Posted on: 6 March, 2019
Application deadline: March 29, 2019

Two PhD opportunities in Population Geography, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

2 PhD Studentships: School of Natural and Built Environment

Studentship 1

Inter-ethnic/religious mixing in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland

The School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast offers a three-year Department for the Economy (DfE) funded PhD studentship (starting September 2019). The researcher will be based in Geography at Queen’s University Belfast within the Culture and Society Research Cluster, under the supervision of Dr Gemma Catney (g.catney@qub.ac.uk).

This project will explore the dynamics of ethnic mixing in a ‘post-conflict’ society, traditionally divided along sectarian lines (Protestants and Catholics). Northern Ireland has a small but growing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population, and there is much to be learned about the extent and nature of mixing between established and emerging ethnic and religious groups. The specific focus of the project will be determined between the student and supervisor, but core issues to be considered include, for example: the diversity of social networks and how these have changed over time, the geographies of inter-group mixing and the factors which shape them, and the extent to which sectarian issues may interact with new forms of mixing. The research will explore place of residence as a major site of interaction, but also move beyond it, to think more broadly about the ways in which people from different backgrounds may have meaningful interactions.

There is some flexibility in how this project would be undertaken, but ideally you will be comfortable with adopting a mixed (quantitative and qualitative) methodology. To apply, candidates should send a short project proposal of around 500 words, along with their CV (which should outline academic qualifications and experience). The project proposal should provide: suggested research questions to be explored, brief context for the research questions in terms of the relevant literature, and an outline of the methodological approach(es) which could be adopted.

Candidates may be called to an interview based on a short PowerPoint presentation and questions and answers.  Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) at least an undergraduate degree at 2.1 or higher in a Social Sciences discipline such as (Human) Geography, Sociology and Social Policy, or Economics.  A postgraduate qualification such as a Master’s degree in an allied discipline is desirable. The closing date for applications is Monday 29 April 2019 at 4pm by email to Dr Gemma Catney (g.catney@qub.ac.uk). The studentship will start in September 2019.

The successful candidate will be funded through a DfE studentship (including (2018-19 rate) a stipend of £14,777 and Home/EU fees). The candidate must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years (with no restrictions). EU residents may be eligible for studentship covering fees-only.

For further details, or if you have any other enquiries, please email Gemma Catney: g.catney@qub.ac.uk

Further details regarding eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) are available at the following link:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/department-economy-studentships

 

Studentship 2

Staying in the Rural: Contemporary staying processes and stayers’ contributions to rural community life

The School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast offers a three-year Department for the Economy (DfE)  funded PhD studentship (starting Autumn 2019) as part of the STAYin(g)Rural research project (ORA/ ESRC funded).

The STAYin(g)Rural project is an international collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Groningen University (Netherlands) and Johann Heinrich von Thunen Institute (Germany).  The project brings together leading international researchers in the areas of population, rural and cultural geography to investigate why and how people stay in rural areas at different stages of their lives.  Applicants are at liberty to suggest and to develop a particular PhD topic within this general research area.

The researcher will be based at Queen’s University Belfast within the Culture and Society Research Cluster under the supervision of Professor Aileen Stockdale.  Some general information about the larger STAYin(g)Rural project is useful background.

To date population geography research has focused on migration.  Especially in rural areas, those who do not move are seen as a residual category and their motivations for staying receive limited academic or policy attention.  STAYin(g)Rural involves three case studies, east Groningen (Netherlands), south Tyrone (Northern Ireland) and south Lower Saxony (Germany), and focuses on three life course stages which are known triggers for re-negotiating residential choices: young adulthood, family formation and post-retirement.  It acknowledges that people elect to belong to and participate in rural areas and that different types of mobilities influence their staying processes.  STAYin(g)Rural includes three PhD studentships (one at each of the partner institutions) and a post-doctoral researcher (also based at QUB).  The PhD students will participate in one-month exchange visits to each of the other partner institutions.

There are numerous ways the QUB-based PhD student might wish to develop their research project. Some initial (but by no means exhaustive) suggestions are reported in the publications below and might include a focus on: the role of housing and services provision; the role of employment opportunities; gendered aspects to staying; and intergenerational relationships among stayers.  The student may also wish to focus on the same or different study areas to Stayin(g)Rural.

  • Stockdale, A and Haartsen, T (2018) Editorial:  Putting rural stayers in the spotlight.  Population, Space & Place. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2124
  • Haartsen, T and Stockdale, A (2018) S/elective belonging: how rural newcomer families with children become stayers.  Population, Space & Place. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2137
  • Stockdale, A; Theunissen, N and Haartsen, T (2018) Staying in a state of flux:   A life course perspective on the diverse staying processes of rural young adults. Population, Space and Place. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2139

Strong applications would explore their chosen topic, ground it in relevant literature and set out an intended  methodology and methods.  Ideally, it would also address policy questions.

The application process

Applicants are invited to write a short A4 four-page (maximum) research outline (font size no smaller than 11) which gives details of:

  • The project title
  • The context for the research question(s) in terms of relevant literature and policy
  • Methodological approach and methods
  • Data analyses.

This should be accompanied by a CV showing academic qualifications and experience.  Candidates may be called to an interview based on a short PowerPoint presentation and questions and answers.  Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) at least a first degree at 2.1 or higher in a subject such as (Human) Geography, Sociology, Planning or other related discipline.  A postgraduate qualification such as a master’s degree is desirable especially if it involved independent research. The closing date for applications is Monday 29 April 2019 at 4pm by email to Prof Aileen Stockdale. The studentship will start in Autumn 2019.

The successful candidate will be funded through a DfE studentship (including (2018-19 rate) a stipend of £14,777 and Home/EU fees), the candidate must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years (with no restrictions).  EU residents may be eligible for studentship covering fees-only.

Aileen Stockdale is happy to answer any queries and informally discuss your ideas for the project  as they are developed.  Email:  a.stockdale@qub.ac.uk

Further details regarding eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) are available at the following link:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/department-economy-studentships