Mara van Twuijver is an early-stage researcher in the EU Horizon-2020 funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) ‘RurAction’.
As part of the ITN, she is hosted by Ballyhoura Development CLG, a community-led local development company in the Ballyhoura Region in Mid-West Ireland. She is a PhD-student in Cork University Business School, University College Cork (Ireland). Her PhD-project is titled ‘Rural social enterprise: an exploration of hybridity and engagement with place’. The aim of this project is to deepen our understanding of the way in which rural social enterprises function within the rural context in which they are situated.
Before embarking on her PhD journey, Mara has worked for TNO, the Dutch Institute for Applied Scientific Knowledge. Within their department of Sustainable Productivity and Employability she has conducted both consultancy and (applied) research projects. Here, she has gained experience in advising clients, including local, regional and national government departments and (social) entrepreneurs, on themes like an inclusive labour market and sustainable cooperation within the region. The multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral projects she has cooperated in have ignited her interest in connecting academia and practice. An interest that since then has been at the forefront of her work. Themes in which she likes to establish and strengthen this connection include local development, social innovation, social entrepreneurship, social enterprise and sustainability.