Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has launched a new initiative to support six master’s students to further their rural development with a bursary of €60,000.

The Minister hopes this financial support will encourage more young people to continue their studies and pursue a career in this area.

The Minister says, “Under ‘Our Rural Future’, our rural communities have undergone a huge level of change and rejuvenation that has had a really positive impact on families and businesses. We hope to see applications from candidates in all disciplines relevant to sustainable rural development outlined in ‘Our Rural Future.’”

She welcomes research projects that will contribute to the evidence basis which will underpin government policies relevant to sustainable rural development. These will help address challenges and seize the opportunities ahead.

Higher Education Network

In 2021, the Department of Rural and Community Development established Our Rural Future Higher Education and Research Institutions Network (Network) to enhance collaboration between HEIs, research organisations and government. It also allows for cutting-edge research to take place across the country.

The bursary was developed in collaboration with the Higher Education Institution Network to encourage the wider take-up of rural development research at the postgraduate level.

The funding is being awarded to a joint proposal by UCD, NUIG and UCC. This is for their complementary master’s programmes in rural development with specialisms in rural innovation, climate adaptation, and sustainable development.

“I welcome these generous bursaries from the DRCD which will help students in UCD and our partner institutions to research key themes in rural development, such as rural community development, just transitions and climate adaptation. Along with helping to achieve Ireland’s net zero obligations, building resilient and sustainable rural communities provides a decent quality of life in the present as well as for future generations,” says Tasman Crowe, UCD Vice-President for Sustainability.


Two students will be selected by the three universities and will engage with the Department and other nominated departments in the formulation of specific research questions. The focus will be on advancing the objectives of ‘Our Rural Future’ and providing an evidence base to aid the development of public policy or support evaluation of specific policy challenges.

Those interested in applying for the bursaries should contact the universities individually:

•Masters in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Karen Keaveney, University College Dublin,

•Masters in Planning and Development, Dr Maura Farrell, University of Galway,

•Masters in Sustainable Development, Agri-Food and Co-operatives, Dr Mary O’Shaughnessy, University College Cork,

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