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January Update from Graduate Studies

Dear Research Students,

It’s hard to believe that January is almost done as we look forward to our new bank holiday this weekend. A few updates that may interest you:

  • AHSS Meet, Greet and Learn morning in the Long Room Hub, February 8th, 09.30-13.00, for all AHSS research students. Meet over coffee, participate in panel discussions with fellow students and colleagues from across the university on themes including Thriving in your PhD; Developing an effective researcher profile; How to navigate the PhD post-submission process. College services will also be on hand, so you can put faces to names, ask questions and share experiences with peers. All information can be found at the link above – and register early so we can ensure we have catering in place!
  • 3 Minute Thesis. Did you participate last year? Or see the National Final? If not, check out the recording to see the Trinity representative, Lianne Shanley scoop the inaugural prize. This year, the internal Trinity competition kicks off with qualification heats scheduled for March 12th-19th, and the final is all set for March 21st. This competition presents a great opportunity for you to practise presenting your research concisely and clearly. There will be lots of workshops to help you prepare and hone your pitching skills – and applications are still open, but not for long. So, take the plunge and put in your application at this link (until January 31st): 
  • Research supervision agreement: We are currently evaluating the new Research Supervision Agreement. Many thanks to those of you who have participated in focus group discussions. If you have not had a chance to participate and would like to give feedback, please contact us at – we want to hear as many voices as possible!
  • PG Renewal Programme: We have been working over the past 18 months to enhance the experience for all our postgraduate students and have been in touch with you about this work over that time. Many of the innovations relate to postgraduate research students. We marked the completion of Horizon 1 of this programme on January 17th and have summarised some of the key achievements here. The new research supervision agreement is one element, but other achievements have been the new Trinity Research Doctorate Awards, with a significant stipend increase, the introduction of terms of reference for thesis committees and associated guidelines, enhanced annual progress review process and forms and agreements with Schools on direct payment for teaching and learning supports provided by research students. More still to do? Absolutely! We are now into Horizon 2 of this programme. If you have suggestions, want to get involved or simply want more information, please contact us at We regularly run sessions to get feedback on new initiatives. If you are willing to be involved in these evaluations, you will be paid for your time, but you need to register with us at the same email: .
  • PGR representation at the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). I am delighted to welcome two new representatives for postgraduate students to the GSC. This committee meets monthly and discusses issues related to policy and strategy for our postgraduate activities (both taught and research). With all the changes in the Graduate Students’ Union, it has been many months since we had students at our GSC meetings, so this is a very positive development. Almudena Moreno Borrallo and Rory O’Sullivan are your representatives and I’m sure they will be delighted to get your input on all matters that affect you as research students in Trinity.

Wishing you all a good week and a very enjoyable bank holiday weekend,

Kind regards,

Prof Martine Smith,
Dean of Graduate Studies




December Update from Graduate Studies

Dear postgraduate research community, 

It’s hard to believe that 2023 is nearly done. I’m sure you have astonished yourselves with all you have achieved over the past year, and I hope that you are planning some time to reflect, relax, and recuperate before we launch into 2024. 

A few updates on the Graduate Studies side of things: 

  • EPA and DAFM announce stipend uplift. 

We are delighted that the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have announced an increase in PhD stipend levels to €25,000 in line with the recommendations from the National Review of State Supports for PhD Researchers. Since we launched our own Trinity Research Doctorate Awards, there has been steady progress across multiple agencies towards delivering a stipend level that supports PhD students to focus on their research and reducing the financial pressures many research students face. This is still a work in progress, but we will continue to focus on raising the financial boat for all students.  

  • AHSS students SAVE the DATE!    Thursday, February 8 from 09:30 – 13:00 

A meet and greet opportunity for AHSS research students to meet fellow research students across the Faculty, and find out about the services that support your Trinity student journey.  The event, in the Trinity Long Room Hub, will be a mix of panel discussions mapped to the student journey, opportunities to meet the faces behind the names of College services and to share coffee and nibbles with your peers. 
To make sure we cater to your needs please click here if you’ve any suggestions for what should be included. Whether you’re a few months into your studies or heading towards thesis submission, we’d love to meet you.

  • Problem with stipend payment 

It’s come to our attention that a small number of students experienced an unexpected drop in their stipend payment this autumn. It appears that students who had been granted a Covid-extension funded through the HEA switched to this payment mechanism for the final months of their PhD. We have now identified the issue and the Office of the Dean of Research has kindly agreed to cover the cost of the differential between the HEA payment and the uplifted stipend level. We are working to ensure we have identified all affected students and hope to have the situation resolved in January.  

If you experience an unexpected change in stipend payments, please let us know. We may not always be able to resolve it for you, but with some information we can explore what might be possible.  

  • Upcoming milestones 

If you registered in March, don’t forget that early in the New Year, you should be planning your annual progress review with your supervisor and thesis committee. You can find the annual progress review form on our website

If you submitted your thesis last September, you should know by now when and where your viva will take place. You’ll find useful tips and hints here, as well as the Viva Voce Handbook. Remember, the default is that a viva voce examination takes place in person. If it is proposed that the viva will be conducted online or with some members online, that can only happen with your agreement – so talk to your supervisor and have your input into the decision.  

  • PG Renewal Programme 

The PG Renewal Programme has an extensive workplan for 2024. If you are willing to share your experiences and engage in consultation workshops, please contact us here. You will be paid for your time and help ensure that the changes we make are of real value to students. 

