Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

Network facilitated farmer innovation capability development( Ref: WD_2023_ 41_WSCH_2)

   Research Support Unit

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Arthur Kearney, Prof Denis Harrington, Miss Gráinne Dilleen  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Key Words: Agriculture, innovation, network

Post summary

Applications are invited for a PhD research position funded by SETU President’s scholarship. The proposed study focuses on an under investigated dimension of agricultural innovation, that of farmer innovation capability, rooted in the centrality of the farmer and their embedded networks both as an enabler and barrier to innovation. The project will seek to build on recent research arguing the importance of networks in the development of innovation capability in agriculture (Fleming et al. 2021; Fielke et al. 2020; Brown and Roper, 2017), yet presents a unique contribution in focusing on farmer innovation capability as emerging through interaction in embedded networks. Contributing to future policy making, conceptualisation of the nature of farmer innovation capability supports balanced and responsible rural development (UN IPCC, 2022; Fleming et al. 2021). Finally, the research will seek to contribute to supporting the contextual development of farm management practice at a time of significant sectoral transformational change.

Person specification

The successful candidate will demonstrate both the academic potential, but also the resilience and commitment to fulfil the completion of the four year doctoral programme. Central to success will be demonstrable evidence of working on own initiative, proactive problem solving and maximising opportunities working with a range of academic/ policy and industry stakeholders.



·       Honours Degree (minimum 2:1) in the specific area or related area including the disciplines of management, strategic management, innovation, marketing, or other relevant degree. We would also seek to recruit a student that will have the appropriate research experience, good organisational, communication and interpersonal skills. We intend to recruit a well qualified student from Ireland or abroad for this scholarship award which is funded under the SETU Scholarship programme. 

Knowledge & Experience


·       Evidence of undertaking research as part of an undergraduate/postgraduate programme. 

·       Evidence of capability to critically review academic literature.

·       Experience of research report writing.

·       Familiarity with the dissemination and publication process.


·       Evidence of successfully completing an undergraduate/ post graduate dissertation

·       Motivation and commitment to pursue and complete a PhD programme of study.

·       Some previous work experience and active interest in the domain of the project.

Skills & Competencies


·       Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate on application that they meet SETU’s English language requirements and provide all necessary documentation. See Page 7 of the Code of Practice

·       In order to be shortlisted for interview, you must meet the SETU English speaking requirements so please provide evidence in your application.  


·       Academic writing skills and experience.

·       Excellent written and oral communication skills.

·       Advanced IT skills including working knowledge and previous experience of SPSS, Advanced Excel and NVivo amongst others.

·       Capability to work on own initiative.

·       Good time management, administration and organisational skills. 

Business & Management (5)

Funding Notes

Supervisor(s): Dr Arthur Kearney SETU Waterford,Professor Denis Harrington SETU Waterford, Grainne Dilleen SETU Carlow
Research Group:RIKON
Department /School/Faculty:School of Business
Duration 4 Years( 48 Months)
Status: Full-time
Funding information:SETU PhD Scholarship Programme 2023
Value of the scholarship per year
Stipend: €18,500
Fees, up to a maximum of €5,750
Research costs- €3,000 to cover the costs of conference/research workshop attendance presentation.


Further information
For any informal queries, please contact Professor Denis Harrington on email
For queries relating to the application and admission process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.
For queries relating to the funding programme, please email
University Website
Application procedure
Download the Research Postgraduate Application Form from here and return the completed application to quoting advert reference code from the above table in the email subject line.
Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.