Our PhD programme

If you think doing a PhD is a lonely exercise in which you are locked in a library, think twice. While PhD researchers at the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance work on their independent piece of research, they're also directly involved in the Centre’s labs and incubators. They often collaborate with our members on funded projects and contribute to consultancies with external partners. This gives our PhD researchers a unique practical experience throughout their doctoral studies.

If you're interested in undertaking research in a cutting edge field of global environmental law and governance, a PhD at SCELG may well be what you were looking for.

Our current PhD researchers

John Udonna Elem. "Towards environmental justice in Nigeria: implementing the precautionary principle and environmental impact assessment"

This PhD project aims at examining the application of the Precautionary Principle and EIA in tackling environmental injustice in the Niger Delta Region. Institutional theory besides PP and EIA will be used in achieving this project because the external environment in which these laws operate influences the struggle against environmental injustice in Nigeria

Link to John's profile

Miranda Geelhoed. "Applying the ecosystem approach in EU law regarding the production of crops towards a holistic, agro-ecological regulatory framework"

My PhD research aims to investigate the role of EU law in supporting and realising a move in Europe towards an agricultural model that is based upon agro-ecological values. It will thus seek to answer how the ‘ecosystem approach’ could be applied in EU law regarding the production of crops, including the Common Agricultural Policy, environmental laws relevant to agriculture, risk regulations and certification schemes, with the objective of developing a holistic regulatory framework.

Link to Miranda's profile

Stephanie Hawkins. "Governing an invisible resource: legal and policy considerations for transboundary aquifers

I commenced my PhD in law at the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance in January 2015, researching the topic of transboundary aquifer law and policy. My research examines how attention to the concept of water justice can help assess and inform the international legal and policy framework for transboundary aquifer governance. My research is supervised by Dr Francesco Sindico, and my main research areas include public international law, international environmental law, international water law and environmental justice.

Link to Stephanie's profile

Wanying Huang. "Could the legal framework for the trade in international waste promote sustainable development to a greater extent?"

International hazardous waste trading from developed states to developing states expanded from the 1980s and this caused various environmental harms in developing states. The international community adopted the Basel Convention in 1989, which seeks to regulate transboundary movement of hazardous wastes.   The Convention which is based upon the concepts of prior informed consent and environmentally sound management is dependent on national enforcement for its effectiveness.  This research seeks to analyse, first, whether the terms of the Basel Convention are sufficiently clear and certain to enable effective enforcement and, second, how effective national enforcement actually is in practice in the UK and China.  It will provide recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of enforcement in order to better secure compliance with the international regime and national regime and whether that in turn will contribute (positively) to sustainable development.

Link to Wanying's profile

Lannette Kambole Chiti. "The role of international energy law in climate change mitigation and sustainable energy development: The case for a comprehensive global multilateral legal framework for energy"

The ultimate objective of the research is to make a case for the development of a single global multilateral legal instrument to deal with energy issues with an all-encompassing and comprehensive approach that takes into account the emergence of climate change mitigation as a central energy policy issue and the need for a global shift to sustainable energy sources; provoke global action towards the development of the said legal instrument; contribute to a body of international energy law and its architecture; and to address the gap currently existing in scholarly research in terms of addressing the energy-climate change nexus from the international energy law perspective.

It is now widely accepted that energy production and consumption related CO2 emissions are the most significant contributors to global climate change and that a shift to more sustainable energy resources is a key component of effective climate change mitigation. Against this background, my research topic is “The role of International energy law in climate change mitigation and sustainable energy development: The case for a comprehensive global multilateral legal framework for energy”.

My research will examine the extent to which current international energy law is positioned to address the energy-climate nexus, facilitate a global shift to sustainable energy sources and ultimately contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable development. It will seek to establish that international energy law has an important role to play in global climate change mitigation and the achievement of sustainable development although it is essential to strengthen and make it more relevant to emerging issues.

