PhD Scholarships

Information about available scholarships and postgraduate research funding.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences typically offers a number of PhD scholarships across Schools on an annual basis. Scholarships might also be offered through some of our research centres. Students can apply for scholarships from funding agencies such as the Irish Research Council.

Current PhD Scholarships on Offer

Four full interdisciplinary PhD Scholarships on topics in Climate & Society on offer in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at DCU

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Dublin City University is currently offering four full scholarships on specific themes dedicated to Climate and Society. Each multidisciplinary scholarship will be shared across two Schools. For details on each scholarship, eligibility, and on how to apply, click on one of the topic links below. Candidates may apply for one scholarship only.

The School of English and the School of Applied Language & Intercultural Studies

 

PhD Scholarship in Climate & Society

Have you completed or expect very soon to complete an MA in Children’s/Young Adult Literature Studies? Are you interested in carrying out interdisciplinary doctoral research on ecocritical approaches to multicultural and multimodal children’s and young adult literature, commencing in September 2021? 

The School of English and School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies are offering a fully funded, four-year fees + stipend scholarship in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Dublin City University. The project will be supervised by Dr Keith O’Sullivan and Dr Áine McGillicuddy.

This is one of four interdisciplinary PhD scholarships being offered in the Faculty from 2021. Note that candidates may apply for one of these four scholarships only.

TITLE‘A glitch in geological time’ – an examination of the nature-culture dichotomy in multicultural and multimodal texts for children and young adults.

DESCRIPTION:

Children’s and young adult literature have vital roles in addressing current ecological concerns and the move towards a sustainable, eco-centric lifestyle; however, the value of complex, multimodal literature in representing nature, culture and place, as opposed to more didactic, anthropocentric literature, has not been thoroughly explored in research to date. Cutter-Mackenzie et. al suggest that research in children’s literature should undergo ‘a profound, risky, hopeful and structurally legitimising shift as an important generator of human understanding…in this field of inquiry’ (2011, 252). Thus, the potential insights developed in this study will have implications not only for ongoing literary scholarship, but also for policy around children’s and young adult literature and publishing, at a time when the world grapples with major social and ecological issues, and when ideas relating to place, nature and culture are being rapidly reconceptualised. 

The proposed study will investigate the representation of the nature-culture dichotomy in a selection of multicultural and multimodal picturebooks. This analysis will be underpinned by an ecocritical methodological approach. The study is thematically concerned with ‘place’ and ‘connectedness to place’ and focuses on representations of nature in literature, examining how texts may erode the boundaries between nature and culture, and how literary representations and lived experience of nature converge, thus informing contemporary debates within Children’s and Young Adult Literature Studies and the growing field of environmental humanities.

 

Candidate profile
The ideal candidate must have completed or expect very soon an MA or equivalent degree in Children’s or Young Adult Literature or a closely related area. The candidate is expected to have a first-class or upper second-class honours bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree. In addition, the applicant should

  • have a strong interest in ecocriticism, visual literacy studies, multimodal literary studies;
  • have a strong background in the study of children’s and young adult literature;
  • have excellent skills in literary criticism, especially ecocriticism and visual literacy;
  • have excellent knowledge of written and spoken English (See DCU’s requirements for English language skills; applicants must ensure that they meet these requirements before submitting an application);
  • meet DCU’s entry requirements in general (see general entry requirements here).

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Deadline:

The strict deadline for application is: 17 May 2021 (5pm, UTC+1). Applications received after this deadline will not be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview towards the end of May or beginning of June.

What to submit:

Candidates should email their applications in a single pdf file to keith.osullivan@dcu.ie and aine.mcgillicuddy@dcu.ie with “PhD in Climate & Society” in the subject line. This application must include:

  1. a brief cover letter outlining your motivation for applying;
  2. a complete version of this form
  3. names of two referees.

Note: Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.

Process:

If successful at the interview stage, candidates will then be invited to make a formal application to DCU via the Student Application Portal. Applicants are expected to read the information available here on the general process for PhD applications to DCU. 

For queries contact:  keith.osullivan@dcu.ie; aine.mcgillicuddy@dcu.ie

 

The School of Theology, Philosophy and Music & and the School of Law and Government

 

PhD Scholarship in Climate & Society

TITLE: The Ethics of Carbon Pricing

Have you recently completed or expect very soon an Bachelor or Master degree in philosophy? Are you interested in carrying out interdisciplinary research on the ethics of climate change during the next four years, commencing in September 2021? 

