SPHeRE PhD Programme

Structured Population and Health Services Research Education (SPHeRE)

(Previously known as the HRB PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research)


The SPHeRE PhD Programme in Population Health, Policy and Health Services Research (PHPHSR) aspires to cultivate world-class researchers through a four year full-time structured PhD Programme. The SPHeRE Programme can also be undertaken over a longer time period on a part-time 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 register at any of the universities in the Republic of Ireland. We welcome applicants from all parts of Ireland and from a wide range of academic and clinical disciplines, including public health, health psychology, health economics, health policy, biostatistics, health geography and social science, with an interest in carrying out research on health services and population health in Ireland.

The full-time 4 year structured PhD Programme features:

  • Six taught modules completed in the first year of the programme
  • 8 week specialist rotation in Irish health related agencies in the first year
  • Choice of PhD project from an extensive range during the first year
  • Opportunities for multidisciplinary research
  • Supervision by internationally renowned Principal Investigators
  • 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. Self-funded applicants, applicants who have secured funding from a source other than the HRB (Health Research Board) and applicants who wish to pursue the programme on a part-time basis are also welcome to apply. The SPHeRE Programme is subject to funding by the HRB.

Application Procedure

The 2022/2023 call for projects from Principal Investigators (PI’s) and Scholar applications are now closed.

Please check back here for information on the 2023/2024 applications in the coming months.

Please see the SPHeRE website for full details of recruitment.

How to apply?

The application process for the 2022 programme is now closed.

School of Public Health

Scoil na Sláinte Poiblí

4th Floor, Western Gateway Building, Western Road,