Soillse is seeking a researcher in socio-linguistics

November 30, 2014

Two-Year Post as a Researcher in Sociolinguistics

Soillse is a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research collaboration between Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Lews Castle College, constituent colleges of the University of the Highlands and Islands; Aberdeen University; Edinburgh University and Glasgow University. Soillse was established in 2009 to provide research opportunities and post-graduate training in various academic disciplines relevant to the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture. By enhancing the research capacity in relation to the sociology, sociolinguistics, and language policy and planning aspects of Gaelic as a living language and culture, the participating universities seek to develop the Soillse collaboration as a world-class minority language research initiative, and to participate in scholarly and public debate concerning minority language issues in general, with a view to informing public policy in Scotland and beyond.

Soillse, in collaboration with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, invites applications for two-year research position from suitably qualified researchers with proven capacities for academic achievement in scholarly disciplines relevant to the Soillse research mission. Applicants will be required to submit a CV and a letter of application in which they indicate how their experience to date relates to the research aims of Soillse and how their research skills will enhance the research mission of Soillse. Applicants will be asked during the interview process to demonstrate sufficient ability in Gàidhlig in order to operate functionally as a Soillse researcher. More detail on the interview process and language requirements is available from the Director of Soillse.

Applicants should indicate how their skills meet the following criteria:

  • Relevance of their application to the Soillse research themes
  • Relevance of their minority language research experience to the aims of Soillse
  • A capacity to initiate, plan and conduct sociolinguistic research projects
  • A capacity to engage in field work to achieve research deadlines
  • An ability to report and present research findings.

The research position is available at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, an academic partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands. It is expected that successful candidate will reside during the period of their employment in reasonable proximity to their place of work.

Employment Responsibilities

The primary focus of the research position is to participate in the Soillse project as a research assistant to the Director of Soillse. The successful candidate will be expected also to develop a personal sociolinguistic research profile, relevant to the revitalisation of minority languages, as well as participating in key Soillse research projects.

In addition, the researcher will be expected to be committed to the collective responsibilities of the Soillse network which aim to:

  • Engage in individual and collaborative research through establishing a portfolio of work and disseminating results through regular publications in high impact journals, books, and conference proceedings
  • Support the preparations of applications to appropriate external bodies for research funding and be capable of the joint-management with the Soillse Director of such grant awards to a high standard of excellence.

The Fellowship Position

Job title: Soillse Researcher in Sociolinguistics

Duration: The Soillse research position will be awarded for a period of 2 years

Line Management: Soillse Research Director

Purpose of the Fellowship: The primary activities expected of the Researcher include the following:

  • Conducting research on an ongoing basis in a subject area, or areas, of relevance to Soillse and participating in team work to produce research publications of an international standard
  • Participating in research projects led by the Director of Soillse
  • Assisting the Director of Soillse in the preparation of academic research outputs for publication in books, journals, official reports and on-line/electronic realms
  • Participating in meetings and other gatherings as required by the Soillse Research Director
  • Supporting the work of Soillse in diverse ways, including contributing to: the collection and maintenance of various forms of databases; the publication and dissemination of Soillse research in a variety of formats; and, the preparation of conferences, workshops, lectures and other forms of knowledge exchange
  • Attendance at, and participation in, conferences, workshops, lectures and other knowledge exchange activities
  • Contributing to the preparation of funding bids in collaboration with the Soillse Director
  • Contributing to the Soillse website, assisting the Soillse management in the dissemination of information about the project and outputs of the project more generally, both nationally and internationally.

Key Competencies


  • Ability to understand, read, write and to converse in Gaelic. Applicants will be required to demonstrate their level of language competency during the interview process
  • At least two-year’s experience of conducting research in sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, linguistic anthropology, or another field of enquiry relevant to the Soillse research aims and objectives
  • Ability to undertake field work activities in support of minority language research, experience of participating in two or more field work projects relevant to the Soillse research agenda
  • Evidence of the ability to conduct innovative and high-quality research in an area, or areas, of relevance to the Soillse project and to publish such research
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to present research
  • Ability to work both independently but also under the guidance of academic colleagues and as part of a team of researchers
  • Ability and willingness to conduct public engagement activities to communicate to different audiences the implications of results arising from contemporary Gaelic research
  • Ability and willingness to initiate projects and to work closely with management structures
  • Excellent research planning and administrative skills
  • Functional competence in English relevant to the academic register.


  • Knowledge of the situation of the Gaelic language in Scotland and of policy relevant to its maintenance and revitalisation
  • A good understanding of matters relevant to minority language maintenance and revitalisation, more generally
  • Proven ability to present research outputs in Gaelic, both orally and in writing, including the ability to make presentations at, and participate in, conferences, workshops and seminars
  • An ability to publish through the medium of Gaelic
  • PhD completed or a PhD nearing completion, in relevant aspect of the language sciences.

Employing Institution

The individual offered the research position will be hosted by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, as one of the institutions participating in Soillse. The appointed Researcher would be subject to the prevailing employment conditions of the host institution.

The successful candidate will be expected to engage in Soillse activities in Inverness also, where the lead institution of the Soillse network, the University of the Highlands and Islands, is headquartered.

The appointment will be made on a salary scale commensurate with knowledge and experience, within the range of £29,574 – £32,250, according to the SMO pay scale.


This post is funded for a 2-year period.

Application Procedure

Applicants are required to complete an application form and to submit it along with the following:

  • A detailed CV, including the candidate’s publications record, and the names of two referees
  • A letter of application setting out:
    a) why this position is being applied for and explaining how the research position will enhance your academic research career-pathway
    b) how the applicant’s experience to date relates to the research aims of Soillse and how their research skills will enhance the research mission of Soillse.

For further specific information regarding the post, prospective candidates may contact Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, the Director of Soillse, if they wish to have an informal discussion regarding the position prior to the formal interview: Tel: 01471 888558; E-mail:

Deadline for applications: 5 January 2015

Expected date for the interviews: End of January 2015