The School of Theology, Philosophy, and Music and School of Law and Government at Dublin City University are offering a four year fully funded (stipends & fees) scholarship in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Dublin City University. The project will be supervised by Professor Bert Gordijn and Dr. Goran Dominioni. This is one of four interdisciplinary PhD Scholarships being offered in the Faculty from 2021. Note that candidates may apply for one scholarship only.

DESCRIPTION

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. There is broad agreement among scholars and policymakers that a cost-effective climate change action strategy should include carbon pricing. The design and implementation of carbon pricing instruments pose questions that have important ethical components. What type of carbon pricing instrument to adopt? What price should be put on carbon? What sectors to exempt? How should carbon revenues be used? This PhD project aims to contribute to the research on the ethics of carbon pricing by i) deepening the analysis of carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes by considering specific design features and ii) broadening the analysis to types of instruments currently ignored in the research. The analysis aims to provide recommendations to policymakers on the ethical design and implementation of carbon pricing. 

The project will be developed in four phases. First, the PhD student will analyze existing carbon pricing instruments, their key design features, and mitigation and economic effects. The methodology of this stage of the research will consist of the analysis of a selection of policy documents as well as a set of interviews to develop a better contextualized understanding of the policy challenges in relation to carbon pricing. Interview participants will include officers of international organizations that work on carbon pricing, EU and government officials, and members of civil society organizations active on carbon pricing policy. Second, the student will conduct a systematic literature review to identify the main ethical issues related to carbon pricing and to highlight the research gaps. This will be done on the basis of the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) method. Third, the student will analyze a selection of ethical challenges related to carbon pricing design and implementation to fill some of the gaps identified in the systematic literature review. This ethical analysis will be conducted from the perspective of an appropriate ethical theory such as normative stakeholder theory, a theory of justice, a version of utilitarianism, or some other theoretical approach, depending on the specifics of the ethical challenges to be analyzed. Fourth, based on this ethical analysis, the student will propose a set of policy recommendations. 

 

Candidate profile
The ideal candidate must have recently completed or expect very soon a Bachelor or Master degree or equivalent degree in philosophy, preferably with a specialization in ethics. The candidate is expected to have first class or upper second-class honours (or equivalent) degree. In addition, the applicant should:

  • Have excellent philosophical and analytical skills
  • Have an interest in practical applications of ethics and policy-relevant research
  • Be familiar with or have an interest in the ethics of climate change
  • Have expertise or an interest in climate change/environmental studies, economics and/or political science
  • Have good social and communication skills in academic as well as non-academic contexts
  • Appreciate multidisciplinary collaboration
  • Have excellent knowledge of written and spoken English (See DCU’s requirements for English language skills; applicants must ensure that they meet these requirements before submitting an application).
  • Meet DCU’s entry requirements in general (see general entry requirements here)

 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Deadline

The strict deadline for application is: 17th of May (5 pm, UTC +1). Applications received after this deadline will not be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in the last week of May. 

What to submit

Candidates should email their applications in a single PDF file to bert.gordijn@dcu.ie and goran.dominioni@dcu.ie with “PhD in Climate & Society” in the subject line. This application must include:

  1. A cover letter outlining your motivation for applying as well as your qualifications for the PhD position   
  2. A curriculum vitae
  3. A writing sample (for example, a copy of your Master thesis)
  4. Names of two referees
  5. A complete version of the application form 

Note: Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.

Process

If successful at the interview stage, candidates will then be invited to make a formal application to DCU via the Student Application Portal. Applicants are expected to read the information available here on the general process for PhD applications to DCU. 

For queries contact: Professor Bert Gordijn (bert.gordijn@dcu.ie) or Dr. Goran Dominioni (goran.dominioni@dcu.ie).

 

The School of History and Geography & The School of Communications

 

PhD Scholarship in Climate & Society

Have you recently completed or expect to complete very soon an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in geography, climate change, sustainability, environmental science or environmental policy? Are you interested in carrying out interdisciplinary research on transforming the Irish transport sector during the next years, commencing in September 2021? 

The School of History and Geography and School of Communications are offering a fully funded, four year fees + stipend scholarship in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Dublin City University. The project will be supervised by Dr Darren Clarke and Dr Trish Morgan. This is one of four interdisciplinary PhD Scholarships being offered in the Faculty from 2021. Note that candidates may apply for one scholarship only.

