Two Doctoral Students Receive Prestigious SSHRC Bombardier Scholarships

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2016

Two Faculty of Law doctoral students, Sophie de Saussure and Sarit Mizrahi, have received doctoral scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) prestigious Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program.

The Bombardier Scholarships aim to “develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement in undergraduate and graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities” (SSHRC Doctoral Awards).  Valued at $35,000 over a period of three years, the scholarships are awarded through an open competition that sees submissions across a wide variety of eligible subject areas.

Sophie de Saussure received her scholarship for her doctoral research entitled “Parents incarcérés, enfants protégés ? Étude de l’impact du concept d’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant lors de la détermination et de l’exécution de la peine d’un parent” (Translation: “Incarcerated parents, protected children? A study of the impact of the ‘best interests of the child’ concept in the sentencing of a parent”).  Ms. de Saussure explores how criminal justice intervention could be improved and redesigned to reduce the use of incarceration, taking into account the consequences arising from prison sentences.  These consequences are easy to observe in the individual who is incarcerated, but they can also affect those close to him or her, including relatives and children. “Through this project, I am exploring how a consideration of the situations of such children might contribute to a sanction that is more respectful of individuals’ human rights, anchored in the realities they inhabit.”

Ms. de Saussure’s research undertakes the unique challenge of decentralizing a traditionally-held perspective during sentencing that is heavily focused on the offense and the offender.  She seeks instead to shed light on the social ties that the individual has with his or her children. This focus acknowledges a particularly vulnerable section of the population that is rarely seen or discussed in political and media spaces. In this sense, Ms. de Saussure’s research aims to improve the visibility of children during the sentencing process, sparking a dialogue on some of the lesser known issues related to the functioning of the penal system.  Ultimately, she hopes this can inform the larger debate on improving our justice system.

Ms. de Saussure is also the recipient of a special honour associated with her scholarship.  As part of the Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela Program, she has been awarded an honorific title “in Honour of Nelson Mandela” to be associated with her scholarship.  The honour recognizes graduate students conducting research in a variety of areas championed by Nelson Mandela.  Ms. de Saussure’s project was chosen for its focus on human rights, children’s participation in society and children’s health.

Ms. de Saussure’s thesis supervisor is Professor Margarida Garcia of the Civil Law Section, whose work centres on human rights and criminal law and which has garnered national and international attention.  Upon completion of her doctorate, Ms. de Saussure plans to continue her academic career as a professor.

In addition to earning the Bombardier Scholarship, Ms. de Saussure was also awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and a doctoral scholarship from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC).  She refused the latter two in favour of the Bombardier Scholarship.

Sarit Mizrahi received her scholarship for her doctoral thesis entitled “Copyright in Cloud Environments: Liability for Infringement.”  Her research seeks to examine the aspects of cloud computing technology that could affect the copyright protection available to creative works that are used, stored and created in the cloud environment. As she explains, “Its aim is to outline how copyright might be managed in the cloud in a manner that adequately addresses both user and creator rights, while also suggesting a framework of liability for copyright infringement that would be best suited to the cloud within the Canadian context.”  This research is important because of its wide-ranging scope and applicability. “It aims to add new insight into both the effects of cloud computing technology on copyright protection,” she explains, “as well as on the dichotomy between user rights and creator rights in this environment.”

Ms. Mizrahi’s thesis supervisors are Common Law’s Michael Geist and Jeremy de Beer, both internationally-renowned experts on copyright law.  After she completes her doctorate, Ms. Mizrahi hopes to follow in their footsteps to pursue an academic career in law as a professor working on the cutting edge of technology law.    

The Faculty of Law congratulates Ms. de Saussure and Ms. Mizrahi on their exceptional achievements, and wishes them the best of luck in their studies. 

The Bombardier scholarships are named in honour of Joseph-Arman Bombardier, a Canadian inventor and businessman who, among his many career accomplishments, invented the snowmobile and founded Bombardier Inc., which is today one of the world’s largest aerospace and transportation companies.

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