Welcome to the SPHeRE Programme

The SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Programme (formerly the HRB Scholars Programme) is an innovative and ambitious research programme in population health and health services research (PHHSR) funded by the Health Research Board (HRB).

The programme encompasses the expansion of a well-established and successful structured PhD Programme in Health Services Research in tandem with key objectives such as the establishment of a national network in PHHSR; expansion to include all higher education institutions (HEIs) in Ireland beyond the three founding institutions (the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Cork (UCC) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD)); and the development of a programme of online modular education accessible to all.

The SPHeRE programme will provide education and training for five cohorts of PhD scholars annually (2013-2017). In each cohort, six scholars will be full-time and fully HRB-funded and an anticipated further six scholars will be funded from an alternate source (e.g., a medical charity) or self-funded.

Moving beyond research training, the SPHeRE programme will lead on the creation of a network of highly trained researchers who can competently research the current Irish health system, making recommendations and informing policy and implementation initiatives with the aim of improving population health and health service delivery for the people of Ireland.To this end the SPHeRE programme will develop a national network that brings together the producers and consumers of such research.

The SPHeRE programme will also develop as a national training facility which (i) encompasses all universities in the Republic of Ireland; (ii) provides a meeting place for future cohorts of researchers; (iii) is accessible to those outside the PhD training system; (iv) focuses on research that is relevant to population health and health services challenges in Ireland; and (v) aims to facilitate the translation and implementation of the research produced by its students.