Applying to do Postgraduate Research at Cambridge
To find out more about researching at Cambridge see the Faculty of Law website.
"Reclaiming Collective Knowledge": This thesis will explore the ways in which issues of intellectual property, cultural property, and cultural and national identity converge in the discourse surrounding the protection of traditional knowledge. The steel pan, which is a musical instrument invented in Trinidad circa 1930 (and decalred the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago), will be the focal point of the research, with references made to the developments regarding the protection of traditional knowledge associated with the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
The thesis will also attempt to develop a theoretical framework for defining traditional knowledge and the collective knowledge associated with the invention and development of the steel pan. Any definition in relation to the steel pan must transcend its technical features and encompass its symbolism as a form of cultural and national identity. Features of a national regime of protection for the collective knowledge associated with the steel pan will also be proposed as well as ways in which international protection may be achieved via WIPO's initiatives to develop international protection measures for traditional knowledge.
Chikosa Banda's research for his PhD with the Centre is supported by a Wellcome Trust Studentship and is an examination of the efficacy of intellectual property rights as a policy mechanism to accelerate medical research on neglected diseases. Malawi (Chikosa’s country of origin) will be a case study for the research. He will be jointly supervised by Professor Bently and Dr Liddell.
Chikosa has a background that prepares him well for this research. He worked as an Assistant Lecturer in Law in the University of Malawi: Chancellor College, and was appointed to Malawi National Experts Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing under the Southern African Development Community Biodiversity Support Programme. With Robert Lewis-Lettington, he wrote “A Survey of Policy and Practice on the Use of Access to Medicines –TRIPS Related Flexibilities in Malawi, DFID Health Systems Resource Centre”.
“Less than 10 percent of global health research efforts target diseases that are prevalent in the developing world. Ironically, these diseases represent 90 % of the global disease burden. The need to create incentives to direct research at neglected diseases cannot therefore be overemphasised. I intend to examine global and domestic factors
that contribute to the inequitable distribution of research resources/benefits between the developed world and poor countries. I will employ legal, economic and political theory to explain the failure of current regulatory mechanisms to stimulate biomedical research catering for health needs unique to the poor. I will also review literature and conduct field research to assess the validity of the assumption that stronger intellectual property rights (for example patent extensions) will stimulate research that is of universal benefit.”
The research funding essential to such a project will be provided by the Wellcome Trust’s scheme for research on the Ethics of Biomedical Research in Developing Countries. This will enable Chikosa to be based in Malawi and the UK, and to visit Switzerland and other countries central to the debates.
We are also pleased to announce that Chikosa has been awarded the status of an Honorary Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar.
Elena's research examines the history of artistic copyright law.
Patrick's research will try to establish coherent principles for resolving copyright cases involving unpublished works. He will investigate the importance of understanding the factors underpinning the treatment of unpublished works in copyright law and propose some reforms in this area.