2016 Schoemaker-Sustainalytics Student Competition Business & Human Rights

Are you passionate about sustainability? Do you have an original idea for a paper that could contribute to the field of business and human rights? If so, describe your topic in 500 words and you may win an opportunity to conduct research into your topic and further your knowledge of corporate social responsibility (CSR) through an internship with Sustainalytics.

Sustainalytics and the NJCM announce the 2nd edition of the Schoemaker-Sustainalytics Student Competition Business and Human Rights, which was launched in 2014 as a tribute to late Daan Schoemaker. Schoemaker was a human rights expert with Sustainalytics from 2009 until 2012. He joined the board of the Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM) in 2009, and became Vice Chair in 2010. This award was established to create opportunities for motivated students interested in pursuing a career in business and human rights.

The first winner of the Competition was Remco Slim from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Remco was awarded with a 4 month internship at Sustainalytics where he studied business and human rights-related court cases. He studied these cases from different jurisdictions to assess how corporations can cope with the increasing uncertainty regarding their legal accountability on business and human rights issues in a fragmented judicial system. On his experience with Sustainalytics, Remco says:

‘Gaining insights from enthusiastic human rights experts who want to make the world a better place: that is what the internship at Sustainalytics in cooperation with the NJCM has brought me. During my internship I gained a lot of experience which enriched my studies and formed me for the future.’

Dutch-speaking candidates can read more on Remco’s internship experience at www.NJCM.nl. (See: ‘Jaarverslag 2014’)

For more information on Sustainalytics visit their website.


1. Participation is open to all current students of a master’s level university education, of which at least a component was completed in the Netherlands. Furthermore, applicants must be registered as a student at an EU educational institution for the duration of the internship.

2. Participants are expected to be both aware of, and in agreement with, the eligibility requirements in this regulation.

3. Students who fulfil the criteria under (1) may submit a proposal for an essay in the area of Business & Human Rights. The proposal must:
– Be written in English;
– Be no longer than 500 words;
– Outline the main topic of the essay, its relevance for the field of business & human rights, and the proposed research methods.

4. All submissions should be accompanied by proof of registration at an EU educational institution, a curriculum vitae and the name and contact details of an academic reference. Submissions must be sent to in digital format, no later than February 19, 2016. Submissions received after this date will not be considered.

5. Once selected, the essay on the winning proposal, must:
– Be written in English;
– Be between 4,000 and 6,000 words in length;
– Be completed during the internship with Sustainalytics;
– Address the topic of business and human rights
(the topic does not need to be directly applicable for Sustainalytics, but may also have broader societal or scientific relevance).


6. NJCM will acknowledge receipt of the essay proposals specified under (3) within fourteen working days of receipt.

7. A pre-selection of proposals will be made, based on whether these satisfy criteria under (1) and (3) above. If more than ten proposals are submitted that satisfy these criteria, NJCM will make a shortlist of ten candidates on the basis of the following criteria:
a. Originality of the research topic;
b. Relevance for the area of business and human rights;
c. Quality and academic level of the proposal;
d. Degree of innovative insight.

8. A committee three to five experts from NJCM’s membership base, including one representative from Sustainalytics, will assess the proposals that were shortlisted under (7), using the criteria specified under (7). The committee will present the top three proposals to Sustainalytics for a last assessment round. The top three candidates will receive notification by March 11, 2016.

9. The three candidates shortlisted under (8) will be invited to present their proposals to a Sustainalytics selection committee in the period of 14-30 March 2016. In addition to the criteria named under (7), a subjective assessment of the candidates’ motivation, skills, and passion for sustainability and human rights will form part of the assessment. References may be contacted at this stage.

10. In the case of participation of a relative of one of the members of the committees of readers from either NJCM or Sustainalytics, this member will be replaced by a reserve member. In the case of a (former) student who is supervised by one of the members of the commission of readers, this member shall likewise be replaced by a reserve-member.

11. In the case of unforeseen situations not covered by this regulation, the chairman of the committee of readers from Sustainalytics, as specified under (9) will pronounce a decision.

12. Sustainalytics will select a winning candidate by April 1, 2016, and will communicate this selection to all applicants.


13. The prize will be an internship placement with Sustainalytics in Amsterdam, for a three to four-month period for four or five working days a week. The internship will commence no later than Monday 4 July 2016, for a duration and on a date to be mutually agreed upon by Sustainalytics/the winning candidate. During the internship, the winning candidate will be involved in Sustainalytics’ activities in the area of ESG (environment, social & governance) research, with a focus on the area of business and human rights. There will so be room to work on the essay as indicated under (4).

14. Interns will receive a stipend in accordance with the regulations of the applicable Sustainalytics office; this consists of EUR 450 per month on a full time basis and full reimbursement of commuting expenses.

15. Depending on the quality and innovativeness of the essay, Sustainalytics and the NJCM will determine whether there are possibilities for publication through their respective networks.


Contact NJCM at NJCM@law.leidenuniv.nl or go to www.NJCM.nl.

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About Otto Spijkers

Otto Spijkers is Professor of International Law at the China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies (CIBOS), Wuhan University. Previously, he was a lecturer of Public International Law at Utrecht University, Senior Research Associate with the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), and researcher with the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL). He is also a member of the Committee on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development of the International Law Association. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University, Xiamen University’s China International Water Law Programme (China), the China Institute for Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University (China), the Law School of the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL) in Shanghai (China), the Università degli Studi di Salerno (Italy), and the Association pour la promotion des droits de l'homme en Afrique centrale (APDHAC) of the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale (Yaoundé, Cameroon). Previously, he was a PhD candidate and lecturer at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden. His doctoral dissertation, entitled The United Nations, the Evolution of Global Values and International Law, was published with Intersentia in 2011. He worked as public services coordinator at the Peace Palace Library, as international consultant and coordinator for the United Nations International Law Fellowship Programme, as intern for the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and as intern for the Office of Legal Affairs of United Nations Headquarters. Otto Spijkers is editor and author of the Invisible College Blog, the blog of the School of Human Rights Research. Otto Spijkers studied the basics of international relations at the University of Sussex. He then studied international law at the University of Amsterdam, New York University School of Law (exchange student), and the Hague Academy of International Law (2009 session). He studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Malta (exchange). He obtained a Diplôme approfondi de langue française.

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