Benchmarking the effectiveness of the sport development system within Gaelic Games

Summary

Participation in organised sport has been shown to benefit physical, social, emotional, and mental health, whilst also demonstrating  positive impacts on other aspects of life, such as educational attainment. Therefore, how sport is organised and delivered can have wide ranging impacts on society. Research and evaluation in sport development has become a growing area of interest for sport policy makers and practitioners seeking to improve their evidence base to support the development of effective interventions.

Traditionally, research into sport development has focussed on high performance and, primarily, Olympic sporting pursuits. Little attention has been paid to sport development across volunteer and amateur sport, which characterises sport worldwide, especially across the island of Ireland. Therefore, this study aims to examine the development of sport across Ireland through an investigation of sport development policies and practices within Gaelic games – the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ladies Gaelic Football Association, and the Camogie Association. These organisations are of interest, not only because of their broad appeal, but due to their pursuit of ever more sophisticated development interventions. Further, recent efforts towards integrating these previously separate but related bodies provides the prospect of understanding the current landscape while also looking to identify future opportunities.

Through a multi-method approach, this research will consider the factors influencing sport development within the family of Gaelic Games, how key stakeholders (such as administrators, coach educators, coaches, members, and others) influence these factors, and what impacts these factors have on those who take part in Gaelic Games at all levels.

The outcomes of this research will add to the current literature on sport development, while also opening amateur and volunteer sport as an avenue of future research. Such outcomes will enhance our understanding of sport policy at governmental and organisational level and contribute to future policy development in sport and physical activity.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 65%
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

De Bosscher, V., De Knop, P., van Bottenburg, M., and Shibli, S. (2006). A conceptual framework for analysing Sports Policy Factors Leading to international sporting success. European Sport Management Quarterly, 6 (2), 185-215.

De Bosscher, V., Bingham, J., Shibli, S., van Bottenburg, M., and De Knop, P. (2008). The Global Sporting Arms Race.  An international comparative study on sports policy factors leading to international sporting success.  Aachen: Meyer & Meyer.

De Bosscher, V. (2018). A Mixed Methods Approach to Compare Elite Sport Policies of Nations. A Critical Reflection on the Use of Composite Indicators in the SPLISS Study. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics. Special issue: Research Methodologies and Sports Scholarship, pp. 331-355.

De Bosscher, V., Shibli, S., van Bottenburg, M., De Knop, P., and Truyens, J. (2010). Developing a methodology for comparing the elite sport systems and policies of nations: a mixed research methods approach. Journal of Sport Management, 24, 567-600

Gaelic Athletic Association (2021). Gaelic Games Player Pathway. Available at: https://learning.gaa.ie/sites/default/files/14233%20Duchas%20Doc%20update.pdf

Horgan, P., Donnelly, P., Bowles, R., McNamara, A., McGourty, P.,  et al., (2021), Coaching and Coach Education in Gaelic Games: A Baseline Report. Available at: file:///C:/Users/Paul%20Donnelly/Downloads/Report%206%20Jan%20(1).pdf

Liu, Y., Taylor, P., and Shibli, S. (2009) Sport Equity: Benchmarking the Performance of English Public Sport Facilities, European Sport Management Quarterly, 9:1, 3-21, DOI: 10.1080/16184740802461686

Sport Northern Ireland (2013). Sport Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success: An audit of the elite sport development system in Northern Ireland., Available at: http://www.sportni.net/sport-research/recent-research/2013-2/?pg=2

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 27 February 2023
04:00PM

Interview Date
mid-April 2023

Preferred student start date
18 September 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Dr Paul Donnelly

Other supervisors

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