Dr Sara Ferguson
Current Research Project
STAYin(g) Rural: Staying in the Rural – Contemporary life course related senses of belonging, mobility and rural community participation
Dr Gemma Catney (appointed as Principal Investigator at QUB, NI following the passing of Prof. Aileen Stockdale) Email: email@example.com
Prof Tialda Haartsen (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Dr Annett Steinführer (Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Germany)
Details of any grant/funding connected with the research
STAYin(g)Rural is a three year funded project (2019-2022). Within the UK, this is funded by UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (approx. £500k).(Within the Netherlands, this has been funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and in Germany, by DFG, German Research Foundation).
The STAY(in)g Rural project aims to understand how and why people stay in rural areas at different life transitions and the contributions they make to rural communities and rural quality of life. It is hoped that these understandings can then help inform policy decisions about funding, service provision and living conditions in rural areas.
The project combines a questionnaire survey of households, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions in three rural case study regions: East Groningen (Netherlands); Clogher Valley (Northern Ireland); and Südharz (Germany). It focuses on three life course stages which are known triggers for re-negotiating residential choices: young adulthood, family formation and post-retirement. STAYin(g)Rural is intended to yield significant new insights on (i) contemporary types of rural stayers and staying processes; (ii) how rural belonging and mobility relate to processes of staying and active participation to maintain rural quality of life; and (iii) how these are performed in different geographical contexts and at different life stages.
Project website: www.stayingrural.eu
Impact of Research
Academic outputs are to include: international (peer reviewed) journal publications (with a minimum of three planned for each of the 4 work packages); conference presentations and conference working groups.
Non-academic outputs/impact: It is anticipated that the main beneficiaries will be rural residents, local community representatives, and local and regional rural policy makers. Preparation of, and outcomes from, each research phase will be shared and discussed with these rural stakeholders via National Steering Groups, case study seminars, an international workshop and a research findings summary which will include policy recommendations.
How have you been supported at Queen's?
Professional development has been supported and encouraged at Queen’s throughout the course of my research career. This has been through opportunities to; (i) contribute to other research activities being undertaken within the wider university, and also beyond (e.g. Belfast Strategic Partnership); (ii) advance teaching skills by delivering guest lectures within the school; (iii) engage with other post-doctoral researchers through the EPS Post-doc Society and (iv) contribute to groups and committees both within the school (SNBE Research Committee) and beyond the university setting (IPH AIPAAG).