Student Vocational Bursary Scheme

The UKELA Vocational Bursary Fund is intended to enable students to undertake a period of vocational placement (such as an internship or externship) in the field of environmental law. 

Student Vocational Bursary Scheme 2022

UKELA are delighted to announce that we will be accepting applications for the Student Vocational Bursary Fund. The UKELA Vocational Bursary Fund is an award of up to £1000 that is intended to enable students who otherwise may not be able to undertake a period of vocational placement (such as an internship or externship) in the field of environmental law. Placements may be with a public body (e.g. a government department, local authority, regulatory agency), with a non-for-profit organisation such as a non-governmental organisation, with a university department, in private practice (legal or otherwise), or any other vocational placement which would further the charitable objects of UKELA.

If you wish to be considered for the 2022 bursary award, please complete the application form returning it no later than 3pm on 23 May 2020. A decision will be announced the week commencing 30 May 2022, with reports being required by November 2022.

Why apply for the UKELA Student Vocational Bursary?

Here are some of our previous recipients explaining how the bursary was beneficial for them:

"When I was awarded the bursary I was informally involved with projects that focussed on ‘instituting the rights of future generations’ into political and legal decision-making processes. The bursary gave me the opportunity to pursue the project formally with environmental NGOs working in this area and it enabled me to make new connections with others active in this area – many of whom I am still in touch with now as this work continues to be important and relevant. The bursary is an excellent way to gain experience in an area of work or as part of a project that can lay important foundations for a student's future career. I highly recommend students do think about applying for it!" Kirsty Schneeberger MBE, former UKELA Chair

"In 2015, I was lucky enough to be awarded the UKELA Student Vocational Bursary to fund my attendance at an international summer law school on the topic of ‘comparative and international environmental law’ in Salerno, Italy. As environmental law is not a core module at any university in the UK, and rarely an optional module at undergraduate level, I had been trying to ascertain whether I was truly passionate about the field, or whether I had simply been swayed by the greater number of opportunities that had been made available to me in this field over others. However, after attending the summer school, it became clear to me that I definitely wanted to develop a legal practice which makes this field special focus. Since then, I have continued to be actively involved in UKELA as an editorial assistant (2016-19), I have undertaken a masters course in which I was able to study environmental law in depth, and I have secured environmental law internships which have allowed me to gain some practical experience. Without this bursary, I am not sure that I would have applied for any of those and it amazes me that, four years later, my interest in environmental law has not wavered. I still cannot fully express the fullness of my gratitude to UKELA. I would strongly encourage other students to apply!"

Jessica Allen, 2015 recipient and former elaw assistant editor

"I was very fortunate to receive the support of UKELA’s student vocational bursary scheme to carry out a three month internship with ClientEarth’s energy and coal team at their Hackney office in 2017. My advice to others who may be considering a similar experience? Do it! You will learn a lot, you will contribute to an organisation which does socially valuable work, you will develop your legal skills and you will meet interesting people and make contacts that will be useful in the future."

Ben Christman, 2017 recipient and current elaw senior editorial assistant


2019 recipient

UKELA is delighted to announce that the 2019 recipient is Miguel Saldivia.

Miguel Saldivia is an environmental lawyer and expert in energy law and development of renewable energy projects. He holds a LLM in Environmental Law (University College London), a LLB (University of Chile) and a BA in Communication (University of Chile). Currently, he is a PhD candidate at University of Cambridge. His PhD research is focused on regulations for energy transition in developing countries. As part of his work experience, Miguel worked as attorney in the Environmental Law Department of Carey law firm, in Santiago de Chile. He also has been researcher in the Environmental Law Centre, Solar Energy Centre and Geothermal Energy Centre, all based in University of Chile. In that institution, he is also Lecturer of Right to Information and Teaching Assistant of Environmental Law. Mr. Saldivia has published academic papers addressing topics like water rights and national parks, legal barriers to entry of geothermal energy in Chile and environmental impact assessment of solar energy projects.

We look forward to reading his report on his internship with the Department of Sustainable Development Mechanisms based at the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) located in Bonn, Germany. Good luck, Miguel!


Student Vocational Bursary Scheme 2017 recipient 

The recipient of the 2017 bursary was Ben Christman. Ben completed a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast on the law on fuel poverty from an energy justice perspective, and went on to study the Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of Edinburgh. He has an LLM in environmental law and policy from University College London, and an LLB from the University of Aberdeen. He started his internship with ClientEarth’s energy and coal team in April 2017. Well done Ben, we look forward to reading your report.

Please see some of our previous winners below, who have gone on to take up fascinating roles in the environmental and legal world.

Our 2016 recipient was Navida Quadi.

Navida graduated in law at London Southbank University and undertook an LLM in "Human Rights, Conflict and Justice" at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She then worked in local government and housing for three years. Navida recently undertook the Bar Professional Training Course and hopes to secure pupillage and further her interests in environmental law.

She was offered an internship abroad by the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association who work to promote environmental justice and sound environmental jurisprudence.This was made possible by the award she received from UKELA. Navida recently updated us with the following:

"It's going well. I've been tasked with analysing a set of rules drafted after a landmark judgment on ship breaking. There's a lot of controversy around it and I'm learning a lot!

I'm also attending a hearing on loss of water of residents in Chittagong and field investigations in Sylhet. Very exciting indeed!"

Well done Navida - we look forward to seeing some photographs from your internship.


There were two winners of the UKELA Vocational Bursary Fund 2015. Jessica Allen attended a summer law school (SLS) on “International and European Environmental Law” organised by a regional group of the European Law Students Association (ELSA) called ELSA Salerno. The summer school was hosted by the University of Salerno in Italy from 6th to 10th July 2015.

Jessica says of the experience: "Through attending this SLS, I have been able to substantially increase my knowledge and awareness of environmental law issues in a far more effective way than if I were to research these topics on my own. The wealth and breadth of subjects covered have informed my understanding of how the law interacts with environmental protection. As regards professional development, I am now seriously considering a taught Master’s degree in international law." Jessica has since taken up the voluntary post of Assistant Editor on UKELA's journal, e-law, while she continues her studies.

Rina Kuusipalo spent summer 2015 from the beginning of June to the end of September as an Intern at the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. In particular, she worked on political strategy within the Office of the Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres (the head of the organisation).

Rina says: "It was a truly exciting time to be part of the secretariat’s work, to take part in the lead-up to the UN COP21 climate summit this December in Paris. This summit has produced a universal, legally binding agreement on climate change. As a law student, I found it fascinating to witness the immense work that goes into the legal drafting and political support for the agreement behind the scenes."


For general information on environmental issues, visit our sister site Law and Your environment