Post Doctoral Fellowship – Ireland North-South: a Research Programme on the Future of the island of Ireland”

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Dublin City University, is seeking applications for a Post Doctoral fellowship – Ireland North-South as part of a new programme of research aiming to provide rigorous and impartial research and analysis on the key issues which are likely to form part of the debate on the future governance of the island of Ireland in areas such as constitutional and institutional arrangements, economic structure, minority rights, social policy, defence, pensions, health and education policy, EU and international affairs.


Dublin City University ( is a research-intensive, globally-engaged, dynamic institution distinguished by both the quality and impact of its graduates and its focus on the translation of knowledge into societal and economic benefit. DCU is consistently ranked in the top 100 universities under 50 years of age and has a strong track record in attracting both Irish and European Union research funding. We offer a dynamic and internationally focused environment in which to advance your academic career.

The Future of the island of Ireland

The uncertainty created by the 2016 Brexit Referendum in the UK, has led to a significant and widespread public debate on the future of the island of Ireland, including the possibility of border polls on the question of Northern Ireland leaving the UK and creating a united Ireland.   There are strongly held views on all sides of the debate on the future constitutional arrangements, but it is very clear that the public need to have access to credible and impartial information across the entire range of implications presented by all the possible future governance arrangement for the island, need in-depth impartial analysis of the key issues at stake and the opportunity to reflect calmly on them well in advance of any major decisions.

Dublin City University’s Institute for International Conflict Resolution in establishing this new programme of research will provide rigorous, non-partisan research and analysis on the key issues which are likely to at the heart of a public debate around future ‘border polls’ on the future constitutional arrangements for the island.  Some of the key debates we wish to focus on at this time include, but are not limited to:

  1. Governance: In the event that there was a decision to create some form of all-island polity, how would the government and governance arrangements be configured?  Would Northern Ireland remain a distinct devolved region?   Would systems of power-sharing be maintained in the region of Northern Ireland or introduced on an all-island basis?  How can the consequences of these choices be judged?  What can comparative analysis of other cases tell us? How might public opinion be best gauged?
  2. Social Policy: A significant proportion of the recent public debate has focused on a comparison on social policy in the two jurisdictions on the island focusing in particular on health, pensions and education. How can we compare policy outcomes, and analyse the costs and impacts of greater cooperation or convergence in order to extend the best aspects of the current two separate systems?
  3. Economic Growth / Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): Northern Ireland, in particular Belfast, at the time of partition was the most developed economic region on the island.  Today the region’s performance is consistently among the weakest in the UK, with a small private sector and high levels of poverty.  What are the key barriers to the attraction of high-quality economic development, including Foreign Direct Investment into Northern Ireland, from the perspective of potential investors and those involved in promoting FDI? What are the implications of greater scale in the Dublin-Belfast economic corridor and /or the issues for spatial policy in the North West and elsewhere?  How would constitutional change impact on these questions?
  4. Britishness and links with Britain if Northern Ireland left the UK: For those in Northern Ireland for whom British identity is an important aspect of their self-identity, how might new constitutional arrangements protect and sustain that identity?  Within the Northern Ireland region, what lessons can be learned from the continuing high levels of social segregation and community tension in many parts of Northern Ireland, that could inform policy in a future united Ireland?  What aspects of political identities require a public policy response and what measures might be put in place?

This research programme will also seek to identify and analyse public opinion on these issues in different communities across the island of Ireland, and seek to establish if some of the inevitable fears and concerns raised by this debate could be addressed through impartial research and public debate, without any preference as to the decision that people would make if a border poll is called in the future.  A number of PhD scholarships have already been awarded to support this aspect of the overall research programme.

DCU will work in partnership with other universities and research networks to maximise the contribution which the university sector as a whole can make to this important debate.

The project team will include a mix of permanent academic staff, new fully-funded PhD studentships and post-doctoral fellows working on specific projects.

Job Specification

We are now seeking applications for a post-doctoral fellow to contribute to the general work of the research programme, but also undertake specific original research, to be published in well-ranked peer-reviewed journals, and disseminated widely, working within one or more of the topic areas set out above.

Applicants for the position must have completed a PhD in a relevant discipline.  The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong commitment to academic research and must already possess an evidenced track-record of international peer-reviewed publications. The candidate will be capable of working in a team and contributing to the ongoing development of the overall project.  Demonstrated prior experience or expertise relevant to the broad scope of the project will be an advantage and may be a factor in short-listing and selection.

For further information:

Professor John Doyle

Director, Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction

Dublin City University, Ireland

Starting date to be agreed, ideally in January 2021.

Closing date for receipt of applications:  12 November 2020

Applications should be made to   and they should include:

    • a cv,
    • a one page letter of application.
    • a research proposal (maximum 1000 words), setting out your proposed research question, how it relates to the wider programme and planned publications. provides information about postgraduate courses and study in Ireland. We list virtually every postgraduate course in Ireland in Ireland, so you can search for the course of your choice.


UCD Post-doctoral Research Fellow Level 1 or 2
NUIG 164-20 Postdoctoral Researcher, I-Form Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing in Ireland, College of Engineering


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