Summary

Some countries or regions have more than one official language, e.g. Wales, Scotland, Catalonia, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, and Switzerland, just to name a few. While government may claim it practices benign neglect with respect to religion, it cannot practice it in regard to languages. A government, at any level, must decide on a language in which it conducts its business and provides public goods and services such as police, administrative forms, and institutional websites. Deliberate decisions (or non-decisions) on these matters constitute an essential part of government language policy. In certain cases language policy can entail real or perceived political disenfranchisement in the population, unfair treatment of citizens wishing to apply for jobs in the public administration, and in extreme cases also violations of human rights (e.g. violation of the right to a fair trial). To function in more than one language, however, the government must rely on a multilingual public administration. This means to have multilingual staff and language mediation services such as translators and interpreters. The lack of such requirements can become a public issue and therefore the object of public policy.

The goal of the project is to study the challenge of multilingualism in the public administration in a comparative perspective. This is still a largely uncharted area with few contributions published to date. Given the project topic, an interdisciplinary approach is needed. In the first place, the project reviews and systematise the most important policy issues related to multilingualism in the public administration, e.g. the question of representation of linguistic communities in staff, and effectiveness of multilingual communication on the workplace. Secondly, the project studies the various policy measures and instruments that have been adopted in different countries to actively promote multilingualism in the public administration, it examines them in a comparative perspective and singles out successful practices. Finally, the project studies the use of monetary incentives in promoting language learning and language use in public administration. Such incentives are usually embodied in special salary schemes for staff. The project investigates the use of this instrument, and it collects and systematises evidence on its effectiveness.

This is an interdisciplinary project at the interface between public policy studies, public administration, sociolinguistics and economics.

Candidates are welcome from any of these areas of research, and they are invited to develop their personal approach to the topic. A variety of theoretical approaches to the issue are possible, depending on the background of the candidate, including comparative studies, grounded theory and formal modelling. Research methods can be both quantitative and qualitative. Considering the international scope of the project, access to scientific literature and policy documents in more than one country is central. Therefore, knowledge of languages other than English, in particular French, is an asset.

Essential: A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC); and desirable: A Masters’ degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience.


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.

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