Postgraduate Research Opportunities

PhD opportunities available in the School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy have a number of PhD positions available for the next academic year.  Prospective candidates who are interested in pursuing a PhD are strongly advised to contact an academic supervisor in School of Pharmacy to discuss these opportunities. A list of current available positions are listed below:

1. PhD in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy Optimisation

Title  PhD position within the OPTIMATE (OPTImization of Medication by transdisciplinary Assessment of drug Treatment in Elderly hospitalized patients) project, School of Pharmacy, UCC     

Professor Stephen Byrne, Dr Kieran Dalton 

Project description

A 3-year PhD focused in the area of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy Optimisation.

The research will coincide with undertaking a role as a pharmacist primary researcher in the OPTIMATE trial (details below) and collaborating with researchers as part of a multidisciplinary international team. The successful candidate will be involved in delivering the trial intervention, assessing the appropriateness of multimorbid older patients’ pharmacotherapy, and measuring its impact on patient outcomes.

OPTIMATE Project Summary

Background: Recurrent hospitalisation and unplanned emergency department (ED) attendance resulting from potentially inappropriate medication is an increasingly common phenomenon in older people with multimorbidity and associated polypharmacy. With a growing older population with multimorbidity/polypharmacy, there is a pressing need to address the increasing challenge of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) and associated problems that accentuate adverse drug reactions/events and avoidable excess morbidity. There is also an imperative to curb excess healthcare expenditure related to preventable medication-related problems.

Objective: To test the clinical and economic impact of a multi-faceted medication optimisation definitive intervention on avoidable rehospitalisation and unscheduled ED attendance in multimorbid patients aged ≥70 years hospitalised with acute illness.

Design: A randomised controlled clinical trial is proposed in which it is anticipated to randomise 3 x 460 patients to one of 3 groups: (a) standard pharmaceutical care, or (b) trained physician-implemented intervention, or (c) clinical pharmacist-implemented intervention.

Setting: Acute care environment in 3 large tertiary referral teaching hospitals with similar custom and practice relating to management of older people with acute illness.

Participants: Patients aged ≥70 years with multimorbid illness (i.e. ≥3 chronic medical conditions) and associated polypharmacy (i.e. ≥5 daily prescription medications) admitted with acute unselected illness.

Intervention: The definitive multi-faceted intervention will consist of the following components: (i) structured history of medication (SHiM), (ii) STOPP/START screening for PIMs and PPOs using efficient dedicated software, (iii) drug-drug and drug-disease interactions screening, (iv) face-to-face consultation with attending hospital physicians to discuss PIMs, PPOs, interactions and other issues, (v) pre-discharge medication review and adjustment, (vi) detailed medication adjustment discharge report to patients’ GPs, (vii) post-discharge follow-up contact with patients’ GPs and community pharmacists at 1 week and 1 and 4 months post-discharge.

Outcome measures: Primary endpoints will include: readmission within 30 days, readmission within 180 days, unscheduled ED attendance within 180 days and a composite of the previous 3 endpoints. Secondary endpoints will include: drug-related readmission within 180 days, quality of life (EQ5D-5L) at 180 days, and all-cause mortality within 180 days. Time frame: 30 months from project start to final report submission.

Funding type

This full-time 3-year PhD scholarship includes:

  • An annual stipend of €18,000 per annum
  • PhD fees (EU) to the successful candidate for 3 years
  • A proposed start date to commencing a PhD programme by approximately September/October 2022
Application deadline

12th August 2022

Specific eligibility/funding requirements

Applicants must:

  • have at least a Second Class Honours (Grade 1) or equivalent degree in Pharmacy
  • be registered with, or eligible for, registration with The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.
To Apply

Interested candidates should by apply via email and provide a CV with a covering letter to and   

Informal enquiries should be sent to: Dr. Kieran Dalton, School of Pharmacy: (Tel: +353 21 4901676) or Prof. Stephen Byrne, Chair of Clinical Pharmacy Practice, University College Cork, Ireland,  (Tel: +353 21 4902250)

Interviews may be held if required. If successful, a PhD application will have to be made via   

2. PhD in Pharmaceutics

Title: Formulation and processing of biologicals using 3D printing techniques


Dr Katie Ryan, Dr Evin Allen

Project description 

This project offers an exciting opportunity to a talented candidate to work with researchers in the School of Pharmacy, UCC investigating the processing and formulation of biologicals via 3D-printing e.g., inkjet printing. Biological-based therapeutics have a transformative impact on patients’ lives, and they are of increasing interest for their potential to address unmet clinical needs. However, biologicals are complex medicines. Due to the unique and inherent stability challenges, their formulation, manufacture, and handling must be well understood and meticulously controlled, on a case-by-case basis. The project aims to investigate the impact of novel processing techniques including 3D printing on the stability and functionality of biological modalities and to expand the repertoire of techniques available to process biological formulations in a safe and effective manner. The project will equip candidate with competencies in biological characterisation, formulation science, biologic processing, essential to a future career in biopharmaceutical research in an industrial or academic setting.