  • Health, wellbeing and support services 

December and January can be times of particular challenge for many people. Remember that there are many support services that you can access, whether you have a pressing health concern or simply need a friendly ear to listen to you.  

Take time over the break to recharge. Your research progress will see the benefit when you return, ready to tackle the next big challenge! 

If that next big challenge is dipping your toes into the waters of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, then see the email attached at the end of this message from Tangent, offering a FREE Certificate course to registered PhD students. 

Le beannachtaí, with warm good wishes, agus gach dea-ghuí do 2024 

Martine Smith, PhD 
Déan an Léinn Iarchéime        Dean of Graduate Studies 


Dear Trinity College PhD Research Student,  
At Tangent, Trinity College, we have a great opportunity for you.  Our Level 9, PG Cert in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (30 ECTs) is specially designed for researchers, from PhD students to established academics, and is FREE specifically for Trinity PhD research students.  For everyone else, it’s 2,400 (EU applicants) or and 4,800 euro (non-EU applicants). 
The timetable was tailored with the intention of aligning it with your research work.  Please see the timetable here:  PIER Timetable 23/24.  Beginning on the 20th of January, each module starts and ends with an in-person session, while all other sessions are online Tuesdays and Thursdays 6-8pm so you can engage in class with minimal disruption to your work and studies.   If you’re thinking of commercialising your research, want to develop your communication and leadership skills, or are you simply looking for time and support to consider your career and research goals, this is the course for you.  With funding streams both increasingly competitive and prioritising innovation and interdisciplinarity, this programme could see you increase your understanding and ability to pursue opportunities relevant to you, while also growing your network by learning with a group of colleagues from multiple disciplines.   
Please see the following link PIER Alumni Research Fellows to hear from alumni research fellows about their experience on the course and how it benefited them.  
To submit your application, please click the following link:  APPLY 
All applications from current Trinity PhD students are subject to a supporting letter from their doctoral supervisor, and to approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies.  For further details please see the webpage: Post Gradate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation Pathways for Researchers and if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch via    
Many thanks,  


November Update from Graduate Studies

Dear Postgraduate Research Community,

I hope that Storm Debi did not disrupt your work or your life on Monday and that its impact was as transient as its duration. Here are some highlights from the November update for Graduate Studies:

  • Thanks to everyone who participated in the National Academic Integrity Awareness Week! It was a great opportunity to find out the key issues of importance to the postgraduate research community, and the amazing work many of you are doing. 
  • Final chance to register for the IUA National Thesis-in-3 competition on November 15th in the Royal Irish Academy. Lianne Shanley from Biochemistry and Immunology is the Trinity representative. If you haven’t already registered, there are still a few places available to attend in person or you can register to join online (see the attachment for details). There’s an audience vote, so we want to make sure that there are Trinity representatives present! This is also a great chance to get tips and encouragement to enter the Trinity 2023-24 competition which will launch in the New Year. 
  • Undertaking a PhD often brings with it significant periods of pressure. Maintaining a work-life balance is important for everyone (Tip 13 in the PhD Survival Guide). As a university, we want to support our postgraduate research community in achieving this balance. Last year, the Graduate Studies Committee and the University Council approved a proposal that research students should plan to take periods of research leave of 30 days each year, underpinned by the following principles: 
    • The university has a duty of care in relation to the health and well-being of all students. 
    • Explicit attention to a work-life balance is an essential element of maintaining health and well-being; ensuring periods of time away from a research environment is a key pillar in achieving this balance. 
    • The timing of a student’s absence requires agreement from their supervisor to ensure effective planning and implementation of research projects and of research supervision. 
    • Students should plan to take periods of leave from the research environment normally not exceeding 30 days per year (exclusive of public holidays and days when a student is absent through illness).  
    • Planned periods of absence must be agreed with the supervisor in advance and with sufficient notice to ensure that key research activities can continue. 
    • The total number of days’ absence at any one time must comply with funder requirements (where applicable) as set out in the original funding agreement. 
  • At this time of the year, minor illnesses are prevalent everywhere. For everyone’s sake, if you are unwell, take the time you need to recover. If you have completed the Supervisor - Research Student Agreement.docx you will already have agreed what to do if you become ill. If you are not using the agreement yet, you should contact your supervisor for guidance. If you are unfortunate enough to have a more serious health issue, remember that there are many supports available, including the option of taking time away from your studies to recover (what we call going ‘off books’). 
  • Updated template forms for the Annual Progress Review have been approved and are now available on our website. If you registered in March, you’ll need to complete these forms after Christmas. If you registered in September, you can hit the snooze button on this particular item for a few more months. Remember, you must complete the annual progress review each year, or you won’t be able to progress to the next year of your studies.  
  • The Careers, Employability and Work-based modules for PhD students offered through Trinity Careers will launch again in January, 2024. These modules are open to all full-time and part-time PhD students across all disciplines and can be taken for credit or simply audited. You can find comprehensive information about the modules here
  • Finally, if you are planning for a conference submission and need to travel outside of Ireland, don’t forget to apply for support. You’ll find full details on the supports that are available and how to apply at this link.  

With best wishes for your studies and research, 

Kind regards
Martine Smith, PhD 
Dean of Graduate Studies