New PhD Programme to Prepare Graduates for Jobs in Ireland’s Knowledge Economy

Posted on: 14 October 2011

A new PhD programme aimed at preparing science graduates for jobs in Ireland’s knowledge economy was launched recently by Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock.  Developed by Molecular Medicine Ireland and its academic partners, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD, the Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme (CTRSP) will train scholars to translate patient and disease-focused research into clinically effective and commercial applications.

The four year structured PhD programme combines collaborative teaching, research and clinical expertise of academic medical centres, industry, and the Irish Medicines Board in a structured PhD programme that provides graduates with research training of the highest quality and an in-depth understanding of the clinical, commercial and regulatory environment essential for effective careers in healthcare research.  Twenty science graduates have enrolled on the programme following a competitive selection process.  Four of these scholars, representing each of the academic partners, spoke at the launch and gave their views on why they were attracted to the CTRSP and their future career plans.

Scholars from Trinity College Dublin, UCD, NUIG and UCC with Minister Sherlock at the launch of the new PhD programme.

One of the unique features of this collaborative programme is that during the first year, the scholars have the opportunity to attend each of the four participating institutions for taught modules. The first 20 scholars,  five each from Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD, begin the programme this month with a four week period of taught courses in UCD and Trinity College Dublin. This will be followed by short placements in academic research groups, clinical research centres and in industry and specialist taught modules.

Speaking about the new PhD programme, Chair of MMI Tom Lynch said: “The CTRSP will address the deficit in the number of scientists in Ireland undertaking innovative patient and disease-focused research with a key understanding of how to translate research results to the clinic.” 

Minister Sean Sherlock continued: “I strongly believe this new programme is very important on a number of strategic levels. It will deliver more scientists in Ireland who are undertaking innovative patient and disease-focused research, and then crucially bringing their findings from the bench to the clinic for the ultimate benefit of our population’s health.”

The CTRSP was awarded funding of €4.3m earlier this year under Cycle 5 of the Government’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI). The CTRSP has also benefitted from the extensive involvement of industry partners such as Amgen, Pfizer, Creganna-Tactx, Merrion Pharmaceuticals as well as the Irish Medicines Board.