The UNIDROIT Scholarship, Internship and Research Programme is comprised of several different initiatives that facilitate opportunities for legal professionals at various stages of their careers to visit UNIDROIT to work or conduct research.

The UNIDROIT Scholarship, Internship and Research Programme has five current initiatives:

1. Scholarship and Research
2. Internships
3. The Sir Roy Goode Scholarship
4. Secondments
5. Cooperation with Academic Institutions

Each year UNIDROIT grants scholarships to a limited number of high-performing post-graduate law students, lawyers, academics and government officials to undertake research in the UNIDROIT library. Over the last 25 years, the Research Scholarship Programme has hosted nearly 400 researchers from 65 countries.

The Programme is funded by extra-budgetary contributions. The number of scholarships awarded each year depends on the available funding.

Academics, law students, Government officials and members of the legal profession from all over the world may also apply to undertake research at the UNIDROIT Library as visiting scholars or researchers. Unlike the scholarship programme, visiting scholars and researchers must self-fund their research, however applicants may use their approval from UNIDROIT as visiting scholars or researchers to support their requests to potential sponsors to finance their stay in Rome.

Scholarship candidates must apply during the annual application window (usually between July – September each year). Researchers may apply at any time.

For further information please contact the UNIDROIT Scholarship, Internship and Research Programme Coordinator, Ms Laura Tikanvaara: l.tikanvaara@unidroit.org

Each year UNIDROIT welcomes a select number of interns to participate in the work of the Secretariat. Internship activities relate to subjects on the Institute’s current Work Programme, and/or to UNIDROIT instruments that have already been adopted, in particular as regards their implementation and promotion. During their internship, interns will work on a variety of matters, including conducting research on specific aspects of the assigned subject and prepare concept notes, draft documents, reports of meetings and translations

Preference is given to candidates engaged in postgraduate legal studies (5 years or more). Candidates must have an excellent knowledge of both spoken and written English. Knowledge of French and/or any other language is also considered an asset. Candidates in their undergraduate legal studies are welcome to apply for an internship in the library, assisting the Head Librarian with documentation and catalogue-related tasks.

Generally, UNIDROIT internships are not remunerated. However, there are a limited number of funded positions available each year, with preference given to applicants from developing countries. The length of an internship is three consecutive months, which may be extended to a maximum of six months. Internships may be granted for shorter periods on a case by case basis. Interns are required to provide for adequate medical insurance coverage during their stay in Rome.

Candidates may apply for internships in relation to any of UNIDROIT’s work areas, existing instruments or current projects. During their internship, interns will be supervised by a UNIDROIT Officer with responsibility for the relevant work area, instrument or project. Interns are also able to undertake independent research projects in parallel with their internships while in the UNIDROIT library.

Internship candidates should apply during the annual application window (usually between July – September each year). Candidates can also apply for internships outside the annual application window, although candidates that apply outside the application window will not be eligible to receive a stipend. Candidates are encouraged to follow the Institute’s social media pages (FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter) to stay informed on when the next application window will open.

To apply for an internship, candidates must submit the following documents in English or French:

(i) a short cover letter that addresses (a) why the candidate wants to undertake an internship at UNIDROIT, (b) specifies the project(s) or instruments they wish to work on, and (c) notes the period(s) in the calendar year during which they would be available to undertake their internship.

(ii) their Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Candidates are welcome to submit an academic reference letter and/or a statement from a sponsoring institution (university, research centre or governmental entity) to support their application. Candidates will be assessed on (i) their cover letter, (ii) CV and (iii) their English/French proficiency, taking into account the needs of the Institute.

Interns are required to provide for their own travel, accommodation, living and personal insurance costs while undertaking their internships in Rome. Unfortunately, Rome can be an expensive city and the stipend that UNIDROIT provides to a limited number of interns is not sufficient to cover living costs. In addition to flight costs, costs for accommodation, food, transport and entertainment can be between 1000€ – 2000€ per month.

UNIDROIT encourages applicants to seek other sources of funding to cover the costs of undertaking their internships, including through their universities or third party institutions (such as Erasmus). As the UNIDROIT stipend is not sufficient to cover all travel and living costs, interns who receive UNIDROIT stipends are also permitted to seek funding from other sources.

To avoid unnecessary administrative costs for UNIDROIT and disappointment for applicants, candidates are requested not to apply unless they have access to sufficient funding to undertake an internship in Rome, by way of scholarships and/or personal savings.

For further information, please contact the UNIDROIT Scholarship, Internship and Research Programme Coordinator, Ms Laura Tikanvaara at l.tikanvaara@UNIDROIT.org.

Started in 2020 thanks to the generosity of Sir Roy Goode, the Sir Roy Goode Scholarship provides one outstanding post-graduate (doctoral) law student, lawyer, academic or government official with the opportunity to undertake research in the Unidroit Library and work with the Unidroit Secretariat for a period of 6-9 months on one or more topics related to one of the Institute’s high priority legislative projects or existing instruments. The Sir Roy Goode Scholarship provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights into the methods of private uniform law-making.

The Sir Roy Goode Scholar is provided with a monthly stipend for 6-9 months, in addition to return economy airfares from their country of residence and health insurance for the duration of their stay in Rome.

Past recipients include:

2020 – 2021: Ms Theodora Kostoula

2021 – 2022: Professor Teresa Rodriguez de las Heras Ballell

UNIDROIT welcomes public officials and lawyers from UNIDROIT member States to join its staff temporarily on Secondment: judges, public administration officials and professionals from public entities are invited to participate in the work of the Secretariat of UNIDROIT. Their full remuneration, health and pension schemes should continue to be fully covered by their employer during their Secondment at UNIDROIT.

The specific conditions of the secondment and the duties of the seconded person are agreed with the relevant public entity.

UNIDROIT currently has active secondment programmes with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Persons and Institutions interested in this kind of co-operation are invited to contact Ms Laura Tikanvaara: l.tikanvaara@unidroit.org

The Secretariat has over 30 co-operation agreements with academic institutions. Formalised through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, cooperation agreements allow for the development of joint research projects, initiatives or study programmes focused on UNIDROIT instruments; promotion of research stays or internships at UNIDROIT for professors and students or the establishment of joint fellowships.

Queen Mary University London / Unidroit Institute For Transnational Commercial Law

The QMUL – UNIDROIT Institute for Transnational Commercial Law was founded in 2016 following an initiative of Professor Sir Roy Goode and UNIDROIT President Professor Alberto Mazzoni through a concordat between QMUL and UNIDROIT.

On 9 February 2023, the partnership was relaunched with a signing ceremony held at the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), celebrating an agreement  signed by Professor Ignacio Tirado, Secretary-General of UNIDROIT, and Professor Professor Colin Grant, Vice-Principal (International) of QMUL . The Institute, with a newly appointed Executive, Management, and Advisory Boards,  is led by Professor Anna Veneziano and Professor Rosa Lastra as Co-Directors, Professor Sir Roy Goode as Founding Director and Dr Franziska Arnold-Dwyer as Deputy Director.

For further information on the academic cooperation agreements, please contact Ms Laura Tikanvaara: l.tikanvaara@unidroit.org

Established in 2021 with the support of the UNIDROIT Foundation, the UNIDROIT Alumni Association is a platform dedicated to the distinguished guests which have been welcomed to Villa Aldobrandini as part of UNIDROIT’s Scholarship, Internship, and Research Programme since 1993.

-> Further information

Incoming researchers and interns are entitled to a complimentary one year membership of the UNIDROIT Alumni Association. For more information, please contact alumni@unidroit.org.