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Research News Archive

Dr John Barry has been awarded a Queens Annual Fund award

Dr. John Barry has recently been awarded a Queens Annual Fund award.  This project, aims to enhance the Queens student learning experience by taking a group of undergraduate and postgraduate students for a week long immersive learning experience in the ecovillage in Cloughjoran, Co. Tipperary.  This week long experience will be shaped around the theme of ‘Sustainable living and learning in the 21st century’.

Dr, Barry stated that, “The aim of this project is to undergraduate and postgraduate (both taught and research) students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, but all of who are studying sustainability issues (modules, pathways or Masters and PhD research topics), the opportunity for a funded educational trip to this unique sustainable community on the island of Ireland.

The students will be explicitly drawn from different disciplinary backgrounds, across all three faculties and also from undergraduate to PhD level, all sharing a common sustainability learning pathway and interest.  This unique mix of disciplines and levels has been explicitly proposed to enhance the learning experience of all student participants.

There should also be indirect student benefits from this visit in terms of future Queens students benefitting from - a) bringing together teaching staff involved in sustainability teaching, learning and research in the build up and planning of the visit; b) the learning resources (podcasts and other recording) which will be created as a legacy of this visit; c) establishing links between Queens, and The Village sustainable community”.  

This project’s objectives are:

  • To give Queens students who are studying sustainability topics the experience of The Village as a living model of a sustainable community;
  • To expose these students to ‘hands-on’ and practical experience of resilience and sustainability solutions in housing, food production, resource management, governance and decision-making;
  • To enable students to learn from some of the most innovative and cutting edge practioners,  including social and business innovators in sustainability and resilience thinking and practice;
  • To enable students to integrate their learning and understanding of sustainability in a ‘real world’ context of the ‘living laboratory’ of The Village ecological community;
  • To enable students from their different disciplinary backgrounds and approaches to sustainability to learn from one another;
  • To enable students to learn about resilience and building community resilience in particular and how it relates to sustainable living;
  • To give students the opportunity to learn about sustainability in a different educational context than a university-setting;
  • To record, via podcasting principally the week’s learning, which will to be put up on the University’s website and to be used as a future teaching and learning resource.

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Alternatives to Political Violence

Congratulations to Sean Brennan who has been selected, on the basis of this ongoing PhD research, to participate in Boston College's Institute of Irish Studies' ten-day 'Alternatives to Political Violence' (programme starting on 28 February 2012. Sean will join a select group of community leaders, academics, and relevant government and security officials from Ireland and from Northern Ireland who will engage with their US counterparts to examine the ways in which societies can address the growth of violent extremism. The programme will explore the role of non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, community leaders, and government agencies in encouraging people to express political, social, and cultural identity through constructive and non-violent channelsbe one of ten researchers from across the island of Ireland participating in the programme.

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Chinese PhD scholarships

Queen’s University Belfast invites applications from outstanding Chinese students from selected Universities to pursue PhD study at Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). There are 20 fully funded three year research studentships, commencing October 2012. The studentships provide fees and living costs. 

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy has been awarded three of these scholarships in the following areas:

China, Rising Powers and Coalition Building in Global Economic Governance (Drs Andreasson and Baker)

Sustainability and the transition to a low carbon economy (Dr. John Barry)

Theories of modernisation and the ecological crisis (Dr. John Barry)

To check if you are eligible to apply, please check the following website  If you are interested in any of these three PhD sscholarships, please contact the potential PhD supervisors above. Details on how to apply can be found here -

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Strategic Priority Studentship 2012-2013


Queens University, Belfast has a long tradition of carrying out surveys of political attitudes relating to the Northern Ireland conflict and, through ARK (, providing high quality time-series data on changing attitudes This ranges from the Moxon-Browne survey of 1978, through the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Surveys of the 1980s and early 1990s, to the current Northern Ireland Life & Times Surveys. 

The holder of the studentship will fill a crucial gap in the time series on Northern Ireland political attitudes and analyse links between: (1) the actual experience of violence and (2) political attitudes and membership in political and paramilitary organisations that will be unique and ground-breaking. The joint supervision will bring together ARK’s and the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work’s expertise in attitudes analysis with the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy’s expertise in Northern Irish politics.

