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Posted 19 October 2011

New PhD programme supports Ireland’s knowledge economy

The Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD has announced a new PhD programme aimed at preparing science graduates for employment in Ireland’s knowledge economy.

The Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme (CTRSP) was developed by Molecular Medicine Ireland and its academic partners University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), NUI Galway, and University College Cork (UCC). Industry partners involved in the programme include Amgen, Pfizer, Creganna-Tactx, Merrion Pharmaceuticals, and the Irish Medicines Board.

The four-year structured PhD will train scholars to translate patient and disease-focused research into clinically effective and commercial applications. These are skills required by knowledge industries in the health sector and in start-up companies.

Minister Sherlock with scholars from UCD, TCD, NUIG and UCC, at the launch of the new PhD programme
Minister Sherlock with scholars from UCD, TCD, NUIG and UCC, at the launch of the new PhD programme

During the first year of the programme, the scholars have the opportunity to attend each of the four participating institutions for taught modules. Twenty science graduates have enrolled on the programme following a competitive selection process.

Groups of five scholars will each be based at UCD, TCD, NUI Galway, and UCC and they will begin the programme with a four-week period of taught courses in UCD and TCD, followed by placements in academic research groups, clinical research centres and in industry.

The CTRSP programme was developed with the support of €4.3m funding under Cycle 5 of the Government’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI).

“I strongly believe this new programme is very important on a number of strategic levels,” said Minister Sherlock. “It will deliver more scientists in Ireland who are undertaking innovative patient and disease-focused research, and then crucially bringing their findings from the bench to the clinic for the ultimate benefit of our population’s health.”

“I am delighted to see further tangible evidence of how Ireland’s higher education sector, in developing this type of programme, is delivering for our enterprise needs.”

“For me, a major source of encouragement to be taken from the CTRSP is the strong focus on commercialisation – on the critical need to translate our research discoveries into commercial outputs, and in this regard I want to commend Molecular Medicine Ireland and all involved in this initiative,” he said.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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