School of Law

The Cloud Legal Project CCLS Studentship

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Please note, the information and advice on how to apply, what our entry requirements are and what application documentation is required given on this web-page takes precedence over the information given on any other web-pages on the University web-site giving general information about the PhD/Research application process.

Topic of Research

The Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has received a multi-year academic donation from Microsoft to support research on a range of cloud computing-related legal and regulatory issues (the ‘Cloud Legal Project’) as well as additional funding for collaborative work on cloud computing which we are undertaking with the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory (the ‘Microsoft Cloud Computing Research Centre’). In the context of these projects, applications are invited for two PhD Studentships.

The successful candidates will undertake research for a PhD degree within the field of cloud computing law under the supervision of Professor Christopher Millard, Professor Chris Reed, Professor Ian Walden, or other CCLS academics, as appropriate based on the specific research topics that are agreed. The students will also participate in the ongoing work of the Cloud Legal Project and Microsoft Cloud Computing Research Centre.

By way of further context, examples of current and anticipated research topics are legal and regulatory aspects of block chain, cloud robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, cloud localisation requirements, the use of cloud computing in regulated sectors such as financial services and healthcare, cybersecurity, inconsistencies in the treatment of assets offline and in the cloud, and the implications for cloud computing of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Over the past eight years the team has published articles and presented at conferences on a broad range of cloud-related legal and regulatory topics, including many aspects of cloud contracts, cloud privacy policies, law enforcement access to cloud data, cloud localisation requirements, cloud standards, and consumer protection in the cloud.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The award is for full time postgraduate PhD research students only, who will reside in or around the London area for the duration of their doctoral studies;
  • Applicants are requested to submit a short research proposal (1,000 words maximum – this is therefore different from the normal requirement for a Law PhD Research Proposal)) outlining their proposed research question and methodology. Applicants may propose a research topic in the field of cloud computing law that builds on work already undertaken at QMUL or may propose a new topic in the field of cloud computing law.
  • Applicants should be aware that the School of Law PhD programme has various entrance requirements which applicants are expected to meet (information on these can be found at the PhD programme page. For example, the programme looks for applicants to hold a post-graduate taught degree in Law, or a Law-related subject, and have gained a Pass with Distinction overall (or the equivalent if the degree is taken outside the UK). In addition, this award has the following specific entry requirements:
    • Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in Law or, if not, both an undergraduate degree in another field and a legal professional qualification.
    • Experience in one or more relevant areas of technology law, including in-depth knowledge of relevant EU law and the domestic law of at least one EU member state, is essential. Such experience and knowledge may have been gained in academia and / or legal practice.
    • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research skills, excellent writing and editing skills, and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Existing PhD students who have already enrolled prior to September are not eligible to apply for the award. 
  • The award is for new applicants looking to enrol at the beginning of the coming academic year, in September 2017. Given that most LLM (and some MA) courses in the UK end with graduation in November (and that, as mentioned, entry on to the PhD programme is dependent upon the applicant obtaining a certain grade on their LLM/MA course so as to meet the PhD programme’s academic entry requirements), so this means current UK LLM students (or students on any course with graduation after September 2017) are not normally eligible to be considered.

About the award

  • The award will cover all tuition fees whether at the Home/EU rate or the overseas rate. It is therefore open to both UK and overseas applicants.
  • In addition, the recipient will receive an annual stipend grant of £27,500 per annum.
  • The award is renewable over three years of study while in full time enrolment, subject to satisfactory annual progress reports;
  • At the end of the three years, research students sometimes need further time to complete their research and thesis. This is known as ‘writing up’ time. Students only move to writing up when their supervisor confirms that the student has submitted a satisfactory first full draft of the entire thesis for the supervisor’s review and the Director of Graduate Studies is satisfied that the student can complete within the year. The writing-up period does not attract full tuition fees, although a reduced writing up fee may be payable. A student in writing up is responsible for his/her own living costs as well as for any writing up fee.
  • The studentships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence. The application process for these awards is highly competitive.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be required to attend an interview.
  • If you have any queries relating to the funding application process, please e-mail the School of Law PhD Admissions Administrator, Mr G Skehan, at
  • If you have any queries in relation to the nature of the research question required, please contact Professor Christopher Millard at


The deadline for Studentship applications to the School of Law is Thursday 1 June 2017. Please note, the PhD application system will close after this date, so late submission will not be possible.

You must have completed both the main PhD application process, including the submission of all required supporting documentation, by this date

Notifying the School of Law of your application for Studentship funding

There is a section within the PhD online application form labelled ‘Funding’. To notify us that you wish to apply for our Studentship award you will need to respond to the question: ‘How do you intend to finance your studies at Queen Mary?’ by stating ‘I will fund my studies by other means’. Then in response to the next question: ‘Please give details of any scholarships or grants you are applying for or have already secured’, you should specifically state that you wish to apply for a School of Law Cloud Project Studentship.

Without this notification, you will not be considered as a funding applicant. You will be treated as an applicant to our PhD programme only.

Submitting your PhD on-line application

Only applicants who have completed the online application process to the PhD programme prior to the funding submission deadline will be considered for funding. For more information on how to make an application, what our entry requirements are and what supporting documentation must be submitted, find out how to apply for the PhD programme