University of Galway



Funded PhD


Applicants are invited for a four-year Doctoral (PhD) Scholarship, starting January 2023 (or as soon as possible thereafter), as part of the SFI-IRC Pathway project Exploring the Arctic Archive: Recovering Documentary Visual and Literary Sources of the Circumpolar North in the Long Nineteenth Century.

Project Overview

This interdisciplinary project explores the documentary art and literature of the western Arctic environment (in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Nordic countries) during the long nineteenth century (1789-1914) and recovers scattered materials that can be difficult for researchers to locate. These include drawings, sketches, paintings and their adjacent texts, which show the region as represented by Indigenous peoples, settlers, and travellers to the circumpolar North. This is not the perpetually icy and terrible space that appears repeatedly during the nineteenth century in public contexts, but a biodiverse, inhabited, and seasonal place. The work aims to rewrite the history of the visual representation of the Arctic and to upend popular stereotypes.

Your Role

The topic of the PhD research should fall broadly within the project’s field of attention (by engaging with aspects of travel, Arctic studies, visuality, or the archive). Applicants are invited to develop their own ideas in response to the overall theme. Proposals could focus, for example, on a sub-period from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, on individuals or groups of writers and/or artists, on specific themes, territories, or peoples in the Arctic. In addition to pursuing your research, you will also work with the PI and supervisor, Dr Eavan O’Dochartaigh, in populating a database with information gathered in archival repositories and be responsible for co-creating an online exhibition with the PI.

The PhD Scholarship
This exciting opportunity will cover the candidate’s PhD fees and provide the successful applicant with an annual stipend of €18,500. There is funding available from the project for travel to archival repositories as well to attend up to two conferences per year for the first three years.

The successful candidate will be situated at University of Galway, within the Moore Institute under the supervision of Dr O’Dochartaigh, Prof. Daniel Carey, and a Graduate Research Committee. They will be enrolled in the structured 4-year PhD Programme in the Department of English and will be able to avail of taught modules as well as short courses offered by the Researcher Development Centre at University of Galway. Interdisciplinarity is encouraged, and a third supervisor in a related discipline can be appointed if necessary.

Essential Selection Criteria

•          An undergraduate degree (with a first-class -preferred or 2:1 grade or equivalent) in a relevant academic area (including but not limited to: Literature, Art History, History of Science, History, Visual Culture, Indigenous Studies, Geography, Folklore, Ethnology)

•          Fluency in English

Desirable Selection Criteria

•          Interest/experience in the area of Arctic/Environmental/Digital Humanities

•          Excellent co-operative and communication skills

•          A Masters’ qualification in a related area

•          Social media skills to promote and disseminate project 

•          Project and time management skills

•          Ability to work on own initiative

•          Preparedness to travel and spend time outside Ireland

•          Knowledge of a circumpolar language (e.g. a Nordic language, Inuktitut)

The Application Must Include

•          A 1-2 page cover letter that highlights the candidate’s suitability, based on the essential and desired criteria and their motivation for application

•          A 3-4 page research plan including abstract, aims, objectives, state of the art, theory, and methodology

•          A detailed CV

•          Two letters of recommendation from referees familiar with the applicant’s academic work (these can be emailed directly from referees if preferred)

•          A sample of academic writing (essay, thesis chapter etc.)

•          Applications should be sent as a single pdf file to and must include “SFI-IRC Pathway PhD Scholarship” in the subject line.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30 November 2022, 5pm (GMT)

•          Certified academic transcripts and certificates of all degrees will be required at shortlisting stage

Informal enquiries can be sent by email to Dr Eavan O’Dochartaigh with the words “SFI-IRC Pathway PhD Enquiry” followed by the applicant’s name in the subject bar.

Selection Process

After shortlisting, interviews will take place virtually in December 2022. Candidates will be notified of the outcome in December 2022 with studies to commence in January 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The awards will be made on the recommendation of the Research Programme’s Assessment Panel.   


1.         Duration

The scholarship will be awarded for a minimum of three and a maximum of four years.

2.         Value

The value of an individual Scholarship award is €23,526 per annum, from which a student levy and fees of €5,026 will be paid. The balance will be paid in a monthly stipend of c. €1541.66. A successful candidate from a non-EU country will be entitled to apply for an International Merit Scholarship to cover the non-EU portion of their fee. Students will also receive contributions towards travel and research costs.

3.         Classification of Scholarship Payments

Scholarships are officially classified as a ‘scholarship’ and hence do not attract Tax or Social Insurance. The recipient is not an employee of the University.

4.       Eligibility

The minimum qualification for the award of a scholarship is a first class or higher second class honours bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from a recognised institution in a relevant discipline.

Applicants must have an established proficiency in English or in Irish.  For applicants whose first language is not English or Irish, a language proficiency assessment may be required.

5.         Conditions of Tenure

  1. Successful applicants to this scheme will be designated as a Doctoral Research Scholar and will register in the PhD programme of the CASSCS, University of Galway before the Scholarship can be drawn down.
  2. Scholarships will be awarded for at least three years, according to the original date of the applicant’s registration for the PhD degree and based on satisfactory progress being confirmed each year by the student’s Graduate Research Committee (GRC).
  3. The scholarship will automatically cease on the submission of the Scholar’s PhD thesis.
  4. The scholarship is valid for the year in which it is awarded or renewed. Under general circumstances the scholarship may not be deferred or otherwise interrupted, without reasonable cause. Where particular situations arise that necessitate temporary leave of absence, they shall be verified and notified to the GRC, and approved by the Dean of the CASSCS.
  5. Should a Scholar be unable for any reason (including medical reasons) to pursue studies in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the scholarship, the Scholar and/or his/her/their supervisor is required to inform the Dean of the CASSCS within two weeks of such a situation coming to the Scholar’s attention. The Dean of the CASSCS, on appropriate advice, reserves the right to withdraw or suspend the Scholarship.
  6. The completion of the research, which is central to the PhD degree, remains the primary purpose of the scholarship. However, as part of their doctoral graduate formation, and with a view to assisting Scholars in the acquisition of skills in the transfer of knowledge and the assessment of students, the Scholar may engage in teaching, or other academic work, that normally will not exceed three contact hours per week, or the equivalent in other duties, per week.  (See 5.7 of the University’s Guidelines For Research Degree Programmes ).
  7. The holder may not be the holder simultaneously of any other scholarship or fellowship.
  8. The Doctoral Research Scholarships will be awarded only to full-time registered students who will engage full-time in research during the period of the scholarship. The recipients of the scholarships are expected to be normally present in the university for the duration of the programme. Should Scholars wish to take a prolonged absence from the university, s/he must apply for permission using Form GS 090, which is available on the Graduate Studies website.
  9. The Doctoral Research Scholarship is held subject to these Terms and Conditions. If any of the above is breached by a scholarship holder, the CASSCS will suspend or terminate the Scholarship and/or will require the Scholar to reimburse the College for such payments that have already been made.
  10. In accepting a Doctoral Research Scholarship, successful applicants must also agree to accept the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme. Correspondence on this will not be entered into once an award has been accepted.
  11. In the event that a scholarship recipient fails to comply fully with the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme, the CASSCS reserves the right to revoke the Scholarship award.
  12. If a scholarship holder does not attend for a scheduled meeting with his/her GRC without reasonable cause, or if his/her GRC are unhappy with the progress being made on the research project, the GRC can recommend that stipend payments be suspended forthwith.

Note: Late or incomplete applications or applications that do not fully adhere to the Terms and Conditions of this scheme will be deemed ineligible.

This project has received funding from the SFI-IRC Pathway Programme Award (project ID: 21/PATH-A/9519)