The School of Pharmacy is part of the College of Medicine and Health (UCC). The purpose-built School of Pharmacy was officially opened in 2006 and boasts state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities for students and staff alike. As a PhD student in the School of Pharmacy, this project offers the successful candidate learning and networking opportunities to attain the highest standards of research excellence to support their career development. The School of Pharmacy has a successful track-record in academic-industry collaborations in the field of biological processing and characterisation.

Funding type

The full-time 4- year studentship includes: ·

  • An annual stipend of €18,500 ·
  • PhD fees (EU) to the successful candidate who meets residency requirements in Ireland or the EU for up to 4-years.
  • Funding to attend both national and international conferences
Application deadline
  • 20th August 2022
  • Expected registration by 1st October 2022
Specific eligibility/funding requirements
  • The candidate must be available to start their research in UCC on or before October 1st 2022.
  • Candidates applying for this studentship must have at least a 2H1 undergraduate degree and/or a MSc degree in Pharmacy (preferable) or a cognate discipline (Biochemistry, Bioengineering).
  • Research experience in the fields of protein characterisation, formulation design, material science and drug delivery.
  • Undergraduate experience in laboratory practice and in conducting laboratory experiments.
  • Highly motivated individual with a keen interest in pharmaceutics research
  • Have excellent, analytical, organisational, communication (oral and written) skills and an ability to innovate
  • An ability to work independently to a tight schedule
  • An ability to work effectively as part of a team to achieve results.
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills.
  • The candidate will be a registered student in UCC, initially for an MSc, and can progress, pending successful review by a thesis committee.
  • If English is not your first language you will need to satisfy the English language requirement PG English Language Entry Requirements | UCC | University College Cork | Ireland
  • Applicants must all meet UCC eligibility requirements for registration as a PhD
To Apply

Interested candidates should apply by email to Dr Katie Ryan, School of Pharmacy, College Road, University College Cork, Ireland. Applications must include "BioPharmaceutical PhD Studentship" in the subject line.

Applications (as a single PDF) must include:

  1. A short cover letter (max 1-page) detailing the candidate’s interest in research and reasons for applying for this position
  2. Full CV (including the name and contact details of 2 referees)
  3. 1-page abstract outlining relevant research experience to date.
  4. If the successful applicant’s first language is not English, they will have to provide evidence of English language proficiency (IELTS or equivalent scores where required) to complete their initial application.
  5. The successful candidate will then have to submit a formal application through the University Postgraduate Applications system Apply to Study at UCC where qualifications will need to be validated.

3. Open PhD studentship positions (Self-funding candidates or candidates eligible for external funding/sponsorships)

Staff in the School of Pharmacy have a number of PhD positions available.  Applications are considered all year around.  Prospective candidates who are interested in pursuing a PhD are encouraged to contact an academic supervisor in School of Pharmacy to discuss these opportunities.

These projects are ideally suited to candidates that are self-funding or candidates eligible for external funding/sponsorship.  However, in some cases funding may become available with the support of the academic staff member e.g. IRCSET applications.

Title PhD in the impact of Microbiome effects on drug pharmacokinetics
Supervisor Dr Brendan Griffin
Funding type

None currently available.

Self-funding candidates or candidates eligible for external funding/sponsorships considered

Application deadline
  • Applications accepted all year round
Specific eligibility/funding requirements
  • Applicants must have a first class or upper second-class honours degree in pharmacy, chemistry, chemical engineering or related pharmaceutical sciences/engineering disciplines.
  • Prior expertise in modelling is not essential but the successful candidates should have good mathematical proficiency.
  • Applicants must all meet UCC eligibility requirements for registration as a PhD.
  • Prospective Ph.D. students should have prior practical laboratory experience.
Email enquiry Dr Brendan Griffin - 
Title  PhDs in (i) Processing and Formulation of Biological Medicines, (ii) Microneedle Devices      

Prof Abina Crean, Dr Sonja Vucen, Dr Katie Ryan 

Funding type

Funded and self-funded PhD positions available

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Specific eligibility/funding requirements
  • Applicants must have a first class or upper second-class honours degree in pharmacy, biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering or related pharmaceutical sciences/engineering disciplines.
  • Applicants must all meet UCC eligibility requirements for registration as a PhD.
  • Prospective Ph.D. students should have prior practical laboratory experience.
Email enquiry

Prof Abina Crean - 
Dr Sonja Vucen - 
Dr Katie Ryan - 

School of Pharmacy


Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06 University College Cork