TU Dublin Tourism and Hospitality Researchers win IRC New Foundations Award

Published: 17 Jan, 2022

Minister Simon Harris TD has today (17.01.22) announced Irish Research Council funding for 77 New Foundations projects that will bring researchers and community organisations together to collaborate on projects that will have a tangible impact on societal issues.

Among the new research projects that received funding is A Sustainable Agenda for Gender Equality in Tourism and Hospitality:  Promoting Entrepreneurial Pathways for Women in Central Vietnam (SAGETH).

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management team, which comprises Dr Denise O’LearyDr Fernanda Rabelo and Dr Geraldine Gorham, working closely with Dr Lien Tran Thi Ngoc of Huế University, will undertake an action research project to promote entrepreneurial pathways for women living in Central Vietnam.

It is widely acknowledged that despite high levels of female participation in the tourism sector worldwide, women’s roles, status and opportunities are significantly impacted by structural and cultural challenges. The project focuses on aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs in Hue Province in Central Vietnam, a popular tourist destination but a region where women are underrepresented in employment and entrepreneurship. Vietnam’s Labour Force Survey in 2019 indicates that female labour force participation is lower than that of males, and women hold only 24% of leadership roles and account for the majority of unpaid family workers in Vietnam. In Hue province, there are 9,879 enterprises, of which female entrepreneurs manage only 16%, and the number of women starting their own business is very small compared to other big cities like Hanoi and Danang.

The project will address the twin tasks of bringing about change and generating actionable knowledge by exploring the challenges faced by women interested in starting or developing tourism businesses in the Hue region of Vietnam using the knowledge gathered to develop, pilot and evaluate a mentorship and career development programme, in collaboration with participants, for aspiring or existing female entrepreneurs. The programme will involve one-to-one mentoring sessions supported by online and face-to-face workshops on relevant topics and networking opportunities. Online workshops will be facilitated by experts from Vietnam and Ireland and include successful female entrepreneurs and career coaches from both countries. Workshop topics will be identified by stakeholders in action research cycles and will focus on the issues faced by female entrepreneurs in the region. The project will generate theory grounded in action.

Commenting today, Minister Simon Harris TD said: “I welcome the announcement of the 77 New Foundations research awards today – another record number of projects being supported by the Irish Research Council under this programme. The 55 research partnerships with community and voluntary groups will have an invaluable impact – bringing new insights and evidence and allowing these organisations to have an even bigger impact on those they are trying to reach, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society. The community and voluntary sector plays a critical role in Irish life and will continue to do so. As these projects get underway, they support the enhancement of the services this sector provides, while also providing excellent partnership opportunities for our researchers.”

Also commenting on the funding announcement, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, said: “In addition to the 55 projects announced today that will collaborate with civic society partners, we are also delighted to renew our ongoing partnerships with government departments and agencies. This form of collaboration provides excellent opportunities for researchers to contribute to evidence-based policymaking, resulting in  better outcomes for society and citizens in the face of many national and global challenges.

“In addition to the awards first announced in late 2021 funded by An Taoiseach’s Shared Island Unit, we are delighted to be announcing today the New Foundations awards made under strands funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Policing Authority, respectively.”

Further information about the New Foundations scheme is available here.