Primary Department
School of Law and Government
Associate Professor in Politics
Niamh Gaynor
Phone number: 01 700
Glasnevin Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Dr Niamh Gaynor holds a PhD in Sociology from Maynooth University, and an MSc in Rural Development and a BSc (hons) in Botany and Mathematics, both from University College Dublin.  Following her MSc in 1994, Niamh lived for three years in Benin, West Africa where she worked on a GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) natural resource management project dealing with the challenges of climate change in the Sahel within a multi-ethnic community.  On returning to Ireland in 1997, she worked with a number of development agencies and NGOs conducting field research and project evaluations in Africa and Central Europe.  In 2004, she was awarded an IRC (Irish Research Council) PhD scholarship and she completed her PhD in 2008. 

Niamh was appointed to DCU's School of Law and Government in 2009 where she is currently an Associate Professor.  She teaches courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  At undergraduate level, courses taught include Introduction to Development and The Politics of sub-Saharan Africa.   At post-graduate level, courses taught include International Development Practice, The Political Economy of Development, Politics and Development in Africa and Research Methods.  Niamh has also served as MA programme Chair, BA Joint Honours Politics representative, and Teaching and Learning Coordinator within the School.

Niamh’s research focuses on how social and political inequalities are produced and reproduced. Her work to date has focused on exploring the conditions under which more marginalised groups and communities wield political influence at local and national levels.  She has conducted field research in a wide range of African countries (most recently, Burundi, DRC, Rwanda and Malawi), as well as in Ireland, collaborating with NGOs and public agencies in this research.  Her recent book (2022), Engendering Democracy in Africa: Women, Politics and Development is published by Routledge and is freely available on Open Access here.  She is currently working on a co-edited book on the history of development education in Ireland. This is co-edited with Eilish Dillon (Maynooth University), Gerard McCann (Queen's University) and Stephen McCloskey (Centre for Global Education, Belfast) and will be published in Open Access by Bloomsbury in 2024. 

Niamh serves on the editorial board of Policy and Practice - a Development Education Review. She also regularly serves as a reviewer for a wide range of international journals and book publishers.

Research interests

The politics of development, participation and governance - in Africa and in Ireland; civil society and community; media and development.