Doctoral Scholarship

Feb 20 2020 Posted: 12:25 GMT

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway, is pleased to offer one doctoral scholarship in the field of transitional justice, examining the role of truth commissions and their relationships with criminal trial processes. (Further details on the research project are set out below). The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Anita Ferrara, with the support of a Graduate Research Committee.

The scholarship is valued at a total of € 16,000 per year, (inclusive of fees and stipend). The scholarship is tenable for a maximum duration of four years, renewable each year subject to satisfactory progress and recommendation by the Graduate Research Committee.

The scholarship is available to full time students commencing their doctoral studies in the Irish Centre for Human Rights in April 2020. A limited amount of teaching and related duties will be required of scholarship holders, in fulfilment of duties under the scholarship award.

The scholarships are open to Irish, other EU, and international applicants.

The deadline for application is 8 March 2020.  No late applications will be accepted. 

Research project aims and objectives:

The aim of this research is to investigate the evolution of the theoretical underpinnings of the relationship between truth commissions and criminal prosecutions and look at their practical implications through the study of selected and relevant case studies.

In the last decade, truth commissions (TRCs) have been increasingly implemented in combination with other transitional justice mechanisms, including domestic and international human rights trials.  Despite the growing simultaneous use of TRCs and trials, their relationship remains an understudied field of inquiry.

There is now an emerging body of literature analysing the interaction between truth commissions and trials at a national, regional and international level (Ferrara 2015; Bisset 2011; Sikkink 2011; Schabas 2003-2004-2017; Flory 2015 and Minow 2019).

More studies are needed to investigate how the sequencing and functioning of these two transitional justice mechanisms can be strengthened, so that one process does not hamper the effectiveness of the other, in terms of the objectives pursued.

Operational arrangements between these two mechanisms need to be further explored as well as potential areas of conflict including: Information-sharing, confidentiality, witness protection and right to a fair trial.

While UN agencies and international NGOs have strongly argued in favour of complementarity, further investigation is needed to examine how the division of labour can be effectively carried out between the two mechanisms and to identify the implications of other factors, such as the legal context, sequencing and timing.

The research will explore in further details some of the challenges arising from the cooperation between these two mechanisms such as:

  1. Evidence-sharing: to understand opportunities and limitations of an information-sharing between truth commissions and prosecutions, looking in particular at the existing case law;

  2. Analysis of the larger implications of the judicialization of TRCs for future TRCs.

  3. Analysing the tension between right to truth/right to justice 

How to apply:

Please send a CV and a cover letter and supporting documentation to , with email subject marked “PhD scholarship application.” If you have queries on the scholarships please contact Dr Anita Ferrara

In addition to the above, you must submit the following documents:

1. An outline of the proposed research methodology (how the applicant intends to carry out the proposed research), max 2 pages;

2 Two academic references: Please note that it is your responsibility to contact your referees to ensure that references are received before the closing date/time for this scholarship.

4. All academic transcripts.

5. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit satisfactory evidence of competence in written and spoken English, i.e., overall IELTS 6.5 (including a minimum of 6.5 in the reading and writing parts and no part below 6.0) or 90 in the TOEFL iBT (with a minimum of 22 (reading) and 24 (writing) and no part below 20.)

6. Fluency in Spanish (both oral and written) is highly desirable.

All applicants will be notified of the final decision. Decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into about the decision. Applicants not awarded a scholarship may nevertheless be offered a place on the PhD programme.

Recipients of the scholarship award are required to apply for external scholarship funding to the Irish Research Council or other funding bodies as directed by the PhD supervisor. If an external scholarship is awarded, the Irish Centre for Human Rights scholarship funding will cease from date of commencement of the external award.