TITLEClimate change after COVID-19: Challenges and opportunities to transform the Irish transport sector

DESCRIPTION:

Sudden and wide-ranging behaviour changes were introduced in Ireland following the COVID-19 pandemic. These temporary emergency measures have had positive and negative impacts on citizens in their attempts to limit the spread of disease.

However, this virus is also a consequence of unsustainable environmental practices, particularly in global production and consumption (Harvey, 2020). This reveals the interdependence on the environment, and the vulnerabilities within societies to ‘natural’ crises such as this virus. 

This ‘natural’ virus has shut large swathes of the global economy since early 2020.

During this time, global carbon emissions have also dropped by 6.4% in 2020 (Tollefson, 2021), reducing by 5.9% in Ireland (SEAI, 2021). Given national commitments of a 7% annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 2030, greater sustained reductions are required to achieve national and international climate commitments. 

Transport is responsible for ~20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland. However, unlike all other sectors, which have experienced stabilisation or decline in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, transport emissions doubled from 10% in 1990 to ~20% in 2019 (SEAI, 2021). If Ireland is to meet international climate change obligations, a transformative approach to transport is required to ensure that significant and sustained reductions in transport emissions are achieved.

However, the transformative potential of the sector is evident in reductions of Ireland’s transport emissions by 17% in 2020 following COVID-19 (SEAI, 2021). The pandemic therefore provides a window of opportunity for researching how long-term sectoral transformation could be achieved to meet national climate change commitments.

This project therefore addresses a knowledge gap by investigating attitudes and beliefs towards transport and travel, while also assessing how behaviour modification enforced by COVID-19 travel restrictions has potential long-term ramifications regarding Ireland’s climate goals. Specifically, the research design of the project centres on bottom-up and top-down experience of this crisis and to what extent this can be translated into long-term change in the transport sector.

It is proposed that the methodologies applied for this research project include both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Indicative approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Quantitative: A questionnaire to ascertain public attitudes to transformative transport changes introduced in 2020/21. The questionnaire will use COVID-19 transport initiatives to understand social contexts of potential long-term transformations to decarbonise transport. It is proposed to repeat this study on two occasions to measure potential attitudinal changes over time i.e. during and post COVID-19.
  • Qualitative: Interviews/workshops/focus groups with key stakeholders will be undertaken to examine i) potential for transformation from COVID-19 learnings, and ii) the quantitative analysis from bottom-up (e.g. citizens, transport providers) and top-down perspectives (e.g. policymakers, transport authorities, local authorities, elected representatives). 

This research has the potential to influence long-term climate policy, specifically contributing to knowledge on likely adoption by the public of transformative changes to transport infrastructure, whilst also qualitatively understanding what changes would be welcome or resisted. Recommendations will be identified to support development of long-term solutions, thus identifying barriers to adoption of new transport initiatives, informing climate policy, and offering solutions grounded in behavioural research.
 

Candidate profile
The ideal candidate must have recently completed or expect very soon an undergraduate or postgraduate or equivalent degree in geography, climate change, sustainability, environmental science or environmental policy, or a closely related area. The candidate is expected to have first class or upper second-class honours bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree. In addition, the applicant should:

  • Have a strong interest in transport, consumption of space, climate change, sustainability, spatial policy, environmental psychology, attitudes and behaviours, or a closely related area
  • Have a strong background in nature/society relationships 
  • Have excellent skills in academic research, qualitative and/or quantitative analysis, writing to a high academic standard 
  • Have excellent knowledge of written and spoken English (See DCU’s requirements for English language skills; applicants must ensure that they meet these requirements before submitting an application).
  • Meet DCU’s entry requirements in general (see general entry requirements here)

 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Deadline:

The strict deadline for application is: May 17th 2021 (5 pm UTC+1). Applications received after this deadline will not be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview around the middle-end of May. 

What to submit:

Candidates should email their applications in a single PDF file to Dr Darren Clarke (darren.p.clarke@dcu.ie) AND Dr Trish Morgan (trish.morgan@dcu.ie) with “PhD in Climate & Society” in the subject line. This application must include:

  1. A brief cover letter outlining your motivation for applying
  2. A complete version of this application form 
  3. Names of two referees

Note: Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.

