Public Procurement Research Group

PhD Students


Lea Di Salvatore

Lea Di Salvatore

Lea Di Salvatore is a PhD researcher at the School of Law of the University of Nottingham. Her current research investigates the regulation of the fossil fuel industry in the era of climate change. She also works on Climate Justice and EU Law. Previously she worked on climate justice for the Sustainable Development Observatory at the European Economic and Social Committee and on environmental mediation for the Milan Chamber of Arbitration. She is also one of the founders of the Sustainable Development Watch, the academic platform of the LL.M. in Sustainable Development of the University of Milan.


Ashraf-Ul-Bari Nobel

Ashraf-Ul-Bari Nobel

Ashraf completed his LLB Hons under the University of London International Programme in 2012. The following year, he went on become a qualified Barrister of England and Wales as a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. He completed his Bar Professional Training Course from Manchester Metropolitan University. Subsequently, he got enrolled as an advocate of Bangladesh and practiced as a lawyer in Bangladesh for a year before coming to the University of Nottingham in 2014 to commence his LLM specialising in International Commercial Law which he eventually passed with Distinction. In addition, he received accreditation as a Mediator from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), London, UK and is also a listed Mediator for Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre.

Presently, he is studying for his PhD at the University of Nottingham focusing on the area of Public Procurement Law with full funding by way of the Vice Chancellor's Scholarship for Research Excellence (International) and the School of Law Scholarship. His research is being supervised by Prof Sue Arrowsmith and Dr Ping Wang.

The focus of Ashraf's PhD is on the existing supplier review system under the public procurement laws of Bangladesh. Public procurement in Bangladesh is said to account for 70% of the annual development budget. Consequently, it is vital that the funds are properly utilised by the procuring officials in accordance with the relevant rules. One of the ways this is ensured is through the supplier review process.

His research's objectives are to critically analyse the current supplier review system of Bangladesh and then provide critique of these rules by drawing on the approaches taken under various international procurement-specific legal instruments, namely the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement 2011, World Trade Organisation's Revised Agreement on Government Procurement 2012, European Union Remedies Directive 2007/66/EC and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Non-Binding Principles on Government Procurement. The aim is to identify and evaluate options for improving the present Bangladeshi system by using the other legal regimes as examples of proper and acceptable practices.

It is envisaged that the findings of this research will be valuable in informing the policy makers and legislatures of the country about the defects encumbering the current process and the possible reforms that could be introduced to develop a system which is credible, effective and acceptable in the international community. The thesis might also have implications for the design of enforcement systems of other countries that are also currently having issues with underdeveloped procurement regimes.

Supervisors: Professor Sue Arrowsmith and Dr Ping Wang 


Jamie Thomas

Jamie Thomas

Jamie Thomas is a part-time PhD researcher at the School of Law of the University of Nottingham, also working as a public procurement professional. He has a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews (2003). More recently, Jamie completed the Executive Programme in Public Procurement Law at the University of Nottingham, graduating with an LLM (Distinction) in 2017, which encouraged him to continue to pursue a PhD. An article based on the findings of his LLM research project was published in the Public Procurement Law Review in 2018.

Professionally, Jamie has worked in public procurement for over 12 years (and counting), first in local government and more recently in the Civil Service, where he is currently Strategic Procurement Officer at National Savings and Investments but has also joined projects across the Government Commercial Function. This career has allowed him to develop an extensive practical working knowledge of public procurement law and policy, which complements his research interests. Alongside this he is also a Principal Associate of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), speaking regularly at their conferences and practice seminars.

Jamie's PhD research seeks to examine the evidence base for relatively recent public policy changes in the UK, where government has used regulation, rather than guidance, as a means to tackle perceived barriers which, it is claimed, prevent SMEs from obtaining fair access to public contract opportunities. Focusing on one specific "barrier", that of shortlisting or "PQQ" procedures, the overall aim of the research project is to help improve understanding of how SMEs interact with public procurers, on the basis of robust data, and to support evidence-led policymaking in this area.

His supervisors are Professor David Fraser and Dr Peter Trepte.



