The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM EST on January 31, 2024. Read the submission guidelines below.

About the Competition

The Global Center for Legal Innovation on Food Environments (Global Center) — housed at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law — seeks to build scholarship and legal capacity, and provide technical assistance on issues related to healthy food law and policy. One of the main goals of the Global Center is to develop the knowledge and skills of the future generation of healthy food lawyers.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide, with almost three quarters of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The WHO also stresses that the rise of NCDs has been driven by a few risk factors, among which unhealthy diets. In this context, the Global Center Student Writing Competition is designed to stimulate research and conversation around emerging issues in food law and policy, examining how the law can play an important role in improving food environments to prevent diet-related NCDs.

We are pleased to announce the 2023 edition of this competition and invite all eligible applicants to submit papers on the topic “Food Environments and the Law.” Suggested thematic areas include, but are not limited to, legal interventions employed for the regulation of food environments. In particular, those meant to address diet-related risk factors of NCDs, including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Front-of-package labeling
  • Fiscal measures, including taxation
  • Restrictions on advertising and/or marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages
  • Regulation of school environments
  • Regulation of corporate social responsibility
  • Relationship between food environments and the environment
  • Lessons learned from COVID-19 on the relationship between food environments and the law

Eligible applicants should explore their chosen topic as it relates to one or more areas of the law (e.g., international human rights law, constitutional law, other legal human rights frameworks, administrative law, consumer law, corporate law, tax law, anti-trust law, environmental law, etc.), and are encouraged to think creatively about legal concepts and theories.

Winner and Runners-Up


Papers will be accepted from students currently pursuing their first law degree at law schools in Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, or Trinidad and Tobago.


  • Students engaged in projects financed by the Global Center are excluded
  • No previous/current interns or consultants at the O’Neill Institute may apply

Submission Guidelines

The paper submitted must be the original work of the author, although students may incorporate feedback received as part of an academic course or supervised writing project. Preference will be given to papers that are relevant to current healthy food law and policy debates or present an original perspective. The paper must not have been published or submitted for publication in another journal.

Papers will be evaluated based on thoroughness of research and analysis, relevance to the competition topic, relevance to current law and public policy debates, originality of thought, and clarity of expression.

  • Papers should be 4,000-7,500 words (excluding footnotes)
  • Papers must be written in English
  • Papers must be fully referenced according to a single consistent style
  • Plagiarism is prohibited, and plagiarized papers will be disqualified
  • Winners will also be required to submit evidence of enrollment at their schools

Papers must be submitted via email to with the email subject line “Global Center – Writing Competition.”

The file must be submitted in Word format, with the file named in the format “LastName_FirstName_WritingCompetition.”

Papers must be preceded by a cover page (included in the same Word file) containing the following information:

  • Full name of author
  • Name of law school
  • Program
  • Graduation year
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • The following affirmation: “I affirm that this paper is an original work of scholarship authored by me. The paper (or any variation thereof authored by me) has not been published, or committed for publication, in any other publication. I have read and agree to the Competition Rules.”


All submissions must be received via the stipulated channel by 11:59 PM EST on January 31, 2024.


Up to three winners may be selected. Winners will be invited to participate in a paid two-month, full-time internship program at the O’Neill Institute in Washington, D.C. The Global Center will cover the cost of one economy single airfare to and from Washington, D.C. for the selected winner(s). Winning papers will also be presented at Georgetown University Law Center and may be selected for publication on the website of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a PhD Student submit an entry for this essay competition?
No, this competition is only open to students pursuing their first degree in law (e.g., J.D. or LL.B. students or the equivalent).

What countries are eligible?
Eligible students in Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago are welcome to apply.

When will the internship be?
The internship will run either from June-July 2024 or January-February 2025, based on the winners’ academic calendars.


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