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School of Law Funded PhD and MLitt scholarships

The School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, invites applications for three prestigious European Research Council-funded scholarships for PhD and MLitt training opportunities. These scholarships will be of interest to graduates of law or the social sciences.

Prisons: the rule of law, accountability and rights (PRILA) is a research project funded by the European Research Council.

The Principal Investigator on the project, Dr. Mary Rogan, Associate Professor in Law, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, is seeking three scholars for the project:

The start date for all scholarships is planned to be March 30th 2017, but is subject to negotiation. The closing date for applications is January 27th 2017*. The maximum period of funding is four years; the project and funding ends on March 30th 2021.

* The deadline has been extended to 27 January to reflect the change in requirements for PRILA2 - High standard of written and spoken German is not required (see below).

  1. 2 full-time PhD scholars: approximately 18,000 euro p.a (comprising the cost of home/EU fees per year, and a stipend of 12,000 euro p.a), for up to 4 years. Any costs for fees above the EU rates must be borne by the scholar. In addition, direct research expenses will also be covered by PRILA.
  2. 1 full OR part-time MLitt scholar: approximately 8,000 euro p.a. full-time for up to two years, (comprising cost of home/EU fees per year and a stipend of 2,000 euro p.a) OR 4,200 euro p.a., part-time for up to four years: (comprising cost of home/EU fees p.a. only). Any costs for fees above the home/EU rates must be borne by the scholar. In addition, direct research expenses will also be covered by PRILA.

Students will be placed on the structured PhD/MLitt programme at the School of Law. The PhD and MLitt scholars will be joining a team of multidisciplinary scholars working in Ireland and around the world on a groundbreaking study on the rule of law, accountability and human rights in prisons.

More details including the background to the project, essential and desirable criteria and how to apply can be found below.

Background to the project

Prisons: the rule of law, accountability and rights (PRILA) is research project exploring mechanisms for achieving accountability in prison systems, such as Ombudsmen, inspectorates and judicial review. PRILA is funded by the European Research Council (ERC), grant agreement 679362. PRILA's team will comprise three postdoctoral scholars, two PhD scholars, an MLitt scholar, and a research assistant working with Dr. Mary Rogan. PRILA will be supported by an international team of academics and criminal justice professionals. It will disseminate its findings through journal articles and books, as well as policy briefings and research summaries, conferences and workshops.

PRILA is seeking two full-time PhD scholars and 1 full- or part-time MLitt scholar to work on research projects for up to four years in three critical thematic areas: the experiences of prisoners in Ireland of bodies such as Inspectors, Ombudsmen and the courts, and their views of human rights; the experiences of front-line prison staff of mechanisms which deal with complaints about prisons; and the experiences of senior prison staff on being the subject of external review and accountability. The research will be designed in consultation with the scholar.

The PhD and MLitt scholars will work with an international and multidisciplinary team, gaining skills in qualitative research, and working across the disciplines of law and the social sciences. PRILA scholars working will be uniquely positioned for careers in academia, policy, the NGO sector, and criminal justice practice.

The scholarships have a proposed start date of March 30th 2017, but this is subject to negotiation. The maximum period of funding is four years, up to March 30th 2021.

ID Type of scholarship Essential criteria Desirable criteria
PRILA1 PhD
  • A minimum of a 2.1 degree in law or social sciences.
  • High standard of written and spoken English.
  • High standard of written and spoken German.
  • Master's qualification in a relevant discipline.
  • Relevant research experience.
  • Competence in a language other than English.
PRILA2 PhD
  • A minimum of a 2.1 degree in law or social sciences.
  • High standard of written and spoken English. 
  • Master's qualification in a relevant discipline.
  • Relevant research experience.
  • Competence in a language other than English.
PRILA3 MLitt
  • A minimum of a 2.1 degree in law or social sciences.
  • High standard of written and spoken English.
  • Work experience as member of staff of a prison within the last five years.
  • Relevant research experience.

How to apply

To apply, you should email a single attachment file to Dr. Mary Rogan (prila@tcd.ie) that includes a maximum of a four-page cover letter, which describes how you fulfil the essential and minimum criteria, reasons for applying, and how you would approach the research project. You should also send an up-to-date curriculum vitae and copies of your degree transcripts in English and English proficiency certificate if required. Copies of documents proving your competence in other languages should also be provided, where relevant (for PhD applicants only). Please also arrange for two letters from referees to be sent to this email address. Please put the title of the relevant PRILA project(s) that you are interests in the body of the email, listing your order of preference.

