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PhD Position in Youth Justice in the School of Law

PhD Position in Youth Justice in the School of Law


Call for Expressions of Interest: Development and trial of adapted EMMIE protocol of systematic review for youth crime programmes in Ireland 

This is an exciting opportunity for a well-motivated and capable graduate with an interest in the development of youth justice policy in Ireland. The successful candidate will work between a youth service organisation and the School of Law in the University of Limerick.  The graduate student will be at the forefront of developing and testing a systematic review protocol, which aims to provide evidence to inform policy programs and practice in the youth justice area within an Irish context. Completion of this program provides the opportunity to make influential connection with key actors in policy, programme and practice arenas, be permitted access to data and achieve policy impact. This research builds on the work of Dr Sean Redmond, Adjunct Professor of Youth Justice in the School of Law, University of Limerick and aligns with the strategic goals of the Irish Youth Justice Service.


There are many systematic review protocols in place. Some are very well established, e.g. Cochrane and the Campbell collaboration. The methodologies for these protocols have been robustly tested in multiple contexts and are the benchmark by which scientific and medical systematic reviews are judged. However these protocols have been criticised for their overreliance on experimental methods as the preferred source of evidence. These weaknesses appear particularly acute in the area of human service programmes where categories and definitions are less delineated and it is argued that local context is possibly as important as a determinant as programme content in terms of effectiveness. The current research project identifies the contribution of a realist approach to systematic reviews as an efficient means of developing the evidence base relating to youth crime policy in an Irish context. The proposed PhD project will undertake the development and testing of an adapted EMMIE protocol for systematic review (Effect size, Mechanism, Moderator, Implementation and Economic analysis) while at the same time contributing novel research to the body of knowledge.

Candidate Requirements


  • A minimum of a 2:1 degree in sociology, policy +politics, economics or related discipline and demonstrable research potential. 
  • Evidence of conducting systematic review to a high standard in the area of social sciences
  • Ability to work with and elicit the confidence of multiple stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Motivated to progress thinking in the area of youth justice policy


  • Master’s level degree in sociology, policy +politics, economics, or related discipline
  • Experience working in the youth or youth justice areas in a professional or voluntary capacity
  • Experience of research in the areas of youth justice, criminology, youth or children
  • Experience in the conduct of recognised model of systematic review (e.g. Cochrane, Campbell)  
  • Self- motivated and a problem solver



Candidates interested in this proposal should forward a CV, an example of their written work and a short 1 page supporting statement to by May 15th. The supporting statement should outline how their skills and experience make them a suitable candidate for this project. Interview of suitable candidates will be held in late May.

The successful student will be supported in an application for the IRC Enterprise Partnership Scheme Postgraduate Scholarship (€24,000 per annum , application deadline 8 June 2017).

This project is situated within the Research Evidence for Policy Program and Practice (REPPP) project in the Centre for Crime, Justice and Victims Studies (CJVS) School of Law, University of Limerick