Reading law student wins international undergraduate prize

A law student at the University of Reading has been awarded a research prize at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Third-year student Chantelle Bacchus beat 200 students from over 50 institutions globally to receive the prize, recognising her contribution to both the University of Reading and undergraduate research as a whole.

Her work on self-determination and peoplehood in international law was commissioned by the University of Reading as part of its Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), which sees around 50 undergraduates across all disciplines employed for six weeks each summer to assist lecturers with research projects.

UROP and placement development officer John Thompson said: “Chantelle found the experience really beneficial – it opened her eyes to the benefits of research. Other institutions offer undergraduate research experience but we are quite unique in providing bursaries on a large scale.

“Research topics are allocated by academic staff and then students apply with formal applications. Last year we had around six or seven students apply for each project.”

Bacchus, a law and legal systems in Europe student, said: “Taking part in Reading’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme is a big thing for me and the beginning of fulfilling a dream.

“It’s been a big eye-opener and has shown me the importance of legal research and the career opportunities that could follow on from it. I have developed a set of skills that will set me up for life including self-management, thorough researching and analysis at a higher level.”

Students presented their project findings via posters at the conference, distilling their conclusions and arguments down into easy-to-read points. This year’s event included a total of 80 student talks and 94 research project posters over two days.

Bacchus added: “I was totally shocked to win. My poster was next to a Cambridge University poster which had been receiving a lot of attention.”

Her research, An analysis of self-determination and peoplehood in international law, forms part of a project on Palestinian negotiation and statehood and its engagement with international institutions.