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Funded PhD Opportunity

Tourism trail development: opportunities for community engagement and small business development

Subject: Business and Management Studies


Summary

Since the publication of the first scholarly text on tourism and trails by Timothy and Boyd (2015), there has emerged a body of research where the focus on tourism development is with linear space as opposed to points (single attractions) and areas (areal attractions such as protected spaces like state and national parks). Special issues on tourism trails have appeared in the scholarly journals, such as in 2017 in the Journal of Heritage Tourism as well as featuring as a distinctive topic of tourism academe within several edited handbooks published by Routledge on pilgrimage and religious tourism, tourism and cities and cultural tourism. Scholars have focused interest around both supply and demand aspects, examining different types of trails and the contexts in which they were developed, either organically or deliberate, and viewing trails from an experiential perspective and as part of the experience economy of destination regions.

There is major scope for scholarly research regarding the impacts of trails especially from a social and economic perspective.  It is this particular lacunae that is the focus of this call. With respect to the former, to what extent do communities view trails as opportunities to enrich the lives of residents, facilitate community cohesion and improve residents’ quality of life?  In terms of the latter, can the development of trails create an entrepreneurial climate for small and medium-sized enterprises to be established that offer unique products, services and memorable experiences around trail theming but which also provide new employment opportunities for existing communities located along or in close proximity to trails.  Only in recent years have regions that have lost their economic rationale turned to trail development to showcase their economic past, link communities that share a unique cultural heritage, facilitate a sense of community belongingness, and create new economic opportunities for small business enterprises.

The development of a Slate trail in North Wales is a prime example.  Trail development also offers opportunities for slow travel for both domestic and international visitors, linking what are often ‘void’ spaces between established point visitor attractions, creating a journey and narrative of the culture and heritage of regions and enabling increased dwell time and visitor spend. Research projects are invited around trail development and trail impact, both in a developed and less developed world context that focuses on new trail creation, the opportunities that trails offer community-driven tourism development, and the benefits of trails within defined regions from both a social and economic perspective.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • Research proposal of 2000 words detailing aims, objectives, milestones and methodology of the project
  • A demonstrable interest in the research area associated with the studentship

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.

  • Masters at 65%
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for 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 £15,000 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.

    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 £7,500 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.

    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.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. 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.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
9, 10, 19 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Contact supervisor

Professor Stephen Boyd


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