PhD opportunity in Ireland: Societal understanding of the bioeconomy

“Societal Understanding of the Bioeconomy”


The bioeconomy accounts for 13% of world trade and key elements of the bioeconomy traverse Agriculture, Food, Forestry, Marine, Energy, Chemical and Materials sectors. It offers Ireland significant economic benefits and opportunities to create additional natural bio-value, and in addition to supporting the transition away from a fossil-resource economy, it can help address issues such as climate change and food security. Advancing a bio-based economy requires that policymakers are aware of citizen attitudes, perceptions and understanding of the bioeconomy; what the bioeconomy/bio-based economy means to people; their acceptance and concerns about risks arising from a shift to a bio-based economy; and how people would consider a bio-based economy as a future vision for developing the rural economy.

PhD Research Study: “Societal understanding of the bioeconomy”

The PhD study will primarily employ quantitative methods and includes the analysis of a large-scale attitudinal survey. This will contribute to gaining a better understanding of the factors influencing citizen acceptance/rejection of biologically-based advances in technology, and assist the development of a coherent policy framework that can support the advancement of the bioeconomy in Ireland and internationally.


Applicants should have a good honours degree. A Masters in an appropriate discipline (e.g. Economics, Psychology, Environmental Policy, Business or related Social Science background) is desirable. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated, have a strong research capability for data analysis, and be prepared to undertake fieldwork using a range of data collection techniques.

Fellowship Award

This four year SFI PhD Fellowship forms part of a joint research project between the Earth Institute in UCD and the Department of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis, Teagasc. The student will be mostly based in UCD. It is intended that the Fellowship will commence on 1st September 2018, or as soon as possible thereafter when the most suitable candidate is appointed. The Fellowship comprises an annual stipend of €18,500 and a €5,500 fee contribution per annum, and is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information

Dr Eoin O’Neill, UCD Earth Institute, UCD Planning & Environmental Policy, Richview, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353(0) 1 716 2674 email:
Dr Maeve Henchion, Dept. of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis, Teagasc, Ashtown, Dublin 15
Phone: +353 (0)1 8059515 email:


Interested candidates are requested to submit an electronic copy of their CV and a letter of interest simultaneously to Dr. Eoin O’Neill and Dr. Maeve Henchion by 5 pm June 11th. 2018. Interviews will be held with potential candidates shortly thereafter.

BEACON: Bioeconomy Research Centre

BEACON is a newly established Science Foundation Ireland Research centre that will perform both blue skies and industry focused research to advance the development of a Bioeconomy in Ireland. It brings together a team of researchers from across a range of disciplines including inter alia biotechnology, systems and synthetic biology, chemistry, and agriculture, food, marine and social sciences. BEACON is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners. The centre represents a collaboration between University College Dublin, Teagasc, Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Galway and University of Limerick and a variety of domestic and international industry partners.