In line with ESIL’s goals of encouraging high-level scholarship, developing a greater awareness and understanding of international law, and promoting younger researchers, the ESIL Board decided to award the ESIL Young Scholar Prize (YSP) at each ESIL Annual Conference for an outstanding paper submitted and presented by an early-career scholar. The Prize was first awarded in 2015.

The Prize consists of two years’ free membership of the Society, plus a contribution towards the costs of travel and accommodation at the conference.

The winner of the ESIL Young Scholar Prize is announced in the conference programme and the Prize certificate is awarded during the conference dinner. The prize-winning paper may be published in the European Journal of International Law (subject to review).

ESIL is very grateful to Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (Wilmer Hale), a global law firm, for their sponsorship of the Prize.


Eligibility conditions

The YSP will be awarded for the best paper submitted to the conference or to a pre-conference Interest Group event by scholars at an early stage in their career. Early-career scholars are (i) candidates for a postgraduate degree in law; (ii) PhD candidates or those who have had their oral defence no longer than 3 years prior to the submission of an abstract; or (iii) those who are within the first 5 years of their career following the award of their last academic degree and who can provide evidence of their contribution to legal scholarship through academic publication.

Candidates for the Prize have to be ESIL members at the time of submitting their abstract. Co-authored articles will only be considered for the prize if all authors fulfill the eligibility criteria.

In order to be considered, candidates are asked to provide the following information when submitting the abstract:

  • An expression of interest in competing for the ESIL Young Scholar Prize
  • Details of academic background, which indicate how the eligibility criteria are met e.g. date of PhD defence, etc.
  • Date of joining ESIL

Upon acceptance of the abstract for presentation at the conference or at an Interest Group event and confirmation that they are eligible for the YSP, authors must submit a paper of between 8,000 and 12,000 words (including footnotes) to the ESIL Secretariat by 1 July for consideration by the YSP jury.

ESIL strongly encourages young scholars to apply for future conferences and compete for the Prize. The YSP jury consists of three ESIL members selected by the ESIL Board.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for the Young Scholar Prize, please contact the ESIL Secretariat



2021 Young Scholar Prize

  • The 2021 Prize was awarded to Dr. Eliana Cusato, Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (UvA), for her paper Problematising climate security: international lawmaking, conflict, and violence in the Anthropocene.

2020 Young Scholar Prize

There was no 2020 Young Scholar Prize, since the 2020 Annual Conference was postponed until 2021.

2019 Young Scholar Prize

  • The 2019 Prize was awarded to Alice Ollino, PhD researcher at the University of Milan Bicocca, for her paper Human Rights in Transboundary Contexts: Some Critical Remarks on the Emergence of an “Effects Jurisdiction” Model in International Human Rights Law.
  • The jury also awarded an honourable mention to Marie-Catherine Petersmann, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, for her paper Circumventing Sovereignty: Rethinking Climate Change from a Relational, Embodied and Unbounded Perspective.

2018 Young Scholar Prize

  • The 2018 Prize was awarded to Ríán Derrig, PhD researcher at the European University Institute, for his paper Educating American Modernists: The Psychoanalytic Jurisprudence of the ‘New Haven School’. It was published in the European Journal of International Law in August 2020.
  • The jury also awarded an honourable mention to Cheah W.L., Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore, for her paper Courts as Cross-cultural Translators: An Expressivist Analysis of the Judicial Accommodation of Cultural Evidence in International Criminal Law Trials

2017 Young Scholar Prize

  • The 2017 Prize was awarded to Joshua Paine, Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg, for his paper Evaluating the Distinctive Contribution of International Adjudication as a Global Public Good.
    The paper International Adjudication as a Global Public Good? was published in the European Journal of International Law in November 2018.

2015 Young Scholar Prize 

  • The 2015 Prize was awarded to Malcolm Langford, Postdoctoral Fellow, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and Pluricourts Centre of Excellence, University of Oslo, for his paper Managing Backlash: The Evolving Investment Treaty Arbitrator? (co-authored with Daniel Behn). The paper Managing Backlash: The Evolving Investment Treaty Arbitrator? was published in the European Journal of International Law in May 2018.