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Graduate researchers

PhD Profiles

Our graduate researchers are an essential part of the School community and play a key role in supporting undergraduate students, hosting visiting staff, participating in seminars and a range of other School events. We pride ourselves on providing a high-quality learning and research environment to our graduate researchers and supporting intercultural awareness and diversity in our graduate community.

Amy Duley 2021

Amy Duley

Duley is a Teagasc Walsh Scholar. She began her PhD research at UCD in September 2021 under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Julien Mercille (UCD) and Dr David Meredith (Teagasc). Her research examines generational renewal and elder care, with particular focus on how farm households in Ireland organise home care. Duley holds an MSc in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law from the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Animal Products and Food Science.

Amy on LinkedIn
Benjamin Obe 2021

Oluwafemi Benjamin Obe

Benjamin, a PhD candidate at UCD, explores the relationship between cities and climate, focusing on fast-growing urban areas in developing countries. Under the supervision of Ass Prof Tobi Morakinyo and funded by UCD School of Geography, Benjamin's research employs open-source geospatial data and advanced analytical tools such as Google Earth Engine and mesoscale models. By examining urban form and functions, he aims to understand the impact on surface meteorology and hence public health.

Benjamin on ResearchGate
Profile photo of Kate de Smeth

Kate de Smeth

Kate is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar under the supervision of Prof. Conor Murphy (ICARUS, Maynooth) and Dr Jonathan Turner. She employs historical data rescue, time series analysis, and hydrological modelling to characterise the flow regimes of arterially drained rivers in Ireland from the 1940s to the present day, and to investigate drivers of change. Previously Kate worked as a Geomorphologist specialising in river restoration design.

Kate on ResearchGate
Nick ONeill

Nicholas O'Neill

Nick is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and began his PhD research at UCD in September 2020 under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Julien Mercille. His research examines the role of business in the development of social policy, with a particular focus on private for-profit providers of health and social care. Prior to beginning his PhD, Nick worked as an assistant researcher for the social policy think-tank TASC. He received an MA in Geopolitics & the Global Economy in UCD in 2019.

Nick on ResearchGate
Sarah Foudy

Sarah Foudy

Sarah is a PhD candidate on the Beyond Opposition research project, under the supervision of Professor Kath Browne. Her research explores the affect that changes in the socio-legal landscape surrounding sexualities and gender in Ireland, the UK and Canada have had on those who, to some degree, do not support these changes. Sarah comes from a socio-legal academic background, having completed an LL.B in Law and an MA in Gender Studies.

Beyond Opposition
Profile photo of Virginia Morejon

Virginia Morejon

Virginia is funded by the Irish Marine Institute Cullen Scholarship. Her research addresses the impacts or cumulative effects of multiple human activities in the marine environment. Her research will be supervised by UCD Associate Professor Ainhoa González Del Campo and Elizabeth Tray from the Marine Institute. They hope to better understand the principal human-environment interactions in Irish waters as a team to inform evidence-based marine spatial planning and decision-making.

Zeting Li 2

Zeting Li

Zeting is a PhD student looking at urban climate and climate-related risks. He is supervised by Assoc. Prof. Gerald Mills and funded by Next Generation Energy Systems (NexSys) program. His research used publicly available geospatial data to evaluate climate risks at various scales.

Previously, Zeting earned his MSc in Geospatial Data Analysis from UCD in 2021 and worked as a research assistant in the Terrain AI project based at UCD in 2022.

Zeting on Orcid
Zikang Ji 2022

Zikang Ji

Zikang joined UCD in 2021 to pursue a PhD in Geography supervised by Assoc Prof Niamh Moore-Cherry. In his research, his focus is key towns in Ireland. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, he is working on exploring the potential and future of these Irish towns under the current regional development model. He would be more than happy to discuss if you are also interested in related topics.

Zikang on ResearchGate
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Emily Rick

Emily is a Teagasc Walsh Scholar investigating hydromorphology in agricultural catchments for her PhD, supervised by Jonathan Turner and Per-Erik Mellander. Her research uses landscape evolution modelling to investigate hydromorphological restoration with the aim of improving Water Framework Directive status in small, heavily impacted catchments. Emily worked previously as a consultant Geomorphologist, aiding flood projects, and delivering geomorphology training.

Emily on LinkedIn
Rachel Bayer

Rachel Bayer

Rachel began her PhD research at UCD in January 2023, under the supervision of Professor Kath Browne and Professor Alun Jones. Centered in the areas of queer and sexualities geographies, Rachel’s research focuses on asexual geographies - exploring asexual people’s everyday experiences of space and the 'allosexualization of space' in Ireland.

Prior to this, Rachel earned an MSc in Critical Geographies from UCD in 2022 and also holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Michigan.

