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Applying to do Postgraduate Research at Cambridge

To find out more about researching at Cambridge see the Faculty of Law website.

Current Researchers


Tim Cochrane
Alexander Ferguson
Ricki-Lee Gerbrandt
Ann Kristin Glenster
Laura Hannan
Milhan Mohamed
James Parish

Former Researchers

Oliver ButlerInformation Law in an Era of Public Services Commissioning: The implications for Privacy, Confidentiality and Data Protection

Yin Harn Lee: Copyright Issues Surrounding Videogame Modifications.

Yin Harn Lee completed her undergraduate education at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, obtaining an LL.B. (Hons) (with Distinction). She was admitted to the Bar as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in the following year, and worked as a research assistant and a tutor at the University of Malaya before graduating from the University of Cambridge with an LL.M. Her thesis related to questions of copyright in video-games and the implications for user-generated "Mods". Yin Harn is now a lecturer at the University of Sheffield

Julia Powles: The Inventive Concept and the Structure of Patent Law.

Julia’s research focussed on the role of the ‘inventive concept’ in construing inventions and determining patent scope in the United Kingdom, with comparative reference to the European patent system. Her studies were supported by a Cambridge Poynton Australia Scholarship. Julia has first class honours degrees in law and science from the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University, as well as a Bachelor of Civil Law (master’s degree) from the University of Oxford. She has clerked in the Federal Court of Australia and the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal and practised in the information technology and intellectual property department of Minter Ellison in Sydney, while also lecturing at the University of New South Wales. Before commencing her PhD, Julia worked in the Office of the Director General at the World Intellectual Property Organization, where her work covered all aspects of intellectual property. Julia is now a researcher at Cornell Tech.

Nigel Stone: An Empirical Analysis of the Fairness and Certainty of US and European Software Patentability

Sharon Le Gall: Reclaiming Collective Knowledge

Sharon's research explored  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 declared the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago), provided 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 also developed 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 were also proposed as well as ways in which international protection may be achieved via WIPO's initiatives to develop international protection measures for traditional knowledge. Sharon now teaches at the University of the West Indies. Her PhD was converted into a book.

Chikosa Banda: Patents and Promotion of Biomedical Research into Diseases Prevalent in Developing Countries

Chikosa Banda's research for his PhD with the Centre was supported by a Wellcome Trust Studentship and was 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) provided a case study for the research. He was jointly supervised by Professor Bently and Dr Liddell.Chikosa has a background that prepared 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”.The research funding essential to such a project was provided by the Wellcome Trust’s scheme for research on the Ethics of Biomedical Research in Developing Countries. This enabled Chikosa to be based both in Malawi and the UK, and to visit Switzerland and other countries central to the debates.
During his time in Cambridge Chikosa was awarded the status of an Honorary Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar.

Elena Cooper: The Relationship between Art and Law in the History of Photographic Copyright 1850-1911

Elena's research examined the history of artistic copyright law.

Patrick Masiyakurima: The Justifications for Protecting Unpublished Works by Copyright Law

Patrick’s thesis considered the topic of copyright in unpublished works from historical, legal and normative perspectives and it was provoked by criticisms of the strength of protection that is conferred on unpublished works. The thesis raised several key arguments.

  • The jurisdictional bases for restraining unauthorised first publication evolved from protecting the manuscript as a chattel to property rights in unpublished expressions and later to breach of confidence and breach of an implied contract not to publish.
  • Common law copyright protection was abrogated in 1911 owing to the 1908 Revision of the Berne Convention, dissatisfaction with domestic copyright laws and problems with imperial copyright.
  • The unpublished status of a work retains considerable significance in contemporary British copyright law especially in the areas of the exceptions to copyright infringement, the term of copyright protection, the extent of copyright protection and the remedies for copyright infringement.
  • Copyright in unpublished works is justified because it would be too costly to differentiate “published” from “unpublished works”. Distinguishing published from unpublished works is especially difficult given the numerous problems surrounding publication on the Internet. Therefore, in general, the protection available to “published” and “unpublished” works ought to be the same
  • The range of materials and interests that are encompassed by legal protection of unpublished works suggests that some unpublished works could be protected by the action for breach of confidence, the right to privacy, and the moral right of divulgation.

It was also argued that where appropriate, legal protection of unpublished works ought to be balanced with countervailing public interests including freedom of expression. The appropriate balance between copyright in unpublished works and the public interest can be achieved by interpreting the exceptions to copyright infringement purposively. It is hoped that aspects of the thesis will be published as a series of research articles or a monograph. Patrick’s research was very generously funded by the University of Cambridge through a Domestic Research Scholarship. Patrick is a lecturer in law at the University of Aberdeen.

Sun Thathong: Searching for Harmony in an Age of Fragmentation: A Critical Reappraisal of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge under International Law

Sun was an Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholar and a recipient of the Underwood Scholarship from Trinity Hall. His research explores the protection of traditional knowledge under international law, focusing on the interaction among four relevant international legal regimes, namely international intellectual property law, international environmental law, international cultural heritage law and international human rights law. It scrutinises the fragmentation of international law in this field, looking particularly at the diverse ways “traditional knowledge” is being conceptualised under different regimes and the effects this may have on the protection of traditional knowledge under international law as a whole. Sun holds an LL.B. from Durham University and an LL.M. (International Law) from the University of Cambridge. Before commencing his PhD, he worked as a Second Secretary at the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand, where he was part of the legal team giving international legal advice to the Royal Thai Government on issues relating to crime prevention and criminal justice.

Petroula Vantsiouri: A Comparative Stand Towards the Intended and Unintended Consequences of Anticircumvention Regulation and Technological Protection Measures in the European Union and in the United States

Petroula's research interests lie in intellectual property law and information law. Her doctoral thesis takes a comparative stand towards the intended and unintended consequences of anticircumvention regulation in the European Union and in the United States, as they are applied in different sectors, namely broadcasting, software and other copyright works. She holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, a Postgraduate Specialization Diploma and a law degree from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Petroula has also worked as a practicing lawyer, a trainee for the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market and as a research assistant. She is a licensed member of the New York State Bar Association (US) as well as of the Thessaloniki Bar Association (Greece).