Routledge/Round Table Commonwealth Studentship Awards

Two Routledge/Round Table Commonwealth Studentship awards are available to PhD/DPhil students pursuing research related to the Commonwealth.

Two annual awards for graduate research in Commonwealth studies are awarded by The Round Table, the Commonwealth journal of international affairs, with support from its publisher, Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

One, worth £4,000, is available to PhD students registered at a UK university. The second, worth £8,000, is available to PhD students registered at a member university of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), from outside the UK.

Proposed research must:

  1. relate to the Commonwealth as a whole or to any Commonwealth-wide institution or organisation, or
  2. have a strong Commonwealth comparative aspect, or
  3. be of relevance to a Commonwealth country other than the UK.

Applications for the 2019-20 awards have now closed, and the winners are announced below.  The 2020-21 awards will be advertised in March 2020, and full terms and conditions will be available here.

The Round Table sees these awards as an important contribution to research with a Commonwealth component, and a follow-up to “Learning from Each Other: Commonwealth Studies for the 21st Century”, the 1996 Commonwealth Secretariat report chaired by Professor T H B Symons.

Commenting on the launch of the awards, Richard Bourne, former Chair of The Round Table, said, “In offering these new graduate studentships The Round Table, the oldest international affairs journal in the UK, is committing itself afresh to the ongoing intellectual vitality of the Commonwealth. We look forward to welcoming quality research projects from successful applicants, and thank our publisher, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, and our valued collaborator, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, for supporting these innovative awards.”

Dan Trinder, Associate Editorial Director, Routledge, added, “As long-standing publishers of The Round Table we are delighted to be able to support the new graduate studentships. The Journal itself and the graduate studentships themselves form part of a broad range of activities designed to engage with and enrich understanding of Commonwealth issues, more details of which can be found at”

Dr Joanna Newman, ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General, said, “The ACU is committed to supporting high-quality research across our member institutions, and we are delighted to launch these new studentships in collaboration with The Round Table and Routledge. The research funded through these opportunities will help highlight and demonstrate the value of the Commonwealth as a framework for collaboration on the key issues of our time.”

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 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.

Sukhgeet Kaur

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.


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