Laura Broomfield

Laura Broomfield

Determining the Risk of Legal Challenge of Incorporating Sustainable Public Procurement in Public Contracts

Public procurement can be full of uncertainty, resulting in decisions to be made. These decisions could impact the choice of an unsuccessful tenderer or candidate to exercise their rights to a review under the Remedies Directive. This research will develop a method for looking at the risk of legal challenge in public procurement in Europe, and whether this risk is impacted through the inclusion of a horizontal policy goal.


Steven Brunning

Steven Brunning completed his law degree at Cambridge University after which he completed his Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School and qualified as a solicitor at Browne Jacobson LLP in 2007. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Competition Law from King’s College, London. In his career as a solicitor, Steven has held a number of roles in which he has specialised in public sector contracting with a particular focus on public procurement law. These roles have been both in house (eg Nottinghamshire County Council) and in private practice. Steven is about to join the public sector team at Gowling WLG, an international law firm where he will continue to develop his public procurement practice in the long term.

Steven’s research is focused on the application of the public procurement rules to framework agreements in the UK public sector. His study will use a socio-legal approach by combining an analysis of the legal rules and the use of text based research with a qualitative empirical study to reveal how the public procurement rules on framework agreements are interpreted, applied and supplemented by UK contracting authorities. Steven is interested in identifying what discrepancies exist between the black letter law and its application in practice and plans to investigate how the grey areas of the law in this area are interpreted and whether there is a need for further clarification or guidance. In addition, it will seek to identify the factors that influence compliance and approach to legal risk (including an analysis of the strategies used to deal with these risks).


Kuldip Dhanoya

Kuldip Dhanoya

Kuldip Dhanoya is a Legal Director at TLT Solicitors in Manchester with over 16 years' experience of advising a wide range of public sector bodies on their public procurement exercises. She regularly advises under a wide range of PPP structures including PFI, joint ventures and outsourcing and other strategic partnering arrangements. She has a particular expertise in assisted her clients on structuring procurement and state aid compliant land development/infrastructure projects and more generally, defending procurement challenges.

In 2015, Kuldip recently passed her Masters’ in Public Procurement Law and Policy with Distinction, which she studied at the University of Nottingham School of Law.


Mirella Lechna

Mirella Lechna

Mirella is a partner in the Polish law firm Wardynski & Partners with over 20 years of experience that includes advising clients in public procurement matters. She holds a long track record of advising in a wide range of major infrastructure projects in Poland in various industries, mostly in energy, telecommunications and transport infrastructure projects.

Mirella graduated from the law faculty of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland) and in 2017 she completed cum laude the Master’s Programme in Public Procurement Law and Policy offered by the University of Nottingham School of Law.

Mirella’s PhD research project is concerned with the tension between the objectives of the single European market and the legal tools for achieving them, as employed in public procurement law, with a “ buy national” objective of domestic economic patriotism in the era of increasing Euroscepticism, which translates into discrimination of suppliers based on their nationality.

The project is seeking to contribute to an understanding of the above by explaining the supranational legal framework and the derogations it introduces, which can be applied by reasons of public policy or public security, or to protect essential security interests at public procuring, despite them being a hindrance to trade, and then investigating the domestic rules that enable the EU Member States to resort to the above derogations.

Supervisors: Aris Georgopoulos and Ping Wang


Rebecca Rees

Rebecca is a partner at the international law firm, Trowers and Hamlins LLP, where she co-heads the Public Procurement team and specialises in advising public authorities and private sector bidders on public procurement and state aid law. She is undertaking her PhD studies on a part-time basis.

Rebecca studied her bachelors in law at the University of Southampton, graduating with an LLB with First Class Honours in 2000. More recently, Rebecca undertook the Executive Programme in Public Procurement Law (PG Cert) at the University of Nottingham as a route back into academia and her PhD studies.


Dan Schoeni

Daniel Schoeni

Dan has been a judge advocate with the US Air Force since 2004, where he has worked in prosecution and defence litigation, public procurement, and security cooperation. He was recently selected to serve as the first Staff Judge Advocate at Creech AFB, Nevada. Dan has been an adjunct at King’s College London’s new public procurement LLM since 2016.

