Research Opportunity: Investigating Female Participation in Sport

Ireland’s National Strategy for Women and Girls 2012- 2020, which sets an ambitious target to advance the journey to equality for women and girls, includes a commitment to increasing the visibility of female sporting role models and promoting participation in sport and physical activity by 20% over the next two years.

Capitalising on this, Athlone Institute of Technology’s Department of Sport and Health Sciences are offering an exciting postgraduate research opportunity to investigate if participation in sport and physical activity could be increased through a bespoke programme led by female sporting role models in a ladies football and camogie club setting.

Gaelic games are among the most popular team sports for young people in Ireland, but participation rates decline with age, and sport does not always make a significant contribution to daily physical activity levels of participants, particularly where women are concerned.

The visibility of high-performance athletes in female Gaelic games is increasing and with it, potential for a greater ‘trickle down’ effect to participation especially given the community-based context of role models in Gaelic sports.

According to Dr Aoife Lane, Head of Department of Sport and Health: “This project aims specifically to deliver a programme to young girls through the forum of female sporting role models. The premise of role models is that young girls have to see it to be it; this project adheres very much to that principle.”

International studies of role models offer mixed evidence around the link between role models and subsequent participation in sport or physical activity but have confirmed that the most impactful role models are those that are local, relevant and successful.

Project Title: A Role Model Programme to Improve the Health-Enhancing Physical Activity Contribution of Gaelic Sports in Young People

Duration of Project: 21 months

Funding Agency: AIT President Seed Funding

Type of Degree Offered: Master of Science of Research

Minimum Qualifications/Experience Necessary/Any Other Requirements: Honours degree in a relevant Sports Sciences/Physical Activity/Physical Education/Athletic and Rehabilitation Therapy/Health and Exercise field of study.

Research Supervisors: Dr Aoife Lane and Dr Kieran Dowd

For further information, please contact:

Dr Kieran Dowd: Email: Phone: (090) 6483042

Dr Aoife Lane: Email: Phone: (090) 6471849

Applications: Download Application Form

Or available from Susan Carroll, Office of Research, Tel: (090) 6483061, Email:

Closing date for receipt of completed applications (including personal statement) is 5 pm on Friday, November 9th.

By Post: Susan Carroll, Office of Research, Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Athlone Co.Westmeath

By Email:

Interviews will take place on the week beginning November 19th. Applicants that are called for interview must provide a 5-minute PowerPoint presentation on the title “The Influence of Role Models on Sports Participation”.

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