Process:

If successful at the interview stage, candidates will then be invited to make a formal application to DCU via the Student Application Portal. Applicants are expected to read the information available here on the general process for PhD applications to DCU. 

For queries contact:  Dr Darren Clarke (darren.p.clarke@dcu.ie), Dr Trish Morgan (trish.morgan@dcu.ie)

 

The School of Theology, Philosophy and Music & The School of Communications

 

PhD Scholarship in Climate & Society

Have you recently completed or expect very soon a Master’s Degree in philosophy, political theory or similar? Are you interested in carrying out interdisciplinary research on Nudging and Environmental Ethics/Political Theory during the next four years, commencing in September 2021? 

The School of Theology, Philosophy and Music and School of Communications is offering a fully funded, four year fees + stipend scholarship in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Dublin City University. The project will be supervised by Dr Fiachra O’Brolcháin, Dr Padraig Murphy and Prof Pat Brereton. This is one of four interdisciplinary PhD Scholarships being offered in the Faculty from 2021. Note that candidates may apply for one scholarship only.

TITLENudging Society to Avoid Climate Catastrophe: Context Design, Environmental Communication and Environmental Ethics

DESCRIPTION:

The scale of the environmental crisis requires urgent action.  This is accepted by scientists and environmental philosophers.  The latter have developed moral and political frameworks designed to ensure society can adapt and avoid a climate catastrophe.  Nonetheless, despite the warnings of scientists and the moral and political cases made by philosophers, little has been achieved.  

To a significant degree, this is a communications problem. Amongst the myriad ways of addressing this communications problem is to utilise new techniques in “context design”, specifically “nudging” and “framing.” This is of great interest to policy makers, who “have begun to investigate how framing shapes (or could shape) people’s relationship to environmental issues and how nudging shapes (or could shape) choices that have environmental significance” (Hall, 2016).  

Whilst both nudging and framing are in the most part unavoidable, they raise profound philosophical dilemmas relating to liberty and autonomy, paternalism, and substantive questions of the good (MacGregor, 2016).  Nonetheless  the great potential of nudging and framing to promote environmental goals should not be ignored.

The ethical concerns with nudging and framing (e.g., it is paternalistic, it focuses on change “from below,” and it limits individual liberty) need to be addressed.  Indeed, in theory, nudging could be used to undermine individual autonomy (a person’s capacity to make decisions for themselves).  However, these ethical concerns are premised on the liberal regard for the freedom of individuals, and it is this very regard for individual freedom that has created the climate crisis threatening the foundations of human civilisation and the continuing existence of the diversity of life on the planet.  From an ecocentric ethical perspective (which would place less importance on individual autonomy) then, nudging people to change their behaviour so as to preserve the conditions necessary for flourishing life on earth is not only justified but is most likely required.  Whilst this challenge to individual liberty appears radical, changes resulting from climate change will likely result in tragic choice dilemmas for future generations.  Using big data to nudge people into changing behaviour may represent the least-worst option. 

This project will explore these ethical dilemmas and contribute to the philosophical discussion. Alongside this it will critically engage with eco-literacy and eco-media studies to investigate the ethical values being promulgated socially.  The ethical proposals arising from the research will be explored with publics via environmental stakeholder and public panels and focus groups. The data will reveal not only how publics respond to radical new philosophies, but will suggest whether nudging can be effective and, if so, how publics might best be nudged into changing behaviour. 

 

Candidate profile
The ideal candidate must have recently completed or expect very soon a Master’s degree or equivalent degree in philosophy, preferably with a specialization in ethics and/or political theory. The candidate is expected to have first class or upper second-class honours (or equivalent) degree. In addition, the applicant should:

  • Have excellent philosophical and analytical skills
  • Have an interest in practical applications of ethics and policy-relevant research
  • Be familiar with or have an interest in the ethics of climate change
  • Have expertise or an interest in climate change/environmental studies, communications and/or Science and Technology Studies
  • Have good social and communication skills in academic as well as non-academic contexts
  • Appreciate multidisciplinary collaboration 
  • Have excellent knowledge of written and spoken English (See DCU’s requirements for English language skills; applicants must ensure that they meet these requirements before submitting an application).
  • Meet DCU’s entry requirements in general (see general entry requirements here)

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Deadline

The strict deadline for application is: 17th of May (5 pm, UTC +1). Applications received after this deadline will not be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in the last week of May. 

