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SFI-IRC Pathway Programme PhD


SFI-IRC Pathway Programme PhD: Irish Women as investors in the Financial Sphere, 1700-1900

The UCD School of History invites applications for a fully-funded, four-year PhD studentship on Irish Women as investors in the Financial Sphere, 1700-1900. The successful applicant will join the SFI-IRC Pathway Grant research team led by Dr Andrew McDiarmid. The team will meet regularly, both virtually and physically, and be committed to the well-being and career development of the PhD Student.

At UCD, you will join a thriving community of postgraduate and early career researchers at the School of History (Top 100 History Departments, QS 2021). As a member of the School, the successful candidate will be able to draw on academic expertise and utilise the excellent resources available. Your studies and career development will also benefit from the School’s well-developed program of graduate supervision. Candidates will have the opportunity, if they wish, to tutor in the School.

The Project

The role of women as financial investors has become an important strand of historical research since the turn of the century. Many of the works which have emerged have, however, focused on England, leaving more work to be done to uncover the extent of Scots, Irish, or Welsh women’s experiences of participation in financial activity. This PhD project will address the Irish aspect of this absence and focus on the Irish women who were active in the financial sphere. Irish women had the opportunity to invest in large-scale British projects, including the South Sea Company and the Bank of England, and in the Irish National Debt (including various forms of lotteries, loans and securities), as well as a number of new financial projects which emerged after 1830, including canal, rail, and provincial banking ventures. The extent to which they did is, however, unknown. There is also an opportunity to go beyond the usual investment class (middle/upper) and consider how the poorer classes used their money; this is of interest regarding the tontine, which often provided the opportunity for those with less capital to invest in collective schemes and engage in an alternative method of saving. The PhD research will therefore contribute to a wider historiography on female investment patterns, ensuring that gender/sex perspectives are integrated into the research content, and adding the Irish experience to the discussion.

A collection of archive sources has been identified for this project. These cover a range of Irish and English ventures which presented investment opportunities for Irish women in banking and trading companies, as well infrastructure projects such as canals. Many of these are held in and around Dublin but some travel will also be expected.

Key PhD research questions:

  • To what degree were Irish women involved in financial markets? 
  • Where did women invest their money?
  • What were their investment strategies? 
  • Did women make different choices from their male counterparts? 
  • How involved were female shareholders in company business? 
  • Can we compare the investment patterns of different classes? 

PhD Objectives: 

  • To provide an understanding of patterns of Irish female investment 
  • To place Irish female investment within the context of the existing Irish, British and wider historiography 

The Studentship provides students with full fees, stipend (€19,000 p/a), and a generous research allowance for the four-year PhD programme. 

The School of History is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated, and everyone is afforded equality of opportunity. We welcome applications from everyone, including those who identify with any of the protected characteristics that are set out in the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy: Policies - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ucd.ie)

Applications should be submitted to ivar.mcgrath@ucd.ie by Friday 29th September 2023, 5 pm Irish time. The application must include a CV, academic transcripts, two academic references and a writing sample (e.g. MA dissertation or published article).

For queries, please contact the Associate Professor Ivar McGrath at ivar.mcgrath@ucd.ie

Terms and Conditions

  1. Applicants must have at least a first or upper second-class honours (or equivalent) primary degree and/or the same in a master’s degree. If examination results are not known at the time of application, the School of History may make a provisional offer of a Studentship subject to the student achieving a specified grade in their degree, or such other conditions as the School and University may impose.
  2. Applications will be accepted from suitably qualified applicants regardless of nationality or residence. Applicants, however, must make their own visa/consular arrangements to ensure that they are eligible to reside in Ireland for the duration of their studies.
  3. The successful applicant must formally enrol into the fulltime PhD programme to start in January 2024.
  4. The PhD Studentship provides: 1) an annual stipend of €19,000 for four years; 2) full fees; 3) a generous research allowance. The continuation of the Studentship for the second and subsequent years is dependent on satisfactory performance within the PhD programme and the achievement of the relevant milestones. Failure to progress to Stage Two of the programme within 18 months of registration may result in the suspension or cancellation of the studentship. Renewal of the studentship for the third and fourth years must be accompanied by a written report of the principal supervisor detailing the progression of the student’s studies and their satisfactory nature.
  5. This Studentship will be awarded only to those who are full-time students and who will engage in full-time in study.
  6. Applicants must submit a CV, academic transcripts, two academic references and a writing sample (e.g. MA dissertation or published article) by Friday, 29 September 2023, 5pm Irish time to ivar.mcgrath@ucd.ie. In making its decision, the selection panel will assess the academic record of the applicant. Academic record will be assessed principally on grades and will take account of academic prizes.