Apply as Core Researcher

The Graduate School is conceived of as an open flexible architecture for inter-institutional, inter-disciplinary collaboration. If you are intending to become a doctoral researcher in the broad domain of creative arts and media, you may wish to participate in one of our proposal development workshops or contact the School ( to set up a meeting with the Dean or one of the Fellows to discuss your research interests.

Our researchers will typically register in one of the collaborating institutions that have worked together to develop the School – DIT, NCAD, IADT and Ulster. If you wish to apply to become a doctoral researcher at the School it is recommended that you contact the School Administrator:

Membership of the School as a ‘core researcher’ is available to doctoral track researchers who: (a) work in the broad creative arts and media domain; and (b) register within one of the collaborating institutions. (Researchers based in other institutions are invited to participate as associate researchers.)

Please note that when funded positions are available within the School they are advertised here.


Core Researcher: Frequently Asked Questions

This question and answer sheet is designed to help intending applicants complete their application submission. If there are questions you would like to see answered here please forward these to

When can I apply and who do I talk to?

The School welcomes expressions of interest all year round. Typically we invite interested applicants to attend one of ourproposal development workshops. Each of our institutions operates different timelines for recruitment, and these change from year to year. Some institutions welcome new PhD researchers at several different times in the year. The easiest way to get the application process started is to approach the School to particpate in a proposal development workshop. We have taken on new researchers in both Spring (starts Feb 1st) and Autumn (starts Sept 1st) Semesters. As a general guideline, we recommend that you begin to prepare a research proposal at least 8 months in advance of the date that you wish to commence studies.

Which institution should I apply to?

The School supports applicants to all the institutions, our remit is to support the development of the sector on an all-island basis. We recommend that in choosing an institution that you consider
(i) the supervisor(s) you may wish to work with;
(ii) the relevance of your topic to the various institutions’ existing resources, practices and research activities;
(iii) prospects for funding opportunities

The Graduate School seeks to support all core researchers to experience a critically challenging, dynamic and robust research education. We work to ensure that all researchers – without prejudice of particular institutional registration – have access to a unique and world-class research education. We are happy to discuss options with intending applicants and can put you in touch with the key superviors on different research topics to help inform your decision. We favour an approach which prioritises the research content as the main driver of your institutional choice.

Currently weare establishing an expanded network of institutions and setting up an all-Island access advisory board to help broaden and promote participation in the School. Keep an eye on the website for updates. See further questions below on the question of supervisors also.

Which disciplines are eligible for consideration?

The School welcomes applications from a wide range of disciplines: creative arts and media, including design; visual and performing arts; architecture and digital media; and the critical/theoretical/historical underpinnings of these practices. This includes – but is not limited to – the broad disciplines of architecture, art, design, drama, media and music. It is therefore not necessarily the case that all these disciplines will be equally represented in any given year’s cohort of researchers. The key factor determining the specific disciplinary mix researchers will be the quality of the research projects proposed. We do not operate a discipline-quota system, but respond to the most innovative and critically challenging proposals. Working in this innnovative arena the School seeks to creatively conceive its mission in an inclusive manner. It is recommended that you look at the websites of the collaborators to help identify the particular expertise that each institution contributes to the School: and

Can a project draw on more than one discipline?

Yes. It is an explicit goal of the School to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and interaction.

Will there ONLY be support for practice-based aspects of these disciplines?

The School conceives its mission to support research in these discipline areas not only through various practice modes but also through supporting and developing the critical, theoretical and historical underpinnings of contemporary practice. The School therefore has a broad remit to support many modes of research enquiry and not solely practice-based or practice-led enquiry. Cultural studies, historical studies and philosophical studies that are anchored in te broad domain of creative arts and media are also pursued through the School. The School furthermore has a specific thematic priority to develop research across visual and material culture. (See the outline of the School’s Programme.)


Preparing an Application

Should I include samples of my work?

For the purpose of the initial application this is not required. It is however recommended that you prepare a portfolio of material documenting your previous work. This will be required should you be called for interview. You may be invited to submit this in advance of the interview, or at the interview itself, depending on the nature of your specific research project / creative practice, and the format of your portfolio / documentation. Should you be successful in the first phase of the application process, the call to interview will make explicit the portfolio requirements (where these apply.)

Who should my referees be?

The referees should be individuals who have worked with you in a professional context (e.g. as a lecturer / tutor or as a manager / employer / commissioner) which would enable them to comment on your aptitude for further studies.

How can I find out about possible supervisors?

Look at our lists of fellows and associate fellows on our “people” page. The institutional websites are also a good starting point:,, and You can also pass on specific enquiries to the Dean, Dr. Mick Wilson: Other sources of information on potential supervisors include the various Heads of Faculty, Heads of School, and Heads of Department in the collaborating institutions. If, at the time of completing the application, you are unsure as to who you believe to be the most suitable supervisor for your particular project, please indicate clearly with which of the partner institutions you would prefer to register.


Research Proposal

How long should the proposal be?

