PhD Scholarship in Agricultural and Food Economics at the University College Dublin in Ireland

PhD Scholarship in Agricultural and Food Economics at the University College Dublin in Ireland

PhD Scholarship in Agricultural and Food Economics at the University College Dublin in Ireland

PhD Scholarship UCD (School of Agriculture and Food Science) “An investigation into farmer acceptability of sustainable farm practices”


This scholarship aims to attract a candidate interested in developing a deeper understanding of farmer decisions to engage in practices which reduce emissions on Irish farms. The focus is on a suite of technologies identified in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) – this is a series of farm-level measures that have been identified by Teagasc as supporting sustainability in the Irish agricultural sector. This PhD will involve a mixed method study which includes quantitative survey analysis and in-depth qualitative data collection and analysis.

Many MACC technologies are already available and could be implemented on farms, from a technological and scientific perspective however understanding farmer behaviours and their levels of readiness is critical for policy design and implementation. If uptake at farm level is low and there will be significant negative consequences for Ireland in meeting its emission reduction targets for GHG and ammonia. It is necessary to understand how prepared farmers are for making changes, and to identify the supports that they require – the qualitative component of this PhD will aim to fill these gaps.

The study will draw on sustainable and low-carbon transition pathways literature including the exploration of socio-technical and behavioural factors and use of a multi-level perspective. It is paramount to identify farmer ambitions to move towards a sustainable transition pathway and to assess their readiness to engage with MACC technologies and practices. The candidate will be part of a wider multi-disciplinary team working with natural and social scientists. Graduate training will be provided in UCD where it is expected 30 credits will be complete over the course of the PhD.


The value of the scholarship is €24,000 per annum. The successful applicant will be required to pay a registration fee of €6,000 per annum. This is a 4-year PhD scholarship. The expected commencement date is September 2022. The Ph.D. scholarship is a joint research project between Teagasc, Rural Economy and Development Programme, Athenry Co. Galway and the School of Agriculture & Food Science in University College Dublin. The student will be work under the supervision of Dr. Edel Kelly (UCD) and Dr. Aine Regan (Teagasc). This may differ for applicants from outside the EU.


  • Literature review.
  • Data collection and analysis:
  • Working with quantitative datasets to create a baseline on farmer acceptability of MACC measures.
  • Design and collect data using a range of qualitative approaches (e.g. ONE-TO-ONE interviews, focus groups, workshops) to identify farmer needs and solutions to support farmer readiness to engage in sustainability practices.
  • Academic writing including report writing, publications and conference papers.
  • Oral presentation of papers and posters.


  • Candidates should hold or expect to attain a (level 8) honours degree. Disciplines may include economics, behavioural sciences geography, agriculture, agribusiness, or other environmental related areas.
  • Proficiency in the English language, due to the emphasis on qualitative data collection. Where English is not the candidates first language completion of an English language test is required.
  • Excellent data analysis, organizational management and communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Strong problem-solving skills and ability to work towards tight timelines.


  • Masters (level 9) qualification with experience in data collection and analysis.
  • Knowledge of the innovation or behavioral literatures.
  • Understanding of the agricultural policy landscape.


Please complete the following form. The inclusion of a letter of motivation together with an up-to-date CV is essential. Further information: Please email: [email protected]

Closing date: 20th May 2022.


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