The PhD studentships provide support for research projects on Commonwealth related themes.
Two studentships are available each year, to the maximum value of £5,500 GBP each:
- One for UK-registered students
- One for Commonwealth students in other countries
In 2019-20, one of the two studentships available supported a PhD student to travel to the UK for their research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020-21, this studentship will support the successful applicant to carry out research in their home country. If restrictions then permit, it may be possible to offer a travel research award again in 2021-22.
Proposed research must:
- relate to the Commonwealth as a whole or to any Commonwealth-wide institution or organisation, or
- have a strong Commonwealth comparative aspect, or
- be of relevance to a Commonwealth country other than the UK.
For example, a research project comparing LGBT rights in South Africa and Uganda would be eligible, as would a project on the reform of colonial-era anti-LGBT legislation in India, but a project on the role of Stonewall in advocating for LGBT rights in the UK would not.
Applications are welcomed from a broad range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, but preference may be given to disciplines usually covered by the Round Table journal, including (but not exclusively) politics, international relations, economics, international history, geography, law, development studies, and area studies.
The studentships are funded by The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs and the journal’s publisher, Routledge, in association with the ACU.
The first studentship is open to registered PhD students from UK universities, although not necessarily UK citizens.
The second is open to registered PhD students from ACU member universities [https://www.acu.ac.uk/our-members/] in Commonwealth counties other than the UK, and to Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarship alumni who are PhD students at any Commonwealth university outside the UK.
As part of the studentship, applicants are required to identify and work with a mentor at a university in a Commonwealth country [https://thecommonwealth.org/member-countries] other than their own. This should be an expert in a subject linked to the applicant’s subject of research, who will be able to provide support and advice during the studentship. Before applying, applicants are encouraged to informally approach at least one potential mentor and, if their application is successful, will then be required to obtain a letter of support from their mentor to agree to the mentorship before their studentship is confirmed.
The role of the mentor
The mentor will be expected to hold a minimum of two virtual meetings with the student during the period of the studentship. They will be expected to be in contact with the student by email to share their experiences in their relevant field, provide advice around publishing, events and trends in their field, and to challenge and empower the student to consider new ways of thinking.
The mentor will also be expected to contribute to either the podcast or the article and will be paid an honorarium of £500 GBP, payable at the end of the studentship. Mentors must read and abide by the mentor code of conduct guidelines. [link]
How to apply
Applications should be submitted by 23:59 BST on Friday 31 July via the online application form.
As part of the application, applicants should submit:
- A CV
- A studentship plan, outlining:
- The work you plan to carry out during the studentship, in non-technical language
- The likely impact of your studentship work, and how it will advance knowledge in your field and contribute to greater understanding of the Commonwealth
- The planned outcomes and outputs of the studentship
- Letters of support from referees, one academic (preferably your PhD/DPhil supervisor) and one personal
- An outline of the intended use of the funds
Successful applicants will be required to submit, no more than twelve months after the take-up of the award, an article of between 4000 and 6000 words based on their research, for consideration for publication in the Round Table journal. Successful applicants will also be required to make a podcast on their research, for publication on the journal’s website.
Deadline for applications: 23:59 BST on Friday 31 July 2020
Announcement of winners: September 2020
Take-up of awards: 1 November 2020 to July 2021
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Winners of the 2019-20 awards
The winner of the 2019-20 award for a PhD student registered at a member university of the ACU outside the UK is Nurulhuda Zakariya.
Nurulhuda is a judicial officer in Malaysia by profession and currently a full-time PhD student at the University of Malaya. She graduated from International Islamic University Malaysia in August 2008 with an LLB (Hons), and, as a Chevening scholar, took an LLM in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). She also holds a Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Certificate of Mediation from Royal Roads University.
Nurulhuda’s PhD research focuses on judicial independence within the context of the subordinate judiciary and specifically the magistracy, examining legal concepts and judicial independence principles, and their application in the Malaysian magistrates’ courts as compared with the Indian and UK magistracies.
She intends to use the Routledge/Round Table award to fund a visiting research studentship at QMUL, under the guidance of a host supervisor, Professor Kate Malleson. During this time, as well as accessing library and other materials and attending seminars and conferences, she hopes to conduct direct observation sessions in a UK magistrates’ court in order to gain a better first-hand understanding of the magisterial concept and judicial administration as developed and practised in the UK. She also hopes to conduct semi-structured interviews with relevant academics based in the UK, UK district judges, and magistrates, and set up engagement sessions with relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Justice, Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, and Judicial Appointments Commission.
The winner of the 2019-20 award for a PhD student registered at a university in the UK is Sukhgeet Kaur, currently a student in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.
Sukhgeet took a BA (Hons) and a Master’s degree in Economics from Panjab University, Chandigarh, funded by scholarships, later also winning a Dharam Hinduja ODA scholarship to complete an MPhil degree in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. More recently she has earned an LLB degree and completed a Public Policy course at the University of California, Berkeley, sponsored by the Government of India.
A civil servant by profession, Sukhgeet belongs to Group A service of the Indian Administrative Service and Allied Services in the Government of India. She is currently posted to the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), a premier Government of India think tank. At NITI Aayog, she has dealt with project appraisal of important ministries, industrial policy and trade strategy, and agricultural marketing and price policies. In her previous assignment at the Ministry of External Affairs, she handled India’s bilateral relations with important partners in South Asia and South-East Asia and investment trade promotion policies.
Sukhgeet was selected by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, for partial funding for her PhD research at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on policy interventions to ameliorate the economic shocks faced by Indian farmers. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana contribute substantially to food stocks, yet face acute distress. The subject has wider significance as farmers across the Global South face vulnerability and there is an urgent need to investigate new policy interventions.