Dan’s thesis addresses the structural restrictions on US/EU public procurement trade. He considers as a hypothetical what would happen if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership passed, and describes the non-tariff barriers that would remain notwithstanding such a free trade agreement.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University (Utah), earned a joint degree in law and philosophy at the University of Iowa (JD/MA), received LLM degrees in public procurement law from George Washington University and the University of Nottingham, and has been a part-time PhD student at the latter institution since 2015.

Supervisors: Peter Trepte and Craig Rotherham



Recently graduated students

Carlos Sebastian Barreto Cifuentes

Sebastian Barreto has a law degree from the Externado University of Colombia (First) and a Master of Laws (distinction) from the University of Nottingham. He has been a qualified lawyer in Colombia since 2014. He was tutor, assistant-researcher and teacher-researcher at the Administrative Law Department at the Externado University of Colombia from 2011 to 2015.

In private practice, he was part of two boutique law firms as a junior associate (Alberto Montaña Abogados and Jorge E Santos Rodríguez-Abogado), where he was involved in advising public authorities and contractors on public procurement procedures as well as in domestic litigation and arbitration.

His research focuses in the interface between public procurement objectives and the legal regime of the management stage. In broad terms, his research aims to identify considerations that national and international regulatory bodies could take into consideration in deciding whether and how to deal with the management stage of public contracts, focusing on modification and termination of contracts.

The research will draw on case studies to be undertaken of four national jurisdictions: England and Wales, United States of America, France, and Colombia. The international regulatory frameworks that will be taken into consideration are those of the World Bank, the European Union, the OECD, UNCITRAL, and the WTO.

Supervisors: Professor Sue Arrowsmith and Dr Aris Georgopoulos

Ke Ren

Ke Ren is a PhD candidate in public procurement law. She has an LLB from the Wuhan University (China, 2008-2012) and a LLM in International Commercial Law from University of Nottingham (2012-2013). Her current research focuses on the use and regulation of framework agreements in Chinese public procurement.

Framework agreements have been widely used in public procurement in China for a long time. However there is currently neither legal rule nor a uniform definition of framework agreements in Chinese national procurement laws and regulations. Legal issues arising from the use of framework agreements in practice, which have attracted significant amount of public opinion, have not been thoroughly analysed by the literature.

Her research aims to examine how framework agreements are used in Chinese public procurement (including procurement by SOEs); to analyse the problems and challenges encountered in practice that may undermine the potential benefits of this procurement method; informed by the comparative analysis of relevant legal rules in other jurisdictions such as EU and US, to identify possible options for China to regulate framework agreements procurement in a coherent, sound and practical manner in order to maximise the benefits of this popular procurement method whilst minimise potential abuse.

Given the severe paucity of relevant data in the public domain, the research uses the qualitative research factors and includes interviews with selected participants who have actually been involved in the framework agreement procurement in China.

Supervisors: Dr Ping Wang and Dr Annamaria La Chimia

Astghik Solomonyan

Astghik Solomonyan is a graduate from Yerevan State University Faculty of Law (Honor Diploma). She has studied in the University of Groningen (LLM degree with Cum Laude Diploma in International Economic and Business Law) as well as in the University of Rome Tor Vergata (International Master in Public Procurement Management). She has worked for the OECD Sigma project as a Translation Consultant, in a local company as a lawyer, as well as in the World Vision International Beneficent Organization in the capacity of Contracts Assistant. Astghik has been involved in the work carried out by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in the Armenian public procurement sector looking at e-procurement challenges and legal compliance with country’s international commitments.

Her research relates to the institutional and procedural set up of review bodies found in different international trade agreements. The thesis will evolve around three international trade agreements, namely the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, the Treaty on Eurasian Economic Union and the bilateral agreements signed by Armenia and Kazakhstan with the EU. The main question is whether there is conflict of norms and whether the mentioned countries can comply with all the undertaken international obligations.

Supervisors: Dr Aris Georgopoulos and Dr Narine Ghazaryan.


Public Procurement Research Group

School of Law
Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 951 5700