HRB funded PhD Scholarship

UCD Health Systems is pleased to invite applicants to apply for a PhD Scholarship in the Health Research Board (HRB) funded Trial Methodology Research Network (TMRN) to allow full time research towards a Structured PhD.  This particular Scholarship is provided by the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems at University College Dublin.

These are exciting and challenging times for clinical trials. The number and variety of treatments continues to grow, increasing pressures on researchers to determine how these compare to current treatments, while rising costs and regulation can make trials expensive and complex. However, as pressure on resources grows, there is more demand for reliable and robust evidence on the benefits, harms and costs of health care, so that people can make informed choices. This backdrop means that we need high quality research to ensure that the right trials are done, in the right ways and reported fairly and clearly.

The HRB-TMRN is a partnership between NUI Galway, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Leeds. The overall mission of the HRB-TMRN is to strengthen trial methodology and reporting on the island of Ireland, through a programme of work, which will also impact elsewhere in the UK and internationally. This will be achieved through a focus on three high-level activities relating to the methodology of trials (i) support (ii) training and education and (iii) research and innovation.

Programme structure

The structured PhD degree is a doctoral training programme with the core component of advancement of knowledge through original research and integrated support for professional development.  The programme is student centred and the qualification is designed to enhance, improve and directly engage the student in relevant research skills. In addition, it will offer the student disciplinary, generic and transferable skills, tailored to suit the experience of the student and reflect the disciplinary requirements. 


Scholarships include an annual stipend of €12,000, up to €4,000 annually towards project costs, and fees (at EU rates). Scholarships are available for up to 4 years (full-time) and students will enrol in the College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems (University College Dublin) Structured PhD programme.

The HRB-TMRN acknowledges the value to the student of carrying out part of their research in another University or Institution or in the field and encourages collaboration with the Medical Research Council (MRC, UK) Hubs for Trials Methodology Research. Placement opportunities will be sought within one or more of these Hubs. This will help the students to gather diverse data for their research, and broader experience for their future careers. This will also allow students to benefit from interactions with a broader group of students working on trial methodology research. A separate travel bursary is available to support this activity.

Entry requirements

  • Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a first class or a good upper second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to the proposed field of research.
  • Where an applicant does not meet this requirement (e.g. they hold a lower second class undergraduate degree), they are eligible to apply if they hold, or expect to receive, a Masters degree (in an area relevant to the proposed PhD) before starting their studentship.
  • Studentships awarded based on predicted grades will be conditional upon final results.

How to apply

Scholarship applicants should apply to the MSc by Research in the normal way through the online process, but please send an email to indicating to the School administrator the scholarship for which you would like to be considered.

Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ​Applicants may be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.