Applying to the SPHeRE Programme 2017-18

The SPHeRE Programme is now accepting applications for 2017/18


The SPHeRE PhD Programme in Population Health and Health services Research (PHHSR) aspires to cultivate world-class researchers through a four-year structured PhD Programme. The SPHeRE Programme can also be undertaken over a longer time period on a part-time, self-funded basis. The Programme is a joint initiative of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork, with funded Scholars having the option to also register at University College Dublin, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, the University of Limerick or Dublin City University.

We welcome applicants with an interest in carrying out research on population health and/or health services in the Irish context and from a wide range of academic and clinical disciplines, including public health, health psychology, health economics, health policy, general practice, biostatistics, health geography and social science among others.

The full-time 4 year structured PhD Programme features:

  • 6 taught modules completed in the first year of the Programme
  • Opportunities for multidisciplinary research
  • Supervision by internationally renowned Principal Investigators

In addition, SPHeRE HRB funded scholars benefit from:

  • 8 week specialist rotation in Irish health related agencies in the first year
  • Placement with a prestigious overseas agency to further PhD project development in the second or third years
  • Professional skills training allowance
  • Travel funds to national training days and international conferences
  • Annual stipend of €18,000 plus laptop computer plus PhD fees

This programme provides excellent training for scholars in core health services and population health research skills. Applicants who have already secured independent funding for a PhD or applicants who wish to pursue the programme on a part-time basis are also welcome to apply.
The operation of the SPHeRE Programme is subject to funding by the HRB.

How to apply?


Applicants are asked to complete an online application form, submit a one page cover letter and a two page Curriculum Vitae (including degree grades and contact details for two referees). In your cover letter, please discuss your education, training, and experience (research and/or practice) in population health and health services research (PHHSR) and provide evidence of leadership (in an academic and/or non-academic capacity). Additionally, you may consider indicating how your prior experience or possible PhD topic are policy relevant and potentially address SPHeRE’s Ten Research Priorities.

When completing your application, be aware that only 6 full-time PhD positions are funded. HRB funding is not available for part-time PhDs on the SPHeRE Programme. If you are interested in applying for a part-time, self-funded position please read this guide before completing your application. Self-funded scholars are liable for fees at their host institution.
Successful non-EU applicants for funded positions will be liable for fees above that for European applicants. Fees vary, but further information on fees can be found on the websites of the individual institutions.

Your cover letter and CV should be formatted into two PDF or Word documents which will be uploaded with your application details. The deadline for applications is midday on Friday 24th March 2017. Incomplete applications or late applications will not be considered.

For more information on the application process, please email