New PhD opportunity will examine Gaelic development in Hebrides

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is offering a new, fully-funded PhD opportunity exploring Gaelic development in Hebrides.

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UHI North, West and Hebrides - Stornoway campus

The CEARTAS scholarship, funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), will examine the factors which contribute to the social and cultural value of Gaelic in the Hebrides. It is hoped the findings will help to inform minority language policy, particularly in Gaelic contexts.

The scholarship will also provide an opportunity to explore community development, community decision-making and how public policy can deliver local, socioeconomic benefits.

Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Gaelic Research Professor at UHI, said:

“The UHI Language Sciences Institute is delighted to be able to offer this exciting doctoral research opportunity to explore ways in which community development efforts and Gaelic policy initiatives can be of mutual benefit to each other. We are particularly grateful to our research funder, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, for the support and encouragement to develop this much-needed research agenda.”

Jacqueline McGuigan, senior development manager at HIE, said: 

“We’re pleased to support this research project as part of efforts, along with our partner organisations, to support the growth of Gaelic usage in Gaelic-speaking island and rural communities. A key element of our Gaelic plan is to build on how the language is being used to add economic and social value in a variety of circumstances. For Gaelic to thrive it needs thriving communities and we want to strengthen collaborative working in key communities, aiming to make those more attractive and resilient in terms of youth/population retention and growth and employment. This research will play an important part in future policy support.”

The PhD is fully funded by HIE and a stipend is offered for 42 months. The successful applicant will be supervised by UHI’s Language Sciences Institute. The PhD scholarship will be based at any of the UHI campuses throughout the Outer Hebrides, but flexible, hybrid working arrangements can be considered depending on the applicant’s own location. As the focus of the work will be the communities of the Western Isles in which Gaelic remains a strong and important presence, an ability to communicate effectively in Gaelic is desirable.

Initial enquiries or expressions of interest can be made to the project’s lead supervisor, Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin ( Closing date for applications is Friday 6 October, with a proposed starting date for the PhD of Monday 13 November.

For more information and details of how to apply, visit and search for the key word ‘CEARTAS’.

To find out more about Gaelic courses at UHI, visit