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School of Law

Intellectual Property PhD - Herchel Smith Scholarships

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New PhD students undertaking full-time research in the area of Intellectual Property (IP) can apply for a Herchel Smith Scholarship to start in the 2021-22 academic year. The award covers three years of study while in full time enrolment, subject to satisfactory annual progress reports.

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 non-EU applicants. In addition, an award of around £17,000 per year (reviewed annually) will be paid to the recipient on a regular basis throughout the academic year starting from September 2021.

What are Scholarship holders required to do?

Successful recipients of this award will undertake research support work and any related tasks as required, of up to 6 hours per week for the duration of their studies, for the Queen Mary Intellectual Property law Research Institute (QMIPRI).

Who can apply?

The Herchel Smith PhD Scholarship Programme recognises and supports exceptional full-time students who show the potential to make an outstanding contribution to intellectual property law. This programme supports PhD students in intellectual property law and those working at the intersection of intellectual property law and other areas of sciences and humanities.

The award is for new applicants who will enrol at the start of the coming academic year, in September 2021. Therefore, current PhD students who enrolled prior to September 2021 are not eligible to apply for the award.

Also, applicants should note that our PhD programme only has one entry point each year – in September. Given that most LLM courses in the UK end with graduation in November (and that entry on to our PhD programme is dependent upon your obtaining a certain grade on your LLM so as to meet our academic entry requirements), so this means for applicants currently taking their LLM in the UK (but not at QMUL) where the date of graduation falls after September 2021, and/or for non-EU applicants requiring a UK student visa who are currently taking an LLM in the UK, then an application this year is not possible.

The research topic should focus on one of the following themes:

IPRs and public international law/private international law; IPRs and intangible cultural/scientific heritage; IPRs and human rights; Doctrine of functionality; The role of intellectual property law in promoting and regulating art; intersection of international trade and intellectual property law (e.g. Patents and Trade in Stem Cells; Trade Marks and Tobacco Plain Packaging); intellectual property transactions (e.g. Licensing of Broadcasting Rights for Premier League matches); interrelationship of TRIPS with regional and national Law (e.g. TRIPS and the European Patent Convention); philosophy of intellectual property; primary and secondary markets in IP; Art 102 TFEU applied to "double identity" TM cases; property rights in persona; enforcement of IP; exhaustion and licensing.


The closing date for Herchel Smith scholarship award applications is Wednesday 2 June 2021 and the selection process will be completed by early August.

Notifying the School of Law of your application for Herchel Smith funding

There is a section within the PhD online application form labelled ‘Funding’. To notify us that you wish to apply for our Herchel Smith Studentship award you will need to firstly respond to the question: How do you intend to finance your studies at Queen Mary, University of London? by choosing, from the drop-down list,  ‘I will fund my studies by other means’

Then in the ‘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 Herchel Smith award.

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

If you want to apply for Herchel Smith funding and have already submitted your main application (without indicating that you wish to be considered for one of our funding awards) you must contact Mr Gareth Skehan, PhD Admissions Administrator, before the deadline by email on, and state the award that you want to apply for. Without this specific email notification you will not be considered for Herchel Smith funding.

Submitting your online PhD 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 information on how to make an application, what our entry requirements are, and what supporting documentation is required, please see our webpage.

To make an online application,you would need to visit this webpage and scroll down and then click on one of the two buttons at the very bottom of the webpage. You need to indicate from the ‘choose a degree’ box you would like to apply for a PhD, indicate you wish to study on a full-time basis, and then indicate a Semester 1 (September) start date - we do not offer start dates in January or May.

Applicants should note the School of Law, unlike other PhD programmes at QMUL, has no formal requirement for applicants to contact an academic staff member to arrange for supervision to be agreed prior to submission of their full application.  All applications, in the first instance, are reviewed by our Research Admissions Director. The Director has an overview of the supervisory capabilities and availabilities of all academic staff within the School, so applications are always reviewed, if they are considered strong enough by the Director, by academics with research expertise relevant to an applicant’s proposed area of study.  

However, the College’s On-line application system requires applicants to confirm the name of a proposed supervisor (in the ‘Research Proposal’ section).  As Law has no requirement here, applicants can simply name their proposed supervisor as a ‘School of Law supervisor’, without having to name a specific member of staff (although they are free to do so if they wish).

Contact us

If you have any queries relating to the PhD funding application process, please email the School of Law PhD Admissions Administrator, Mr G. Skehan by email on