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22 June 2024  

Press Release: Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Rural Development


First Government of Ireland - National University of Ireland
Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Rural Development

The National University of Ireland (NUI) is delighted to partner with the Government of Ireland in awarding the first post-doctoral fellowship in rural development to Dr Lucas Olmedo (a graduate of UCC). The Government of Ireland-NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowship, totalling almost €120,000, is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and administered by the National University of Ireland.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to encourage and support post-doctoral research in rural development and to advance the objectives of the National Rural Development Policy, Our Rural Future.

Dr Olmedo’s research project, Mapping Social Enterprises and their Impact on Sustainable Rural Development in Ireland, has the aim of advancing research in the field of rural social enterprise by providing the first nationwide study on the relationship between these organisations and different types of rural areas and their impact on sustainable rural development. The research will also generate an evidence base for the development of policy in sustainable development of rural social enterprises.

Dr Olmedo will be based in Cork University Business School, UCC, under the mentorship of Dr Mary O'Shaughnessy, Head of the Department of Food Business and Development.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys said:

‘I am delighted to announce, in partnership with the National University of Ireland,
the award of the first ever Government of Ireland-NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowship in
Rural Development to Dr Lucas Olmedo.

This is a unique opportunity to support the development of research in the field of social
enterprises in rural areas, which are working to create jobs and improve the lives of our rural
populations. Dr Olmedo’s research will build on the National Social Enterprise Policy and Our Rural
Future, the National Rural Development Policy by adding to the evidence base available to rural
development policy makers.’

Heather Humphreys
Minister for Rural and Community Development

NUI Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning said:

‘The National University of Ireland is proud to partner with the Department of Community and
Rural Development in continuing the University’s legacy in rural development.

Rigorous academic analysis of the ever-evolving social and economic conditions in Ireland, particularly
since the global pandemic, is necessary for reliable and robust policy and the research funded by this
Fellowship will expand our knowledge-base and contribute to the generation of vital national policies in
the area of sustainable rural development.’

Dr Maurice Manning
NUI Chancellor

Minister Humphreys concluded:

‘The Government is committed to the sustainable development of rural Ireland, and sees social
enterprises as playing a critical role in that regard. This Fellowship will not only enhance our
understanding of this evolving sector, it will further deepen engagement with the Higher Education
sector and will support the delivery of our commitments under ‘Our Rural Future’.

I wish Dr Olmedo every success with his research and look forward to engaging with
him throughout the Fellowship.’

Heather Humphreys
Minister for Rural and Community Development


Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 represents the Irish Government’s blueprint for a post-COVID-19 recovery and development of rural Ireland until 2025. It provides the framework to achieve the vision of transforming the quality of life and opportunity for people living in rural areas.

The vision of Our Rural Future is for a thriving rural Ireland which is integral to our national economic, social, cultural, and environmental wellbeing and development. That vision is an Ireland which is built on the interdependence of urban and rural areas, which recognises the centrality of people, the importance of vibrant and lived-in rural places, and the potential to create quality jobs and sustain our shared environment.

Further information on the National Rural Development Policy, Our Rural Future can be found on the government’s website:


Dr Lucas Olmedo

Dr Lucas Olmedo

Dr Lucas Olmedo

Dr Lucas Olmedo works as a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Food Business and Development, University College Cork, Ireland

Lucas conducted his PhD on ‘Exploring Irish Rural Social Enterprises as Neo-endogenous Development Actors’ with a H2020-MarieCurie research fellowship (EU funded project RurAction). Lucas’s expertise and research interests include local, rural and regional development, social enterprises, community social entrepreneurship, social economy, social innovation, and migration.

Lucas has participated in a number of national and international projects, including ‘RurAction - Social Entrepreneurship in Structurally Weak Rural Regions’, funded by the European Commission (H2020); ‘The role of Policy in unlocking the potential of Irish Rural Social Enterprises’ and the first ‘Baseline data collection exercise regarding the Social Enterprise Sector in Ireland’ commissioned by the Department of Rural and Community Development of the Government of Ireland; and ‘Mapping Support Structures for Social Innovation in Ireland’, funded by the ESF+ and EaSI.

Lucas's work is published in international peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Rural Studies, Local Economy, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, Rural Sociology or Administration. Lucas’s research outputs also include working papers for the United Nations Knowledge Hub, and technical and policy reports for funding bodies such as the Andalusia Regional Government, the Irish Government and the European Commission.


Further information from:

Dr Patrick O'Leary
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square
Dublin 2, D02 V583
Ph: 01 4392424
Twitter: @NUIMerrionSq
Facebook: National University of Ireland









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