Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

StAR PhD Programme

Applications have closed for 2016 

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The RCSI StAR PhD Programme is a 4-year structured PhD training programme that aims to encourage scientists to develop innovative research projects in the field of the Health Sciences. The aim of this programme is to attract high-achieving students to an attractive and efficient structured PhD programme at RCSI.

The PhD Programme is designed for those students with a profile and a background in Biomedical or Health Research coming from primary degree courses focusing on:

Cell and Molecular Biology

Clinical and Translational Sciences

Medical Sciences




Nursing and Midwifery 

Medicinal Chemistry

Genetics and Neurosciences

Population Health

Health Services Research  

Education in Health Sciences

All projects will be interdisciplinary, and will combine for example, basic and clinical sciences, or materials science with biomedical sciences.

RCSI will fund five 4-year PhD Scholarships per annum. Scholarships valued up to €146,400 are available to cover student fees (€6,600 p.a.), student stipend (€18,000 p.a.), laboratory costs (max €10,000 p.a.), computer/software (€2,000 total), conferences (€2,500 total) and international placement (€3,500 total).

Programme Structure

The PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree by dissertation is the highest postgraduate award at level 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications and represents a substantial body of research work performed over 4 calendar years. The structured StAR PhD Programme includes both rotation projects and taught modules/workshops in the first year, followed by 3 years of research.

The StAR PhD programme is divided into Laboratory Based Applied Medical Sciences (LBAMS) track and a Population Health / Health Services Research (PH/HSR) track. Students must apply to either of these tracks using the application form.

During their first year, students who opt for the PH/HSR track will undertake the 6 taught modules of the current SPHERE postgraduate programme at RCSI, followed by National Placement (10 weeks) in Ireland. Students on the LBAMS track will undertake 10 week rotations with 3 different research groups in RCSI and attend 5 core modules/workshops.  After this rotation period, the students will select the research project of their choice as the focus of the remaining 3 years of their PhD studentship.

RCSI is committed to supporting an effective supervisory system for students to ensure that the successful applicants optimise their research and career potential through the programme. Clear oversight and supervision of all PhD projects will be provided by both a Principal and Subsidiary Supervisor (co-Supervisor), and all projects are reviewed annually.


In order to be admitted to PhD Programme, candidates must have been awarded a 2.1 grade, or above, in a relevant accredited undergraduate degree (Bachelor degree or recognised equivalent degree from an accredited Higher Education Institution). If such a degree was not obtained through the medium of English language, applicants must show certified evidence of proficiency in the English language at an IETLS level of 6.5 or above.



Applications Open 11 March 2016
Applications Close 10 May 2016 (17:00 GMT)
Shortlisting 10 June 2016
Interviews (Skype may be used) July 2016
Position begins October 2016

Please read the StAR PhD Programme Additional Information booklet before starting your application. You'll need to read through the project descriptions to select and rank your favourite projects.  

Applications must include:

(i) a completed application form,

(ii) 2 page CV

(iii) a cover letter,

(iv) official transcript(s) of previous university-level degrees,

(v) contact details for 2 referees (in the application form - only shortlisted candidates' referees will be contacted).

All documents must be:

in PDF format

in English

accessible, clear and legible

easily identifiable

o Please label all files in the following format: StAR_PhD_2016_JoeBloggs_CV.pdf. Replace "_CV" with "_letter", "_form" or "_transcript" as appropriate. 



Search for "StAR PhD". 


Important links:


Shortlisting of applicants will be undertaken by the panel of assessors. All shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. Additional interviews with supervisors of the candidates’ favourite projects will also be set up to help match students with preferred supervisors and projects.

For enquiries please contact Dr Anthony Chubb at