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Dùthchas - Locating and Nourishing Cultural Roots of Scotland's Land Reform Revolution, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #531 (QS) Coventry, United Kingdom
Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in Dùthchas - Locating and Nourishing Cultural Roots of Scotland's Land Reform Revolution.
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This doctoral (PhD) project in Dùthchas - Locating and Nourishing Cultural Roots of Scotland's Land Reform Revolution has been devised and developed by a leading early-career researcher at Coventry University.

The Trailblazer Scheme provides doctoral researchers with an innovative and dynamic intellectual space in which to undertake transformative research, whilst fully supported by a team of experienced supervisors.

This research will investigate the cultural and historical roots of Scotland’s contemporary community-led land reform revolution. Over the last twenty-five years half-a-million acres of land have become community owned, mainly in the country's Gaelic-speaking Highlands. 

This revolution has helped reverse population decline, create jobs and develop local economies, in an area previously considered to need externally-led policy interventions. Cultural heritage and Gaelic language have been central to this transformation. 

In particular, local development projects have repeatedly focused around dùthchas, a Gaelic concept of the relationship between people and place. 

One project argued dùthchas 'speaks of strong, united, self-sufficient communities who actively look after their people, their heritage and their environment ... the essence of sustainability'. 

However, although dùthchas was invoked historically during resistance to Highland Clearances, the historical record has not been systematically assessed to understand what dùthchas has meant for generations of Gaelic speakers, and its role in helping them to make sense of their world and engage in land-based revolutions. 

Academic Environment

Coventry University has been the UK’s top modern university for seven consecutive years (Guardian University Guide 2013-2019) and holds a number of other prestigious accolades. Established in 2014 through substantial university investment, the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR) is rapidly building a global reputation for transdisciplinary research into processes of resilience in social-ecological systems. Among its key lines of research is work focusing on modelling of water and food systems, aided by high performance computing facilities.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Detailed Programme Facts

  • More details:

    The studentship will commence in either May or September, depending on availability of the successful applicant.

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Duration description

      between three and three and a half years fixed term

  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

  • The project addresses this lacuna, returning dùthchas to communities for which it has been a binding force and with potential to disclose international alignments with politically activated land-based traditions of other historically marginalised groups such as Maori and First Nations.


Michel Pimbert

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: Upper Second Class

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to Upper Second Class on the UK Honour scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on the UK Honour scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average. 
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • Gaelic speaker preferable
  • driving license essential
  • Experience and/or knowledge of community development and/or land reform in Scotland desirable
  • All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

Tuition Fee

Living costs for Coventry

  • 656 - 1060 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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