The ‘Irish Mobility Study’ was a benchmark social mobility survey funded by the British SSRC (now the ESRC) carried out in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic with fieldwork taking place during the winter of 1973/74, the period of most intense political violence in Northern Ireland. The survey yielded achieved probability samples of 2,419 respondents in Northern Ireland and 2,352 in the Irish Republic. The data are now held by the UK Data Archive. As well as its core data required for social mobility analyses, the survey collected very extensive information on attitudes in relation to the Northern Ireland conflict, organisational membership and the extent to which respondents had experienced or been affected by the political violence. These latter data have never been analysed.
The successful applicant for the studentship will analyse the political data from the Irish Mobility Study in the following areas:

  • Northern Ireland has excellent time-series data on changing political attitudes. However, there is a gap between the 1968 Rose data and the 1978 Moxon-Browne data. The studentship will fill the gap, with crucial information from 1973/74, collected at the height of the political violence;
  • The core social mobility data means that the attitudes responses can be closely analysed by class, religion and other variables at a greater level of rigour than usual and that Northern Ireland can be compared with the Irish Republic;
  • The links between political attitudes and organisational membership, as well as political party affiliation and, for some respondents, involvement in paramilitary organisations can be assessed;
  • The concrete and detailed information on the extent to which respondents, their families and their friends had been affected by the violence can be correlated with their political attitudes, including whether or not respondents supported violence as a means of achieving political goals. Such data do not exist elsewhere. This part of the studentship will be genuinely ground-breaking.

Start Date: 01 October 2012

End Date: 30 September 2015

First Supervisor: Professor Robert Miller
School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work
Research Cluster: Identities, Life Style & Culture

Second Supervisor: Dr. John Barry
School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy
Research Cluster: Political Theory

The deadline for applications is 4.00pm on Monday 12th March 2012. Application is via Queens University’s online application system  available from this link. All applications will be appraised according to the University's selection criteria for admission to postgraduate research. Selection will include an interview.

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Keynote address by Margaret O’Callaghan
Margaret O’Callaghan gave the keynote address at the one day conference on The Irish War of Independence in the Midlands hosted by the Old Athlone History Society in Custume Barracks, Athlone on the 26 November 2011. Her talk was entitled ‘Contexts for understanding the debate on the meanings of the Irish War of Independence’

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Terrorist Leaderships and Counter-Terrorism Lecture

Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards was invited to talk about the nature of Terrorism Leaders and Counter-terrorism Responses October 6th by LinCT the Leadership in Counter-Terrorism Programme which brings together law-enforcement partners from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US.  

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Bursary from the Political Studies Association of Ireland for Neil Matthews
Doctoral candidate Neil Matthews obtains a postgraduate bursary from the Political Studies Association of Ireland for his work on political parties in Northern Ireland. Neil will present his research at the PSAI Annual Conference next week, in Dublin.

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Dr Barry represents NI at Environment Audit Committee Meeting

Dr. John Barry, Reader in the School of Politics and Associate Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World has been invited to address a meeting of the House of Commons’ Environment Audit Committee at Keele University next Tuesday (18th October).  The meeting is focused on the emerging relationship between the EAC and the wider Sustainable Development research and policy community in the UK following the demise of the UK Sustainable Development Commission.  Dr. Barry will be representing Queens and Prof Ian Montgomery will be representing UU.

The seminar will explore three objectives 

  1. To position the EAC in the changing post SDC world of research and policy, and in the continuing follow up to its report on embedding SD in government
  2. To offer a perspective on new approaches to the interpretation of sustainability in a changing UK and in a period of austerity and falling real household income
  3. To consider possible new lines for enquiry for the EAC to pursue post Rio+20 in helping guide the UK to a fairer and more sustainable society and economy.

Dr. Barry said “This seminar offers a great opportunity to explore directly with the Environment Audit Committee how best to establish working relations with a wide range of interested parties and organisations across the UK and the devolved regions. It is timely in that there is much interest in forming a set of networks amongst research teams across the UK, and especially in creating regional ‘hubs’ of research and policy advice within the four countries of the nation.  I think Queens is uniquely placed to contribute to the development of a vibrant Northern Ireland research hub. 

“The seminar is also timely in that there may be a need to reformulate both the messages and the targets for the furtherance of the transition from unsustainability amongst the people in an emerging age of austerity for the great majority, and when the longer term and possible less well justified benefits of acting in due time may appear unrewarding. So there is value is discussing how sustainability may best be made meaningful in these challenging times for many charities, businesses, and households”.

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Where is European democracy heading?

A large social science project within the Sixth Framework Programme is coming to an end in 2011. Professor Yvonne Galligan heads the team examining Gender Justice and Democracy and Senior Research Fellow on the project, Sara Clavero, will be in Brussels to present our findings.

Join RECON’s outreach conference in Brussels on May 19th to learn more about our findings.

The half-day conference 'Where is European democracy heading?’ will address questions of great relevance for the ongoing process of reforming European and national institutions. The key question is how to strengthen democracy in the EU.

  • What is the constitutional future for Europe?
  • How is European representative democracy working?
  • How and why is the EU contested in the member states?
  • New patterns of Euroscepticism in political parties and media?
  • How do national intellectuals debate Europe?
  • Is the EU’s security and defence policy exempted from democracy?
  • What is the status of gender democracy in the EU?
  • How has European governance influenced the financial crisis?
  •  International trade – an area for conflict of laws?    

