Business and Human Rights Clinic

Solving human rights challenges in practice!

What is a Business and Human Rights Clinic?

Clinical education was first established by law schools in the US over three decades ago. Clinics as part of the law school curriculum offer students the opportunity to gain hands-on legal experience through real cases and pro bono legal aid to clients.

The Business and Human Rights (BHR) Clinic at the GCBHR serves the same purpose of bringing students closer to practical business and human rights work. Unlike any course offered in business schools, the BHR Clinic bridges the gap between theory and practice. It incentivizes action-oriented research and enables a closer collaboration between academia and industry.

Students work together in a small team over five months and will develop concrete solutions for a real-life human rights challenge that has been submitted by a corporate or organizational partner. Students interact with company representatives and gain first-hand insights into their perspective on human rights.

Please refer to our brochure (PDF) and the UNIGE webpage on the BHR Clinic as a pedagogical innovation.

BHR Clinic 2023/24

The challenge of the Business and Human Rights Clinic 2023/24 relates to the rights of migrant workers, focusing on the country contexts of Guatemala and India. The BHR Clinic lasts from mid-November 2023 to mid-May 2024.

How do Students and Partners Benefit?

Over a period of 5–6 months, a team of up to eight students enrolled in the Master in Responsible Management work together with instructors from the GCBHR and an organizational partner to jointly develop solutions for a business and human rights challenge. The objective of the BHR Clinic is to explore implementation strategies for human rights in corporate practice.

The BHR Clinic allows students to gain practical experience on corporate engagement with human rights. Tackling real business challenge enables students to apply theoretical concepts to practice and gain applied skills. Students develop their analytical skills, formulate concrete action steps, and learn to manage a project and communicate their results to partners. These skills will be most important once they are themselves in roles that require managing human rights challenges in corporate practice.

The BHR Clinic provides an opportunity for the partner to connect with experts on business and human rights from academia and the most recent academic studies. Companies also obtain the perspective of the next generation of talent on potential solutions to these challenges. The student group and project management will be done by an experienced academic project lead.

Examples of Challenges

Spring semester 2021/22 in collaboration with Holcim: The students developed customized training scenarios for the security and human rights functions. They co-facilitated an online training for approx. 100 participants of Holcim’s global staff and produced an executive summary for the ExCo team.

Fall semester 2022/23 in collaboration with the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA). The students developed indicators to measure the “S” in ESG for security-related human rights issues. This rating methodology is integrated into ICoCA’s engagement to capacitate the investor community to assess companies’ human rights due diligence and can be used by rating agencies and companies alike.

Spring semester 2022/23 in collaboration with Microsoft. The students identified key factors that build societal resilience in the face of cyber influence operations and disinformation campaigns. They critically assessed the role that tech companies can and should play and design potential interventions.

Application Process for Students

Students who are enrolled in the UniGE Master of Science in Responsible Management program are eligible to apply for the Clinic by submitting their CV and a short motivation letter. The detailed application procedure will be explained during in the welcome meeting for the Master in Responsible Management.

The BHR Clinic starts a few weeks after the semester start and lasts between five to six months. The Clinic is an Institutional Project and contributes 6 ECTS for the master’s degree. All work is conducted in English.

Application Process for Partners

Companies or organizations interested in supporting the BHR Clinic and becoming a corporate partner are asked to pitch a relevant and exciting business and human rights challenge to the GCBHR and, if selected, support the BHR Clinic with a donation between 8’000 CHF and 20’000 CHF.

Interested organizations should develop their pitch (1-3 pages) and submit their challenge to We also offer to discuss and refine a challenge idea in a meeting before the selection of the clinic partner.

Learn more about becoming a partner for the BHR Clinic! We accept applications on a rolling basis.

Business and Human Rights Clinic Brochure

Students and partners participating in a BHR Clinic workshop