MSc/PhD Scholarships

UCD Health Systems is pleased to invite applicants to apply for 4 MSc/PhD Scholarships on the Health Research Board (HRB) funded ‘Collective Leadership and Safety Cultures’ (Co-Lead) programme to allow full-time research towards a Structured PhD. The Scholarships are provided by the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems at University College Dublin.

The Health Systems team is an expanding, dynamic, inter-disciplinary group of researchers working across a broad range of health and social sciences disciplines. Our research approach is underpinned by rich contextual analysis, interdisciplinary approaches and co-design with healthcare professionals, patients and the public. Co-Lead is a 5-year programme that will research the impact of an emerging model of leadership (collective leadership) on team performance and on healthcare safety. We are designing and implementing collective leadership interventions for different team types and testing the impact of these interventions on staff performance and patient safety. The overall aim is to support quality and safety cultures through the development of a new model of leadership that is associated with effective team performance.

MSc/PhD Scholarships

Four Masters by Research / PhD Scholarships are available in the following areas:


1.       Implementation Science

Objective: to study the implementation and scale-up of the co-designed collective leadership intervention from an implementation science perspective. The student will work closely with the partner healthcare teams in the Ireland East Hospital Group.


2.       Patient Safety Measurement

Objective: to adapt, develop and validate instruments to measure the key elements of patient safety at the individual, team and organisational level. The student will work closely with the Quality Improvement Division in the Health Service Executive.


3.       Statistical Modelling

Objective: to develop a statistical model that explores the relationship between collective leadership and work engagement, job satisfaction and turnover intentions.  The successful candidate will employ advanced statistical techniques, including structural equation modelling, to understand the relationship between collective leadership in teams and the measured outcomes of the programme.


4.       Public and Patient Involvement  (PPI)

Objective: to explore different approaches to involving patients and the public in co-designing interventions to improve teamwork and quality in healthcare. The research team is working with patients and the public in the planning, design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination.  The scale and complexity of the programme provides opportunities to experiment and develop new approaches and models for PPI.

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-centered 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. 


The Scholarships include fees and an annual stipend of €16,000. 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. PhD by publication is an option within this programme. The start date for the Scholarships is September 2017.

Entry Requirements

Scholarship 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. Scholarships awarded based on predicted grades will be conditional upon final results.

How to Apply

Scholarship applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing which MSc/PhD Scholarship(s) topic they are interested in, and their qualifications and experience to Prof Eilish McAuliffe  and Dr Aoife De Brún

Project Details

You can learn more about the Co-Lead project here.  

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