Mara is currently conducting her PhD research into how social entrepreneurs act as trouble shooters in structurally weak, rural regions. For this research, she looks into the entrepreneurial process social entrepreneurs go through and the contextual factors in structurally weak rural regions that influence this process.
Mara conducts this research through Ballyhoura Development CLG, a local development company in the Ballyhoura region in Ireland, and University College Cork. The research project is part of the European RurAction consortium (see ruractio.eu for more information about the consortium).
Mara holds a bachelor in Business Studies (2008) and a master in Strategic Management (2011), both from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. After fulfilling a graduation program at ORMIT, she moved back to conducting research. In 2015 she took on a position as consultant and researcher at TNO, the leading institute for applied scientific knowledge in the Netherlands. Within their department of Sustainable Productivity and Employability, Mara worked for the team that advised both governmental organisations and (social) entrepreneurs on themes like an inclusive labour market and sustainable cooperation within the region. In this role, she conducted a variety of consultancy projects as well as (applied) research projects.
In October 2017, her drive to explore social entrepreneurship and regional development into more depth inspired her to take on her current PhD position within the RurAction consortium and make the move to Ireland.