Health Research Board has taken further action to increase number and
quality of PhD researchers in Ireland by launching a second call to
invite institutions to run an HRB scholars programme. Applications
are invited from institutions to run these four-year PhD programmes
in the areas of clinical and biomedical science, health services research
or epidemiology and public health. Up to €5 million is available
for each successful application, which will cover an intake of four
to eight scholars each year, for four years.
Recent government reports clearly identify the need for a substantial
increase in the number of researchers in Ireland by 2013 in order to
support a system of innovation in Ireland. The new Strategy for Science
Technology and Innovation 2006–2013 also emphasises the need
to improve the quality of training for early stage researchers and
a more structured and multidisciplinary approach to fourth level education.
"The HRB were the first Irish research agency to respond
to concerns about the quality of PhD training in Ireland by launching
a pilot PhD
scholars training scheme in 2004", said Ruth Barrington, Chief
Executive at the Health Research Board.
"These pilot sites
are now considered
a strong model for the development of PhD training, so we are delighted
that we can extend the scheme and contribute to the national goal of
increasing the number and quality of PhD researchers here".'
The purpose of the HRB scholars' programme is to improve the quality
of PhD training in health research by making the study process broader
in focus and to ensure collaboration between students in different
groups. Transferable skills, including project management and communications,
as well as knowledge and understanding of the broader research environment,
are an integral part of the training. So far, two HRB scholars' programmes
are established and 19 scholars are on their way to successfully completing
their PhD training.
Additional funding has also been announced today as part of the HRB
Investment Programme for Health and Wealth, which has been supported
by the Department of Health and Children with funding of €50 million
for the period 2005–2009. This programme was designed to support
the development of careers, programmes, buildings and equipment for
health research with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes.
This programme will provide additional funding to support three different
- Clinician Scientists: Five-year funding is available for medically
or professionally qualified researchers to be released from their
service commitments to dedicate time to patient-centred research
million per award).
- Translational research awards: Teams of researchers will be supported
for research programmes that apply ideas and discoveries to the treatment
or prevention of human disease (€1.5 million per award).
- Health services R&D awards: This scheme will support research projects
related to day-to-day practices of health and social services that
will have demonstrable impacts on health and healthcare. (€1.25
million per award)
The deadline for applications or expressions of interest under
all of these funding schemes is in October 2006. Guidance notes and
about the awards can be found in the funding section of the HRB
website at www.hrb.ie