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PhD Project - Understanding the Lived Experiences of Female Travellers Seeking to Start a Business in Ireland

   Graduate Research School Office

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  Prof Thomas Cooney  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

According to Pavee Point, Traveller women experience both racism and sexism. Traveller women will likely experience triple discrimination: discrimination as women; discrimination as Travellers; and discrimination as Traveller women. The marginalisation of Travellers and the state neglect of Traveller health means that Traveller women have a mortality rate 5 times that of the national rate and mental health is a major issue for Traveller women with a suicide rate 5 times the national rate.

According to Census 2016, just 13% of the Traveller girls have completed secondary education compared to 92% of the general population. Pavee Point have highlighted that Traveller women continue to break down barriers at 3rd level and in adult education with Traveller women achieving degrees, masters and PhDs as mature students. Pavee Point also noted that for Traveller women, their lived experience of racism and discrimination leaves them less confident about their ability to retain a job and/or get another job.

As an alternative option to securing employment, one possibility being increasingly explored by government policymakers and international organisations (such as the OECD) is the opportunity by members of disadvantaged communities to start one’s own business. This research will study the challenges entailed in self-employment for female Travellers and how they might be supported in this journey. The objectives of the research are as follows:

1.                  Identify the critical challenges facing female Travellers who want to start their own business

2.                  Examine the benefits that female Travellers would gain from undertaking customised entrepreneurship training

3.                  Evaluate the format and content of customised entrepreneurship training for female Travellers and how it might be improved for future versions

4.                  Disseminate the learning from the research to various stakeholders (e.g. academic community, Traveller community, policymakers, support agencies, advocacy organisations).

5.                  Develop a new framework or model that will enhance existing knowledge in entrepreneurship literature.

While the beneficiaries of this work will be a wide range of stakeholders, it is critical that the work will remain focused on the primary ambition of contributing new knowledge to the doctoral student’s field of academic study.

The candidate selected for this scholarship must have a minimum of a 2.1 honours degree (Level 8) in a relevant discipline (preferably related to business) and preferably have a Masters degree (Level 9). They will also need to demonstrate a good understanding of the challenges facing disadvantaged communities, with a strong preference given to candidates with prior experience of studying or working with the Traveller community in Ireland. The candidate will need to have prior experience of undertaking a research study and show good analytical and writing skills. An applicant, whose native language is not English, must display an adequate proficiency in English in four categories: speaking, listening (comprehension), listening and writing.

If you are interested in submitting an application for this project, please complete an Expression of Interest (

and email it to [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

Student Stipend €18,500 (p.a. for 4 years)
Materials/ Travel etc €2,600 (p.a. for 4 years)
Fees Free (p.a. for 4 years)
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