Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

FUNDED 4-year PhD programme in the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

The School of Education is pleased to offer an opportunity for a funded 4-year structured PhD programme (full time) under the supervision of Dr Donatella Camedda to work on the Inclusion of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Higher Education (INSIDE project). The start of the PhD will be March 2024.

The funding is provided by the Trinity Research Doctorate Award and will cover:

• €25,000 stipend per year

• Tuition fees (either EU or non-EU)

The selected student is liable for all non-tuition costs of registration.

Dr Donatella Camedda is Assistant Professor in Education and Course Coordinator of the Arts Science and Inclusive Applied Practice programme in The Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID). Dr Camedda is the PI of the INSIDE project and will supervise the recruited PhD student.

Applications from interested candidates are open until 10/12/2023, see Application Steps for full details.

For informal enquiries contact Dr Donatella Camedda

Project background

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) have historically faced marginalization, particularly in the realm of education. Inclusive education has made strides in Ireland, but students with ID remain underrepresented in higher education due to limited opportunities, systemic barriers, and admission criteria. To address these inequalities, independent initiatives have emerged to support university education for students with ID, with the recent governmental funding initiative PATH 4 aiming to further expand such provisions. However, little research has been conducted on the impact of attending university courses for students with ID and their broader effect on the university community.

The Inclusion of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Higher Education (INSIDE) project aims to fill this research gap by investigating the sustainability of university programs for people with ID and their impact on students' lives. The project will be conducted nationwide, involving all Irish higher education institutions providing post-secondary initiatives for students with ID. It consists of two main research objectives: understanding the impact during college attendance and exploring the impact after graduation. The project will employ a mixed-methods approach, incorporating participatory and inclusive research principles, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, and creative methodologies such as photovoice or visual arts. The research tools will be co-designed with input from people with ID who have attended higher education courses.

The project's outputs will include a PhD thesis, journal papers, conference papers, national workshops, and public engagement activities. The study is expected to have both social and academic impact by providing evidence to sustain the future development of higher education courses for people with ID and promoting social justice, equitable access to education, and an inclusive society. It will also contribute to the field of inclusive education and the global agenda of inclusive higher education.

PhD applicant’s profile description:


• Hold a degree in a discipline related to the project

• Hold at least a 2.1 honors degree from an Irish university or equivalent result from a university in another country

• Experience in studying/working in the area of intellectual disabilities or special/inclusive education

• Display a high level of competence in the English language or be an English native speaker

• Demonstrate a good level of academic writing

• Ability to work under supervision and independently

• Respect deadlines

• Interest in creative approaches in research

• Effective communication

• Excellent time management

• Problem-solving and adaptability


• Experience of inclusive settings in higher education

• Experience of inclusive research

• Familiarity with the Irish education systems and policy


1. Complete the application form at this link

2. Save a pdf receipt of your submission to be sent with the other application documents

3. Include your CV (up to 4 pages) in a PDF format

4. Two reference letters

5. Provide a copy of the English Language certificate (i.e. IELTS 6.5) for International students who’s English is not first language, see more details on language requirements here.

Send your application documents (form receipt, CV, 2 reference letters, English certificate)

Applications will close on by 10/12/2023, late applications will not be considered.

Selected candidates will undergo an online interview with a panel chaired by Dr Donatella Camedda on Monday 18th of December 2023.

The successful PhD applicant will need to complete their application to the Dean of Graduate Studies by January 2024, further details will be provided by the PI. The successful PhD applicant will need a PPSN for stipend payment. It is advised that candidates invited for interview check the entry requirements for a PhD in the School of Education.


10/12/2023 5pm Applications close

18/12/23 Interviews of selected candidates (online)

15/01/2024 Successful candidate PhD application completion via Trinity system

March 2024 Start of PhD