RECON findings presented in brief can be downloaded here

The conference programme is available here

When:  Thursday, 19 May 2011, 09 – 13 (followed by a light lunch)

Where:  Résidence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, Brussels (map)

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Katie Taylor awarded William and Betty MacQuitty Travel Scholarship

Katie Taylor, a student of the IPEC Cluster in the School of Politics, has been awarded a £1000 travel grant from the William and Betty MacQuitty Travel Scholarship. She will receive the cheque at a reception on the 14th April for field-work to be carried out between 2011-2012. Katie is studying the impact of civil society in Israel and will use the travel grant in order to travel to Israel over the summer of 2011 and meet with local NGOs to conduct first-hand interviews. The William and Betty MacQuitty Travel Scholarship encourages post-graduate students to conduct their studies abroad, with the assertion that “travel broadens the mind.”  This is an excellent opportunity for Katie to conduct first-hand research and provide an original contribution to knowledge.

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School invites applications for China in Africa: an analysis of development, trade and security PhD project

Queen’s University Belfast invites applications from outstanding Chinese students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Chongqing University to pursue PhD study at Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). There are 20 fully funded three year research studentships, commencing October 2011. The studentships provide fees and living costs, further details here.

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy invites applications for the following project:

China in Africa: an analysis of development, trade and security

This project will address China’s growing role and influence in Africa in the increasingly interdependent areas of development and security as documented in several notable studies. It will assess the main drivers and dynamics of evolving Chinese engagement with Africa amid growing involvement in peacekeeping in African conflicts, the provision of military assistance and weapons sales to African states, and increasing development assistance and investment, and the growing significance of Sino-African trade relationships.

Lead Supervisor: Dr Stefan Andreasson, email: or telephone +44 (0)28 9097 3051

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Dr Undala Alam awarded a British Academy grant

Dr Undala Alam (who joined us on 1 December), has been awarded a British Academy grant of £7500 to study the public and private discourse leading to the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. Undala’s research focuses on the politics of water management in particular those of international river basins.

The research will identify the public rhetoric in India and Pakistan over their claims to the Indus basin’s waters, and compare it to the private narrative underpinning the difficult negotiations that eventually led to the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. This grant will permit a bibliographic search of Indian and Pakistani newspapers held in the British Library in Colindale, north London.

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Wanted: a leader to revive the Celtic Tiger by Dr John Barry

Dr John Barry,  a Reader in the School,  who is currently a visiting fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the Australian National University has had an article published in the Canberra Times.  The article entitled 'Wanted: a leader to revive the Celtic Tiger' may be accessed here.

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Sligo IT conference on reimagining Irish political culture

Prof Galligan third from left and organiser, Joan Morrison fourth from left

Opening the Sligo Institute of Technology conference on Friday 11 February, Professor Yvonne Galligan said "Diversity is the key to reimagining Irish political culture. The inclusion of women and their views is one element in this process of change. Today's political crisis can be the seedbed of a genuinely inclusive and accountable democracy."

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Dr John Barry keynote speaker at CarbonZero NI conference

Dr. John Barry, Reader in the School of Politics and Associate Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World is the keynote speaker at the CarbonZero NI conference ‘Newry – A Sustainable Smart City?’, to be held on Tuesday 25th January in Bagenal’s Castle.  The title of Dr. Barry’s keynote address is ‘The Sustainable City in the 21st Century: Energy, Peak Oil and Climate Change’.

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A Conference to Celebrate International Women’s Day

‘The Ideal Woman’: Interrogating Femininity across Disciplines and Time

Queen’s University Belfast

Friday 11 - Saturday 12 March 2011

Poster available here

International plenary speaker to be confirmed.

Historically, there have been various constructions of what is to be an “ideal woman”. Across disciplines, cultures, spheres and societies the “ideal woman” has become associated with modes of femininity and ‘proper’ behaviour. Political theories, ideologies, legal institutions and religious faiths have defined rights and duties; virtues and vices and condemned those who do not conform. World literature presents a full array of models and characters which personify both the ‘ideal’ woman and those women who subvert the archetype. Contemporary popular culture still disseminates ideas and presents women of different nationalities and age with models of ‘proper’ sexuality, behaviour, style, and appearance. This interdisciplinary postgraduate conference seeks to interrogate constructions of ideal femininity and how such models have been reiterated, reinvented, manipulated, and challenged. We welcome (20 minute) papers that include, but are not limited to, the following themes:

• Marriage and the domestic sphere including issues surrounding childbirth, childcare, and household management.

• Women in public roles – local/transnational

• Constructions of femininity within religious, ethnic and national discourses

• The female voice reimagining/challenging/reiterating dominant modes

• Women and popular culture – contributions and representations

• Travel, international encounters, missionary work

• Female madness, melancholy and hysteria

• Heterosexuality and Queer theory


Please submit an abstract of not more than 250 words by Friday 17th December to Maria Deiana, Laura Gallagher and Rachel Wilson at

A conference of the First Mondays International Research Forum on Women, QUB

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