Current scholarship opportunities

Open funding opportunities

Please see below for details of currently advertised PhD and Research Master's funding and scholarship opportunities offered at UCD or by funding agencies. 

Please note that this does not represent an exhaustive list and students are advised to contact the UCD School in which they are interested in studying to ask about current funding possibilities. You can also find helpful guidance on PhD applications in the 'Planning' phase of the UCD PhD Lifecycle

Project title: Targeting mucin-mediated mechanisms to protect the intestinal barrier

PhD supervisor: Dr Carol Aherne

Start date: September 2023

Location: Conway Institute, UCD

Stipend: €18,500 per annum and PhD fees paid by funder

Application deadline: 5pm Wednesday 28 June 2023

About the project

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), encompassing Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are chronic relapsing, remitting conditions of the gastrointestinal tract affecting approximately 21 per 100,000 individuals in Ireland, with rising incidence worldwide. Current therapies targeting the immune response revolutionised IBD treatment. However, up to 50% of patients fail to respond. Therefore, there is critical need for alternative treatment strategies in at least 50% of patients.

IBD is thought to occur due to intestinal barrier disruption leading to increased bacterial contact with the local immune system and uncontrolled inflammation in a genetically predisposed individual. As part of this barrier, the mucus gel layer (MGL) lining the intestinal epithelial surface plays a vital role in controlling tissue homeostasis, partly through exclusion of bacteria. The MGL is more porous, allowing bacteria to contact the underlying tissue in all IBD patients, but mechanisms that support MGL function are poorly understood. We recently defined an important role for the secreted mucin Muc5ac in limiting contact of bacteria with the intestinal surface and reducing intestinal damage in mouse models of IBD. In this project that is funded by an SFI Frontiers for the Future grant, we seek to investigate mechanisms by which we can boost Muc5ac expression or function to protect the intestine as a novel therapeutic strategy in IBD.

Role of the PhD student and knowledge gained

Formal module-based training is available in the first years of the PhD as outlined here. The PhD student will be trained by the lab group to perform in vitro cell culture assays and work with mouse IBD models to study the role of Muc5ac in intestinal barrier function. The student will be expected to participate in written and oral presentation of their project at lab meetings and conferences.

Candidate attributes

The PhD candidate should:

  • have or expect to attain the minimum of a 2:1 in an honours degree in Health Sciences/Physiology/Cell biology/Pharmacology/Genetics/Molecular Biology or a closely aligned field
  • be highly self-motivated and resilient
  • be comfortable working independently and as part of a team
  • have excellent communication skills.

How to apply

Applicants should send a cover letter highlighting their suitability for the role and a detailed CV that includes the contact details for two referees to Dr. Carol Aherne ( by the deadline (Wednesday 28 June).

Dr Aherne can be contacted for informal enquiries or further information.

Applications are invited for a 4-year doctoral scholarship in the School of Archaeology, UCD under the supervision of Dr Jess Beck. The PhD studentship is funded as part of Dr Beck’s Ad Astra Fellowship at the UCD School of Archaeology. The award includes a stipend of €18,000 per annum (potentially subject to revision, for a maximum of four years, renewable each year subject to satisfactory progress), the full cost of fees, and a bursary of €4,000 per annum to cover research and conference expenses. For further information, visit the School of Archaeology website.

Please note: The successful candidate must be able to commence the PhD programme no later than 1 September 2023.

The ideal candidate will pursue an osteoarchaeological research project that integrates skeletal analysis of human remains with archaeological understandings of past social organisation and mortuary practices. Candidates with any geographic or chronological research focus will be considered, though strong preference will be given to scholars focused on European late pre-history. The candidate will complete an osteoarchaeological research project of their own design. Possible research topics should take an osteoarchaeological approach to integrating understandings of identity (e.g. age, sex, kinship), lived experience (e.g. disease, diet, trauma, mobility) and mortuary treatment to understand the organisation of past societies.