The deadline for receipt of applications is January 27 2017*. Candidates will be shortlisted on basis of the quality of the degree(s) awarded, the relevance of their research training and experience, the quality of their approach to the research project, and supporting references. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed either in person or through Skype or other video conferencing facility.

*The deadline has been extended to 27 January 2017 to reflect the change in requirements for PRILA2 - High standard of written and spoken German is not required (see below).

DO NOT SEND APPLICATIONS DIRECTLY TO DR. MARY ROGAN, ALL APPLICATIONS MUST GO TO PRILA@TCD.IE

Further information: Informal enquiries can be sent to Dr. Mary Rogan via email (mary.rogan@tcd.ie). 

Descriptions of the research themes

PRILA1: Prisoners' experiences of accountability bodies 
PhD scholar (full-time)

The objectives of this research theme are to document and explore how prisoners experience structures set up to achieve accountability, engage in oversight and deal with complaints, such as Ombudsmen, inspectorates and judicial review, or the lack of such structures; to explore how prisoners view themselves as holders of rights and the impact of human rights principles upon them. It is anticipated that the PhD scholar will conduct interviews with prisoners in Ireland, and potentially one other European country.

PRILA2: Being scrutinised: the experiences of senior prison staff 
PhD scholar (full-time) 
The objectives of this research theme are to explore, with senior and administrative prison staff how they view mechanisms which deal with complaints about their decision-making and about prisons, as well as being the subject or part of litigation; to explore how senior and administrative prison staff conceive of concepts such as the accountability, the rule of law, and prisoners as the holders of rights. It is anticipated that this research will take a comparative approach, with the scholar conducting interviews with senior prison staff in Ireland and other European countries, including Germany. Travel for those interviews outside Ireland will therefore be required.

PRILA3: Being scrutinised: the experiences of front-line prison staff 
MLitt scholar (full or part-time) 
The objectives of this research theme are to explore, with front-line prison staff, how they view mechanisms which deal with complaints about their decision-making and about prisons, as well as being the subject or part of litigation; to explore how front-line prison staff conceive of concepts such as the accountability, the rule of law, and prisoners as the holders of rights. Ideally, the research will seek to draw on the experiences of the researcher as a member of prison staff, and experience in such a role is therefore desirable. It is planned that the MLitt scholar will conduct interviews with prison staff in Ireland. Please state in your application if you wish to apply for the full or part-time scholarship. Only one scholarship will be offered.

About the Law School at Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1740, Trinity School of Law is one of the leading Law Schools in Europe, consistently ranked as one of the top 100 Law Schools in the world. We are a scholarly community of staff, students and alumni, dedicated to the pursuit of legal knowledge and critical engagement with the legal challenges that confront modern communities.

Our Faculty members are thought-leaders in their fields, all grappling with contemporary legal challenges. Through a number of research groups, staff and postgraduate research students collaborate in research projects, the organisation of conferences and the publication of academic papers. Staff are currently engaged in many national and international collaborations and research projects funded by the European Research Council, the Irish Research Council and Horizons 2020. Each year, we welcome a number of visiting academics to conduct research in Trinity. The School publishes one of Ireland's leading peer-reviewed journals, the Dublin University Law Journal, and engages in interdisciplinary scholarship through its membership of the Trinity Long Room Hub and Trinity Research in Social Sciences. The School is home to the Irish Centre for European Law and the Irish Jurisprudence Society.

Our undergraduate degree programmes are distinguished by research-based and research-led curricula, in which all subjects are taught by leading academics expert in those fields. Over four years, students become self-directed learners, mastering both the discipline of legal thought and the skills of critical analysis necessary for a reasoned appraisal of law's role in society. 175 students in each year study for degrees in law, law and business, law and French, law and German, and law and political science.

Our vibrant taught masters programmes - with a majority of students from outside Ireland drawn from over 30 countries around the world - provide an opportunity for advanced legal study. In particular, they reflect Dublin's unique position as a centre of global trade and a technology hub. The Law School offers dynamic programmes of postgraduate legal research to over 50 Irish and international students. Many doctoral students provide teaching support to undergraduate students as they commence their own academic and professional legal careers.

In all of our activities, we respond to the rapidly changing technological environment for legal education and scholarship, while striving to meet our responsibilities to ensure equal access to law and to justice.