Link to Lannette's profile

Tongkay (Amy) Khoranit Renee Martin-Nagle. "International water governance and transboundary aquifers"

Renee Martin-Nagle, J.D., LL.M., focuses her research on both the governance and the hydrogeology of transboundary aquifers, with particular concern for ecosystem protection and interspecies equity.  Her PhD thesis will examine and propose possible governance regimes for transboundary offshore freshwater resources such as offshore aquifers and methane hydrates

Link to Renee's profile

Mara Ntona. "The role of access to justice as a “human dimension criterion" for the operationalisation of the ecosystem approach in the marine context"

Mara's research seeks to elucidate the potential contribution of procedural environmental rights — and in particular of access to justice — to the resolution of the “user vs. environment” conflicts that are likely to arise following the drawing up and implementation of integrated, multi-scalar marine spatial planning initiatives under European Law. In order to determine which rights and interests are “actionable” under the applicable legal framework, Mara’s research will explore different notions of ownership, highlighting the nuances that differentiate marine spatial planning from its terrestrial counterpart. Ultimately, her thesis will contemplate the role of access to justice as a “human dimension criterion" for the operationalisation of the ecosystem approach in the marine context.

Link to Mara's profile

Ronald Welsh. "The WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) and LDC countries"

My PhD research focusses on the under-utisation of the of the WTO Disputes Settlement Understanding (DSU) by LDCs. As well as understanding the causal reasons why Least Developed Countries (LDCs) do not use the system it will focus on some potential changes that could be made to the DSU which would encourage LDCs to interact more proactively with the WTO DSU in particular and the WTO in general. WTO disputes can arise in a multiplicity of diverse subject areas many of which have a bearing, either directly or indirectly, to wider aspects of International Environmental Law and thus the non-participation of LDCs represent what one writer described as "an open sore" in the DSU, a system which is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the WTO.

Link to Ronald's profile

China Williams, "The influence of the involvement of the non-commercial research sector on the development of the current ABS Regime"

China is currently working on a Ph.D. examining the influence of the involvement of the non-commercial research sector on the development of the current ABS Regime? This involves a focus on lessons learnt from research agreements between provider countries and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Link to China's profile

Our past PhD researchers

Eloamaka Okonkwo. "The Legal concerns of environmental insecurity and environmental justice in developing countries: The Nigeria’s experience"

My research investigates the current environmental situation in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, focusing on the effect of oil exploration activities and its resulting consequences. It examines current environmental pollution laws, enforcement powers of the enforcement agencies and impediments to enforcement, the role of the court and limitations to access to environmental justice. It will emphasise accountability and the available remedies. The set objective is to find working principles that may be used to ensure institutional accountability for the reduction of environmental injustice in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.

Link to Eloamaka's profile

Jingjing Zhao.
Supported by the Campbell Burns Scholarship, Jingjing's PhD research looked at the relationship between the WTO Agreements and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety from a norm conflict perspective. It considered how general rules on conflicts of norms in international law relate to the relationship between international trade and environment law and the international regulation of trade in GMOs. Jingjing's main research areas include WTO Law, Public International Law and International Environmental Law.
Jingjing is currently working as a Lecturer in International Law in the Law School, Nankai University, China.

Uzuazo Etemire.

Dr Uzuazo Etemire is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He holds the LLB (Benin), LLM (Nottingham) and PhD in Law (Strathclyde) degrees. His PhD studies at the University of Strathclyde was generally on procedural environmental law and was completed in 2014. Particularly, Etemire’s PhD thesis assessed and proposed reforms, where necessary, to Nigerian law and practice on public access to information, decision-making processes and (to a limited extent) justice in environmental matters. This analysis and law- and practice-reform exercise was mainly anchored on an innovatively designed body of international best practice – majorly using the Aarhus Convention, amongst others – located within the relevant theoretical framework and immersed in its socio-political context to add meaning to the enterprise. His PhD work formed the basis for his book: Law and Practice on Public Participation in Environmental Matters: The Nigerian Example in Transnational Comparative Perspective (London and New York: Routledge, 2015). And apart from being called to the Nigerian Bar, Dr Etemire is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, United Kingdom, and an Alumnus of The Hague Academy of International Law, The Netherlands. He is also well published in renowned peer-review journals in the field of environmental law and governance.

Tinashe Madebwe.

Tinashe Madebwe joined the Strathclyde Law School as a PhD candidate in January 2008 and completed his studies in 2012.

His research (Thesis entitled 'A Framework for Achieving Consistently Effective Environmental Protection') was supported by the Campbell Burns Scholarship and subsequently the University Scholarship, and was supervised by Professor Mark Poustie. Madedwe's work focused on improvements to the regulation of environmental protection through a regulatory framework based on tenets of constitutionalism.

From 2012 to 2016 he served as a part-time lecturer in the Public Law Department of the Midlands State University in his hometown of Gweru, Zimbabwe. His present research interests lie in facilitating greater public participation in the governance of environmental protection on a global level.