*** Closed for applications***

Research Tender


Care to College: A Study on Care-Experienced Students in Higher Education

Closing date: CoB 16th November 2023, 5pm

Work period: : November 2023 – October 2024

Renumeration: Renumeration: The fixed sum available to the researcher is €48,000. This is a day rate of €600 for a total of 80 days. Other expenses related to the project will be administered by EPIC.


EPIC, a children’s rights organisation are working in partnership with the TU Dublin Access and Outreach Service to carry out a research project on the experiences of young people who have experience in state care, who have pursued higher education in Ireland. We are seeking applications from qualified researchers to conduct this comprehensive study.

The research aims to establish a comprehensive understanding of the key factors that led to some care-experienced students’ accessing and completing higher education as well examining the experiences of those who either could not access or did not complete their higher education course.

In doing so, it should seek to will inform policymakers, higher education institutions, and support organisations and compliment the efforts of the National Access Plan 2022-2028, and to provide a nuanced and broad understanding in enhancing access, retention, and success rates for care-experienced students in Ireland.

Overall, the study aims to give voice to their experiences and to promote their rights and active participation.


  • Establish a comprehensive understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities faced by young people who have experience in state care, who have pursued higher education in Ireland.
  • Deliver desk research on international best practices, in terms of state interventions, that have been successful in supporting care-experienced students’ access and retention in higher education settings.
  • Participate in consultations (focus groups or individual meetings on and offline) with young people who have experience in state care and have pursued higher education – EPIC will help facilitate this.
  • Identify and engage with stakeholders, professionals to gain broader understanding of the research.
  • Produce a research and policy analysis, based on the consultations and international best practice, on how access, retention, and success rates for care-experienced students in Ireland can be enhanced.
  • Deliver guidance and a roadmap for future research and participation work of young people who have care experience and have sought higher education.


Quarter 1: Desk Research to be carried out including completion of a literature review. Submission made to Tusla Independent Research Ethics Committee (REC).

Quarter 2: Contact made with participants of study as well as information session conducted with them, once approval from Tusla REC has been received. Field research and interviews with participants will commence and will be conducted during this period.

Quarter 3: Analysis conducted, and final report completion stages will be conducted.

Quarter 4: Launch and dissemination of report findings. We will directly engage with academia, civil society in the children’s rights, youth organisations and Higher Education sector, the HEA and DFHERIS.

Skills and Expertise

  • Proven ability to carry out independent research work in a related area.
  • Proven ability to assimilate research findings into clear workable recommendations.
  • Ability to present research findings to an audience, online or in person.
  • Experience of research work in the children’s rights sector or in access to education would be an advantage.
  • Experience of participative research with young people would be an advantage.
  • Experience of working with vulnerable young people would be an advantage.
  • Applications from multidisciplinary teams are welcome.

Application Process

  1. Cover letter, to include outline of how to approach the work: maximum 2 pages
  2. Include a link to, or copy of, a sample of past work that is similar in content and/or style to the above outputs.
  3. CV

Apply: research@epiconline.ie

Closing date: 16th November 2023, 5pm

EPIC, Empowering People in Care believes in the value of diversity and encourages applications from people from all ethnic, cultural, religious, and social backgrounds: in particular, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic and LGBTIQ+ people. We also welcome candidates with experience of the care system. 

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