UCD School of Archaeology is the largest archaeology department in Ireland, and the successful candidate will join and contribute to a vibrant interdisciplinary research community. The candidate is expected to take part in seminars, workshops and events organised within the School and across UCD that are relevant to their research interests. The post-holder will be expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the School and University, and participate in research activities to the level and extent of their qualifications. The post-holder will be expected to write and successfully defend a PhD thesis focused on the areas listed in the description of the post and meet the degree requirements set by UCD to advance through the PhD programme. The post-holder will work closely with their supervisor to produce outputs on their combined research areas. The candidate will ideally produce single-, first-, and co-authored research by the end of the post

Selection criteria


  • Masters in Archaeology (with a 2:1 or 1st class result or GPA above 3.3) or equivalent and proven level of knowledge (e.g. Commercial Archaeology work will also be valued)
  • Evidence of a strong interest in human osteology, bioarchaeology and/or mortuary archaeology
  • Some experience – such as coursework or independent research – with human osteoarchaeological analysis
  • Experience undertaking independent research
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with a team-orientated approach
  • Ability to build and maintain productive working relationships with colleagues
  • Proof of English language proficiency: for example, IELTS score of 8 if English is not your first language – this may not be necessary if you have already a degree in the English Language and/or worked in a English-speaking country for some time


  • Experience of accessing and analysing unpublished archaeological reports, if relevant to proposed project
  • Experience dealing with museum collections, if relevant to proposed project

How to apply

Please send the following by 2 June 2023 to Dr Jess Beck (

  • CV
  • Brief proposed project, outlining why the scholar is interested in this PhD opportunity and how the scholar will use osteoarchaeological methods to deepen our understanding of past societies (max. 1500 words)
  • proof of English-language proficiency if English is not your first language (e.g. minimum of 8 IELTS)
  • writing sample (e.g. an essay or section of MA/MSc dissertation, professional report, max. 5,000 words)
  • the names and contact details (including emails) of two academic referees. If a candidate is shortlisted, referees will be requested to submit references by the date of interview. Shortlisted candidates will also be asked to provide academic transcripts.

A shortlist of candidates will be invited for an interview by Zoom in the week beginning 12 June 2023. The selected candidate will be required to submit a formal application to UCD School of Archaeology subsequent to the interview. Once again, please note: the PhD must be able to commence no later than 1 September 2023.

For further information, contact

The iCircular3 (Intelligent circular lifecycles of industrial robots, outdoor power products, and electric vehicle)project involves a consortium of seven partners, four industry partners (KUKA Robotics, Ireland; IOTA Stiftung, Germany; Future Mobility Campus, Ireland and Husqvarna, Sweden) and three academic partners (University College Dublin, Ireland; Imperial College London, UK; Jönköping University, Sweden), who together, will host 9 PhDs. iCircular3 will recruit and train 9 Researchers to conduct sector-specific projects related to circular lifecycle perspectives; combined, the projects will contribute to the development of new guidelines and digital tools for the integration of circularity in industry, as well as the identification of cross-sector commonalities. The strong academic/industry interaction in iCircular3 will ensure the relevance of each research project. Researchers will receive high-level industry-led research training and professional development courses, with a view to opening their career perspectives. Funding for these projects has been provided by the EU under their competitive HORIZON-MSCA-2021-DN-01 (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks) programme under Grant Agreement No. 101073508.

The consortium is now inviting applications for up to 9 highly motivated and talented PhD candidates (Researchers) for these fully-funded positions, as summarised below. Recruitment will remain open until all positions are filled in and as soon as possible. The target start dates for the positions will be in May-June 2023 or sooner. Researchers will be employed on a full-time basis and based at one of six particular host institutions. They will also spend up to 6 months on secondment at either beneficiaries or associated partners, thereby ensuring that all Researchers will spend time in both academia and industry, and in at least two different countries.

Please read the details of each project description and further instructions on 'How to Apply' for these PhD positions at this link.