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Bridging peripheral business communities through native culture engagement leveraging digital technologies

  • Full or part time
    Dr Felicity Kelliher
    Dr E Crehan
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, June 12, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Post summary

This research will explore the impact of digital technology capability development on engaging Gaeltacht business communities. The research question asks, Does a digital technology learning intervention influence how Gaeltacht business communities engage in technology use? The proposed action research project will embed the researcher as an intern in Údarás na Gaeltachta and CEDRE/RIKON, Waterford Institute of Technology. S/he will work with both teams to develop and implement a pilot technology program for Gaeltacht businesses to assist with their digital technology engagement. The project will focus on native culture engagement, including language. As the applicant will be immersed in a Gaeltacht business community, they will have, or attain in the first year of study a minimum of B1 proficiency level in the Irish language. Pilot impact analysis will pursue a framework of digitally enabled native culture engagement.

(Common European Framework of Reference for Language Learning (CEFR) is a Europe-wide framework for teaching and assessing languages and for describing the levels of a learner. The levels are divisions of A, B, C, where A is at complete beginner level, B is at intermediate level and C is at/ near native speaker ability).

Applicants should note the embedded nature of this research, requiring the successful applicant to be based at Údarás na Gaeltachta and CEDRE/RIKON, Waterford Institute of Technology for the duration of their studies.

Standard duties and responsibilities of the scholarship

The successful applicant will;

- Be based at Údarás na Gaeltachta and CEDRE/RIKON, Waterford Institute of Technology for the duration of their studies;
- complete required PhD pathway modules as an aspect of the structured PhD programme;
- undertake 2 hours per week of departmental work activities as directed by management, in conjunction with the supervisory team;
- participate in academic conferences and fieldwork events, as agreed with the supervisory team;
- contribute to academic culture at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Other duties include:

- Deliver agreed academic, practitioner and policy papers in conjunction with the supervisory team;
- further develop the existing proposal to be submitted to the Irish Research Council Government of Ireland PhD scholarship scheme within the first 18 months of the award;
- engage in agreed activities that help to support and enhance the WIT School of Business and the RIKON/ CEDRE research centres.
It is a requirement of this award that both the supervisory team and the successful applicant must undergo research integrity training as provided by Epigeum

Person specification



- Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum, a 2.1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Business or Social Science related areas at undergraduate or professional level.
- Applicants should have demonstrable experience in conducting research at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.


- Applicants should hold or expect to attain a Master degree in Business, Social Science or related discipline.
- Applicants who have relevant postgraduate research experience.

Knowledge & Experience


- An interest in and some knowledge of academic research and what it entails for the researcher.
- Demonstrable knowledge and experience in at least one of the following: regional rural development, small business management, digital technologies, business management and/or sociology.


- Relevant professional experience.
- Experience and understanding of qualitative methods of data collection.
- A demonstrable competence in academic theory in small business development, digital technologies, business management and/or sociology.

Skills & Competencies


- Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT’s English Language Requirements for details.
- Proficiency in the Irish language is necessary to complete the study and linguistic support is provided by the Advisory supervisor. It is anticipated that the PhD candidate will be able to exhibit oral and written proficiency in both Irish and English; the student will either enter with a minimum of B1 level of proficiency in the Irish language, or reach this level as a part of the research programme.


Applicants should have,

- aptitude for project planning and management,
- ability to build rapport with project stakeholders,
- experience and/or training in qualitative research methods,
- communication and presentation skills (written and verbal),
- teamwork and group facilitation skills,
- self-motivation, time management skills and focus to fulfil the research process.

Funding Notes

This is a full-time 4-year structured PhD scholarship valued at:

Stipend: €12,000 p/a x 4 years
Fees: covered for the 4 years
Research costs: €2,000 p/a x 4 years

Further information

For any informal queries, please contact Felicity Kelliher by email on

For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email

Website: View Website

Application procedure

Please download the Research Postgraduate Application Form from the WIT Website and return completed applications to quoting WD_2020_13 in the email subject line. Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.


The closing date is Friday 29th May at 4 pm GMT+1

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