What to submit

Candidates should email their applications in a single PDF file to fiachra.obrolchain@dcu.ie, with “PhD in Climate & Society” in the subject line. This application must include:

  1. A cover letter outlining your motivation for applying as well as your qualifications for the PhD position   
  2. A curriculum vitae
  3. Writing samples (for example, a copy of your Master thesis)
  4. Names of two referees
  5. A complete version of the application form 

Note: Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.

Process

If successful at the interview stage, candidates will then be invited to make a formal application to DCU via the Student Application Portal. Applicants are expected to read the information available here on the general process for PhD applications to DCU. 

For queries contact: Dr Fiachra O’Brolcháin (fiachra.obrolchain@dcu.ie)

Full fees and an annual stipend of €16,500 is on offer for four years in total, commencing in September 2021.

The strict closing date for applications is: 5:00pm (UTC +1) on May 17th, 2021.

 

The Graduate Studies Office administers a DCU Postgraduate Research Conference and Travel Grant. Each postgraduate research student, full-time or part-time, can apply in the period of his or her studentship for a Conference and Travel Grant from the DCU Research Committee. The scheme is administered through the Graduate Studies Office (GSO), based in GLA.LG13 in the McNulty Building, Glasnevin Campus. Further information is available at the Graduate Studies Office scholarships page

The Faculty Research Committee allocates some funds to administer a competitive Journal Publication Scheme, a call for which is issued normally at the end of October or beginning of November.  The scheme is available to research students in their 3rd or later year in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, DCU.  The scheme provides support for research leading to publication in a SCOPUS-ranked journal. The article can be sole-authored by the student or co-authored with a member of DCU staff, most typically but not exclusively a student’s supervisor.  Items supported could include fieldwork; archive / research travel; conference dissemination; data generation.  Depending on the budget allocation and number of applicants the maximum value of any single award can change but generally it will be no more than €1,000.

For a list of the nearly 10,000 Scopus-ranked journals in arts, humanities and social sciences and their ranking in each discipline, see this open access website.

The Irish Research Council (IRC) normally runs a competitive scheme annually for PhD scholarships. If you are interested in applying to this scheme, you should first contact a prospective supervisor in the relevant School. Existing PhD students should discuss applications with their supervisor. For further information on this scheme, see: IRC Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme.

IRC Applications

All research students in receipt of a faculty or school funded scholarship must apply to the Irish Research Council’s Postgraduate Research scheme. The Associate Dean for Research facilitates a workshop for applicants to this scheme in October each year.  If applicants are successful in securing an award from the IRC the following information is relevant:

  • Students receive confirmation directly from the IRC re award and contract.
  • Research funds are managed by the student and supervisor in line with IRC contract.
  • The student's Supervisor receives an email from DCU Finance Office detailing the Project subcost.
  • This new subcost is set up specifically to manage your award and the Supervisor needs to complete the 'hierarchy' setup to enable transactions.
  • The associated scholarship stipend is processed via Faculty office and GSO.
  • Funds can be drawn down by purchasing materials through the Purchase order process (funds taken directly from subcost) or reclaiming expenses using the NIER process or the Core system (if you have access).  Your Supervisor is the approver of your expenses and all expenditure must be approved prior to purchase.

Claiming Expenses

Students in receipt of a scholarship from the IRC or schools may be entitled to claim expenses depending on the terms and conditions of your contract or scholarship letter e.g. IRP or visa costs, equipment. To claim your expenses you must complete a Non Invoice Expenditure Requisition Form available via your School Assistant.  Authorisation of the expenditure is the responsibility of your Supervisor (IRC costs),  the Head of School (IRP or visa costs), or Faculty Research Administrator (faculty granted research awards) depending on the expense and the account being charged.  If you are unsure, your School Assistant will advise you. Return the completed form along with original receipts to your School Assistant. 

Purchase order process (IRC Awardees only)

If you want to purchase items such as software, laptops etc. you can do so by using the University's financial system, Agresso.  The supplier e.g. Dell, may already be set up as a supplier on this system so all you need to do is send the following details to the School Assistant:

  1. what you want to purchase,
  2. who you want to purchase from,
  3. the cost ex. VAT,
  4. the VAT rate
  5. your IRC subcost to charge the expense to.

This will generate a purchase order (PO) which you can send to the supplier.  The supplier should quote this PO number on their invoice which they send directly to invoices@dcu.ie. When the invoice is approved by the Faculty Office, payment is issued within the next week.