ESRC DTC 1+3 Studentship on IP and Underutilised Crops

The School of Law has one fully-funded postgraduate research studentship available from October 2014. This studentship is for the equivalent of full HEU fees and maintenance, providing a total of around ?13,726* per annum (* estimate including Home/EU fees of ?3,980).? The scholarship is available for a period of one year initially, with the expectation of renewal for a further three years, subject to satisfactory performance in degree studies.?

The School of Law invites applications to the ESRC from excellent Home/EU students. Details of eligibility to apply for an ESRC award can be found at

The role of intellectual property protection in the development of underutilised crops

Intellectual property (IP) protection has an important role to play in agricultural development but such protection may be overly restrictive, based on national law and/or international instruments. It may hamper the innovation process, or result in industry concentration through the consolidation of IP ownership. Similarly, the threat of litigation may threaten scientific freedom to operate, or lead farmers to being held liable for using protected innovations.

In many developing country agricultural systems there is a growing conflict between traditional farmers? seed systems and the commercial seed sector, the latter of which relies heavily on strong IP protection. It has led to the marginalisation of small and subsistence farmers in poor rural areas, many of whom depend on underutilised crops, and orphan crops such as cassava, millet and sorghum, for their livelihoods. From a socio-economic perspective these underutilised crops are often the main sources of nutrition and food security for countless people.

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This studentship consists of two elements: The first year will take the form of the MA Socio-Legal and Criminal Research with the School of Law and Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Nottingham. This one-year research Masters provides students with a systematic grounding in empirical research.? More details can be found at

The PhD element of the award will?be conducted in conjunction with Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia campus, under its Social, Community Economic and Policy Theme Research (SCEPTRE). The ESRC DTC studentship will focus primarily on a) how small and subsistence farmers, who develop innovations in underutilised crops, can benefit from IP and/or traditional knowledge (TK) systems so as to enhance their nutritional and food security and b) how rural communities can be assured of access to, and can share in the benefits of, such IP/TK systems.? The student will be required to undertake empirical research in conjunction with the CFFRC and will therefore spend some time on our Malaysia campus.

If you are interested in applying for the programme or would like further details, please contact Professor Mary Footer, via the ‘apply’ button below. General questions about the application process should be addressed to Mrs Joanne Bailey

All applications are considered and are awarded, in addition to any other criteria, on the grounds of academic merit.

Please quote ref. LSS372.

Closing date: Noon 28 February 2014. Interviews to be held w/c 10 March 2014, with start of the MA programme 22 September 2014. No applications for the studentship funding will be considered after the deadline date.

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