International Humanitarian and Criminal Law have for many years faced challenges due to the changing nature of modern conflicts and indeed the way in which these bodies of law have been created and developed. In recent years the rapid advancement of technology, both civilian and military, has been a focal point, with the resultant substantial research on these technological challenges. Issues such as Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), Unmanned systems (aerial and otherwise), and cyber warfare are very well covered in the literature, with a significant number of experts engaging and presenting well-considered decisions on these.
Nonetheless, there remain unanswered challenges to IHL and ICL presented by the changing nature of conflict and impacts of technologies both military and civilian. Therefore, projects are sought that engage with novel problems presented by modern conflicts or innovative approaches to recognised issues. These projects may address issues within IHL and/or ICL and could look at any potential area that requires greater development and understanding. Proposals need to be very clear about the originality presented by the project, as broad discussions will not be suitable for PhD research projects. They can however cover ANY aspect of IHL or ICL, so could include areas such as procedural justice aspects within ICL, the methods used in IHL, recording of civilian casualties, or indeed the relationship between these bodies of law. Successful projects will present an original and specific research question, allowing for depth and novelty in the project.
Applicants for a PhD will typically hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above in law (or a subject related to the proposed area of research) or its international equivalent. Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have will also taken into account.
For those intending to apply for funding, we require either a first class (or equivalent grade) at undergraduate or a distinction (or equivalent grade) at masters level. Most successful applicants will have both.
More information and contact details are available here.
How to apply
We support funding applications via the UKRI, funding both doctrinal/theoretical/historical projects and socio-legal projects (available for both home and international applicants). For more general information on funding, including alternative sources, see here. Funding application deadlines for the two major funding streams are in January each year, so we encourage applicants to be in contact well ahead of this to discuss and refine your potential application.