Teagasc Phd Walsh Scholarship Opportunity “enhancing Sustainability of the Irish Agri-food Sector”

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Full title: “Entrepreneurial Value Streams: Strengthening producer capacity for short food supply chains (SFSC’s) to enhance sustainability and scaling of the Irish agri-food sector”.

Project Outline 

This PhD offers a very exciting opportunity to carry out innovative research to support the sustainability of the Irish agri-food sector. The candidate will carry out research and work as part of a team within an applied setting in the Irish Agri-Food sector, working with both Teagasc and the BIA Innovator Campus. This PhD is also linked to a European Project exploring sustainable food systems (ENFASYS). Thus, the successful candidate will be exposed to diverse learning opportunities and will develop extensive networks at both national and European levels.

The emergence of short food supply chains (SFSC’s), enabled by appropriate ICT infrastructures, offers the potential to disrupt the ‘industrial’ supply chain, improve market offering for consumers and increase financial value for primary agri-producer.  While SFSC’s offer significant opportunity for agri-producers, it is not without its challenges.  At an individual level, adoption of the SFSC requires agri-producers to vertically integrate and undertake multiple roles in addition to production. Regulatory and market access hurdles exist that impede agri-producer ability to engage and develop collaborative SFSC networks to meet market requirements.  Yet, with the necessary capability development, network governance and process support tools, then SFSC’s provide a realistic business model for agri-producers to enhance their commercial viability, enhance environmental credentials and underpin the sustainability of their rural communities.

This Walsh PhD Scholarship will allow the candidate to explore the emerging reality of entrepreneurial opportunities within SFSC’s and how these can be exploited and scaled to increase value capture for agri-producers and consumers.  The research will also seek to understand how the ecosystem can be nurtured for knowledge sharing, co-creation and mutual competitive advantage into the future.  The research is driven to address the following objectives:

1. Enhance understanding of psychological drivers and commercial viability of agri-food producers (farms/food producers), whose existence underpins the sustainability of the rural community.

2. Identify alternative agri-producer value streams that enable ‘short’, ‘smart’ and ‘low carbon’ food supply chains to develop.

3. Reduce producer-consumer disconnect from farm to fork, through increased engagement along short food supply chains (SFSC’s).

4. Explore agri-producer and customer challenges/enablers of SFSC adoption and scaling (including ICT), from B2B and B2C perspectives.

5. Establish ‘Living Lab’ within BIA Innovator Campus, to nurture SFSC ecosystem through knowledge exchange, synergies, and network building activities.


Applicants must have a good primary degree (First Class (Preferred) or Upper Second- Class Honours) in an appropriate discipline (e.g., Business Management, Psychology, Human Resource Management, Entrepreneurship or other relevant degree). An MSc award in an appropriate discipline would be preferable, though not essential. Candidates due to complete their primary or Masters Degree in coming months are eligible to apply for the scholarship and should indicate the expected result (this must be verified ahead of any formal offer being made).  The successful candidate should be self-motivated and have a keen interest in entrepreneurship, innovation management and management.

If English is not your first language you will need to satisfy the English language requirement:

IELTS: 6.5 – with no individual section lower than 6.0

TOEFL: 90 – with minimum scores as follows: Listening- 20; Reading – 19; Speaking – 21; Writing – 20

Scholarship Details

The PhD Scholarship is a research project supported by the Teagasc Walsh Scholarship funding. It is envisaged that the scholarship will commence in July 2024. The candidate will be based in Cork University Business School (CUBS), University College Cork (UCC) for the first year and then at the BIA Innovator campus to facilitate field research and data gathering. This PhD project will complement the existing EU Horizon project (ENFASYS), to test and evaluate strategies for supporting producers in a specific, applied ‘real-world’ context. The scholarship funding is a flat rate stipend of €25,000 per annum in addition to University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum and is tenable for up to 4 years (subject to satisfactory progress in studies each year).

The successful applicant will receive tailored guidance on their research, be part of UCC’s research-focused School community and the Teagasc research community. At the earliest possible opportunity during the tenure of a scholarship, the awardee will be required to prepare a series of journal articles to disseminate research findings and achieve desired impact.

Further Information

Please contact either of the following for more information and guidance regarding the scholarship and making an application:

Dr. Lawrence Dooley, Cork University Business School, Cork, University College Cork

Email: L.Dooley@ucc.ie

Dr. Áine Regan, Teagasc, Rural Economy & Development Programme, Athenry, Co. Galway

Email:  aine.regan@teagasc.ie

Closing Date

Applications should be received before 5pm, May 20th, 2024.

Download Application form here


Search for postgraduate business courses delivered by UCC’s CUBS on Postgrad.ie.

Cork University Business School (CUBS), UCC is Ireland’s largest business school, we produce 1,000 graduates annually, many of whom go on to reach the highest echelons of organisations across the world and create real world impact. Adopting a research led and practice informed approach, CUBS offers a high-quality student learning environment that delivers talent pipelines to transform the future of organisations regionally, nationally and internationally.

With a proud heritage dating back over a century, business education in UCC is undergoing a rebirth since our unprecedented investment in 16 new professors to launch the business school in 2015. Committed to lifelong learning and building on our successful, AMBA accredited, Executive MBA, we acquired the FT ranked Irish Management Institute in 2016, Ireland’s largest provider of executive education, strengthening UCC’s position as a provider of whole-life learning, development, and education.

Leading on our theme “Shaping leaders for a sustainable future”, CUBS offers a fresh and bold ambition to be globally recognised for attracting, nurturing and channeling diverse talent to deliver sustainable, productive organisations which contribute positively to societal health and well-being. Seeking to attract and develop the best globally, we continually strive to offer a world-class faculty that will build our academic excellence while also reinforcing our relevance by engaging in cutting-edge research. Indicative of our bold ambition to provide a world-class educational experience, we are investing in our new business campus in Cork city centre.

Our focus is on positively shaping the world in which we live to serve future generations and transform the future of business and society. This stems from the values and skills we seek to impart in our students and the innovative research undertaken. With UCC ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide we have ambitions to become a Triple Crown Accredited Business School, currently a ‘club’ of less than 100 schools. With highly ambitious staff and students, CUBS seeks to take its place among the leading business schools of the world. In sum, we seek to make a positive difference in individuals, business and society


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