Rachel on ResearchGate
Profile photo of Rashmi Guha Ray

Rashmi Guha Ray

Rashmi is a European Research Council scholar. She started in May 2023 under Professor Rosana Pinheiro-Machado. Her research will be ethnography-driven and focus on the nexus between precarious labour vis-a-vis extreme political ideologies in India.
Rashmi holds an MA degree in Conflict, Governance and Development from the University of York, UK, and an MA in History from Jadavpur University, India. She also has a degree in political journalism and was a journalist before foraying into academia

Rashmi on LinkedIn
Profile photo of Dr Wagner Alves da Silva

Dr Wagner Alves da Silva

Wagner joined UCD in 2023 to pursue his PhD in extreme politics and digital economy. His research is supervised by Prof Rosana Pinheiro-Machado. The main research aim is to understand the connections between precarious labour, the digital economy, and Brazil's rise in extreme politics. His ethnographic work focuses on platform workers' political engagement, particularly looking at neoliberalism and the gig economy. Wagner holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology ( 2023, National Museum, Brazil).

Wagner on ResearchGate
Profile photo of Miguel Rivera

Miguel Rivera

Miguel joined UCD as a Geography PhD student in May 2023. His research will use ethnography to understand the links between precarious labour, the digital economy, & support for extreme politics in the Philippines. This research is under the supervision of Professor Pinheiro-Machado, and funded by an ERC grant. Miguel holds a BA & MA in Political Science from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. His research interests include Political Theory, Democratization, & Authoritarianism.

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Yawen Kang

Yawen Kang is a PhD student in the School of Geography supervised by Assoc Prof Ainhoa González Del Campo. Her research is funded by the University College Dublin-China Scholarship Council Scheme; it refers to the spatial planning of cultivated land and graze land, considering the ecological effect. She hopes to better understand the relationship and interaction between human activities and the environment.

Profile photo of Florence E. Sinthauli Silalahi

Florence E. Sinthauli Silalahi

Florence is a researcher at the National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia. Florence is funded by the Indonesia endowment fund for education. Her research under the supervision of Assoc Prof González & Dr Bonnin. Her research focuses on evaluating the implementation of SDGs in Indonesia. The output will be a spatial analysis of traffic accidents from space & time & a spatial pattern analysis of the homeless and health facilities for cancer. She has published 15 scientific papers.

Florence on Google Scholar
Profile photo of Ruodi Yang

Ruodi Yang

Ruodi Yang joined the School of Geography at UCD as a PhD student in September 2023. Her research is under the supervision of Professor Niamh Moore-Cherry and is funded by the UCD – CSC (China Scholarship Council) Scheme. She holds a master's degree in social science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on urban governance of public space in high-density cities, and she hopes to promote cities' healthy, innovative, and sustainable development.

Profile photo of Leanna First-Arai

Leanna First-Arai

Leanna First-Arai is a PhD student whose research focuses on environmental justice, climate action and human health. Her current project, supervised by Dr Jeremy Auerbach, explores the impacts of community-led highway removal efforts. She is also a journalist whose work appears in The Guardian, Truthout, and elsewhere, and co-producer/host of the award-winning podcast Broken Ground.

Leanna's website

(opens in a new window)Recent Graduates

Radicalising homeland: agency, temporality and spatiality in Kurdish Freedom Movement's representations of Kurdistan.È

Name Thesis title Supervisor

Saeed Alharbi

Assessment of exposure to flash flooding in an arid environment: Case study of Jeddah City neighbourhood Abruq Ar Rughamah, Saudi Arabia

(opens in a new window)Associate Professor Gerald Mills

Jack McCarthy

Desire, anticipation, and assemblage: an analysis of collaborative agri-environmental governance on collectively owned farmland in Ireland

(opens in a new window)Dr. Christine Bonnin and (opens in a new window)Dr. David Meredith (Teagasc)

Niall Buckley

Modelling Dublin: A workflow for the application of an Urban Building Energy Model to evaluate carbon mitigation strategies at neighbourhood scales

(opens in a new window)Associate Professor Gerald Mills

Colm Casserly

Investigating the impact of low-head dams on sediment transport dynamics and connectivity in gravel-cobble streams

(opens in a new window)Dr Jonathan Turner and (opens in a new window)John O'Sullivan (Civil Engineering)

Albert Orta Mascaró

Cities, networks, and region-building: exploring intermunicipal connections and strategies in the north-western Mediterranean

(opens in a new window)Prof Alun Jones and (opens in a new window)Prof Federico Ferretti

Francesco  Ventura

Radicalising homeland: agency, temporality and spatiality in Kurdish Freedom Movement's representations of Kurdistan. 

(opens in a new window)Prof Alun Jones and (opens in a new window)Prof Julien Mercille

Andrew McCartan

Geographies of LGBTQ+ Activism: Ireland After Marriage Equality 

(opens in a new window)Prof Kath Browne and Dr Alexander Kondakov