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Yuxiao Wang

Pgr Scholarship

Pgr Scholarship in the Durham Law School
PhD candidate in the Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)


Yuxiao is a full-time PhD Candidate in Law at Durham Law School, specialising in international water law and water governance. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in law (first-class equivalent) at School of Law, Xiamen University as a Foreign-related Legal Talent, and was awarded a CSC scholarship for a six-month undergraduate exchange programme at Faculty of Law, Maastricht University on comparative law and international law. She also received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE), Xiamen University and is a quantitative researcher and a proficient R user.

Yuxiao joined Durham Law School in 2019, proudly graduating with the highest mark within her cohort (with a tie) and receiving her master’s degree in law with Distinction. She was also awarded two LLM prizes for the best overall mark of her stream (International Law and Governance) and the highest mark of graduation thesis (Best Dissertation). She returned to Durham University to pursue her doctoral degree in October 2021 and has been entrusted a three-year Durham Law School Studentship since then.

As a water lawyer focusing on transboundary issues all over the world, Yuxiao loves to collaborate with people and organisations of diverse backgrounds. She recently joined the Emerging Scholars Initiative (ESI) of International Water Law Academy (situated in Wuhan, China) and will be working with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) for the coming World Water Week 2022. Alongside her research, Yuxiao undertakes teaching jobs at Durham Law School, working as a part-time tutor for various undergraduate modules such as Contract Law.

Yuxiao speaks Chinese (native), English (proficient) and French (basic) and is a certified Chinese-English translator in China.

Current Research

Yuxiao regards current international water law “a law in formation”, taking an interest in interdisciplinary solutions to cutting-edge water law problem. Her doctoral research, as a continuation of her LLM dissertation, considers asymmetrical power relations behind inter-state water practice. This power asymmetry – that one riparian country is significantly stronger in (political, economic, military, and thus bargaining) power than others – makes international water law, represented by the principle of equitable and reasonable utilisation, harder to “get down” into regional context. On the other hand, reciprocity, a conception being both a strategy for international collaboration and an underlying principle of public international law, is helping facilitating cooperation and even substantial “rules” in several international river basins. Taking examples from the Orange-Senqu, the Mekong, and the Brahmaputra basins, Yuxiao aims to explore if and how reciprocity bridges over the principle (equitable and reasonable utilisation) and the reality (power asymmetry), and whether reciprocity should be regarded as an alternative way of international water law in achieving regional water governance.

Research group

Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS), Durham University


Dr Olivia Woolley (as Primary Supervisor)

Dr Henry Jones (as Secondary Supervisor)

Research interests

  • International Water Law
  • Public International Law
  • Sustainable Water Governance