renewal of Doctoral Scholarship

The scholarship for LLM students is valued at CDN$ 16,000/year.  The scholarship for SJD/PhD in Law students is valued at up to CDN $24,000/year.  A doctoral student who has already been awarded a CIGI ILRP doctoral scholarship may apply for renewal in a subsequent year by submitting a summary renewal application.  The value, duration and conditions for each scholarship will be detailed in the letter of offer provided to the successful applicant.


LLM students are required to spend a two-month period of residency at the CIGI Campus building, located in Waterloo, Ontario.  SJD/PhD in Law students are required to spend a four-month period of residency at the CIGI Campus.

The residency requirement provides LLM and 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 doctoral scholarship student is expected to prepare a CIGI commentary related to their research for publication by CIGI.  There may be opportunities for scholarship students to publish blogs on the ILRP Global Rule of Law site. 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 LLM program and the particular doctoral program and doctoral student’s research needs. The specific arrangement must be acceptable to the student’s home institution.  In practice, LLM students and first year doctoral students tend to come during the summer months while later stage doctoral students come throughout the year.  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 February 29, 2016 and, except for a summary application to renew a doctoral scholarship, should contain the following: 

a)     Statement of Interest, indicating a clearly specified explanation of why you wish to spend a period of residency at CIGI's ILRP;

b)     Research Proposal (not more than 1,500-words) with a description of your proposed research project related to one of the ILRP areas of focus;

c)     Up-to-date curriculum vitae;

d)     One letter of support from your current/proposed supervisor in your academic program. For students pursuing their degree through coursework one letter of support from your Dean, Department Head, Program Director or equivalent;

e)     Three references, at least two of which are academic references;

f)      A list of previous awards/publications/conference/research experience; and

g)     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 by email to ILRPscholarship@cigionline.org.

Selection Procedure

All applications will be assessed by a Scholarship Selection Committee composed of the ILRP Director, Program Manager and senior ILRP researchers.

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:

a)       the relevance of the proposed research project to the ILRP areas of research focus

b)       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.)

b)      the ability of the student to successfully complete the research project;

c)       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 grant 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.

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