The proposal should typically be approximately 1,500 words long. The key consideration in drafting the proposal should be clarity. If it is necessary to provide greater detail or more extensive contextual material, then appendices may also be included.

How detailed should the proposal be?

Headings that should be addressed by a PhD research proposal typically include:

(a) Research aims / research questions (i.e., indicating what the basic focus of the proposed work is to be);

(b) Relevance / contribution to the discipline(s) (i.e., indicating the broader context that the proposed work will exist within);

(c) Sources (bibliography, archives, examples, prior works within the field etc.);

(d) Resources required to develop the project (e.g. studio space, specific equipment access, specialist materials / techniques, facilities, specialist information resources…);

(e) Proposed timeline of project work (indicating key milestones in the development of the project).

The level of detail required under each heading will depend on the specific project. The key requirement is that the proposal communicates a clear programme of enquiry and investigation. It should demonstrate that the applicant is capable of framing their own agenda for research and that they have a sense of the larger field to which they wish to make a contribution.

Can I submit a proposal that I have already submitted elsewhere?

If you have had a proposal rejected in the past, it is not recommended that you re-submit that proposal unmodified.


Institutional & Supervision Arrangements

In which of the collaborating institutions should I register?

Typically, researchers will register in the institution of the primary supervisor. By talking directly with staff at the School you can develop a clear sense of what your options are and how your research development can be supported through the Graduate School.

Where will the programme seminars, lectures, workshops and related events take place?

The Graduate School will have a fixed base, initially in St. John’s Lane, Dublin 8. However, it is proposed that elements of the programme will be realised, drawing on the full range of institutional locations which are made available to the School through the collaborating institutions.

What resources and facilities will successful applicants have access to?

Successful applicants will have access to the facilities of their registered institution, the facilities of the Graduate School itself, and they will also be able to request access to the resources of collaborating institutions. It will help to clarify resourcing issues if applicants identify – through the research proposal – the key resources that their research may require. The Graduate School recognises that resource needs will evolve and alter as the research project is developed and implemented.


Full-time, part-time and other modes of participation

Can I study at the Graduate School without being in the School, or even in Dublin, on a full-time basis?

It is intended to provide other modes of PhD study, and alternative pathways for researchers, through the ‘Associate Researcher’ role, which will provide study options for researchers with significant time-commitment to other activities outside the research project itself. We will be pilotingourfirst ‘immersive’ pathway in Autumn 2009. This is specifically designed to support researchers unable to attend weekly sessions in Dublin and who require an alternative method of access and delivery. [Details posted shortly.]

How else can I get involved?

Besides the roles of core researchers and associate researcher we are evolving new ways of interaction through the Graduate School. In the first two years of its operation the Graduate School will pilot a number of projects which provide access to the research environment for undergraduates, practitioners in the field and other stakeholders. The School website will provide information on these opportunities as they emerge in the coming year. The School especially welcomes at this time expressions of interest from potential supervisors or research specialists who may wish to contribute to the research activities of the School (e.g. research training, conference development, peer review publication, and other research initiatives.)


Selection Criteria

What are the general eligibility requirements to apply?

In order to be eligible to apply for doctoral track study, an applicant will normally have met the following minimum requirements:

  • have achieved an honours BA degree (minimum 2.2) in a subject area relevant to the proposed research project.
  • be available for full time study – (see associate researcher role for part-time modes).
  • have submitted a research proposal, completed application form and supporting documentation

It is also desirable – though not essential – that the applicant will:

  • have achieved – or be about to achieve – a masters qualification.
  • have a demonstrated track record of strong engagement and achievement in respect of their proposed research subject area.
  • have demonstrated an ability to initiate and develop research projects both on a solo and on a collaborative or teamwork basis.

How are decisions made about recruitment of core researchers?

The selection process is two-phased. The initial phase will entail shortlisting for interview based on a review of the applicants’ submissions. Given that eligibility criteria are met, and that a complete application submission has been received, the application review criteria will be:

  • evidence of a well defined project.
  • evidence of critical literacy and clarity of exposition in the research proposal.
  • project relevance – in terms of both the potential benefit from, and the contribution to – the Graduate School programme and research themes
  • track record as evidenced in CV and – where appropriate – references.

In the case of applicants who are deemed, by the review committee, to adequately satisfy these criteria there will be a call to interview. (Interviews are provisionally scheduled to take place in the first week of December.) The decision of the review committee in this regard will be final. The review committee can at its discretion seek the opinion of discipline experts in evaluating the suitability and relevance of the research proposal.

The second phase of selection will be by interview. Applicants will be interviewed by a team – consisting of the Dean (chair), three domain experts, discipline specialist(s) and where practicable the proposed supervisor. The interview assessment criteria will include:

  • feasibility of the proposed project
  • general aptitude and clarity of purpose in proposing to pursue a programme of doctoral studies
  • potential contribution of the person to the research culture and programme of the Graduate School
  • quality of prior achievement, experience and familiarity with respect to the research area proposed

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