Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Funded Child Development PhD

UCD School of Psychology Ad Astra Fellow - PhD Studentship 2024

The UCD Ad Astra Fellowship scheme aims to promote the quality, quantity and impact of UCD research, scholarship and innovation. As part of this scheme UCD School of Psychology has one PhD studentship on offer in 2024 for an excellent student. Please read below for more details on the studentship topic and for application details.

Project: The development ofexecutive functions in early childhood

Primary Supervisor: (opens in a new window)Dr Michelle Downes

Summary: The student on this project will have a primaryinterest in the fields of developmental neuropsychology / developmental cognitive neuroscience / educational neuroscience and will be based at the (opens in a new window)UCD Babylab and the (opens in a new window)UCD Neuropsychology Lab. The project will explore ways to support the development of executive functions and learning skills in young children, including task development and public engagement. Additional themes in this project include sleep, creativity, and family function. There will be flexibility in the design of the specific studies and in the development of the additional themes.

Informal enquiries: (opens in a new window)michelle.downes@ucd.ie

Essential Criteria

  • BA/BSc honours level degree in psychology from an accredited course (minimum

2.1 award) or level 9 conversion.

  • MA/MSc in Psychology or related area
  • Experience in data analysis (e.g. excel, SPSS, R)
  • Experience with child/patient research participants
  • Excellent English writing skills
  • Strong interpersonal qualities
  • Clear interest in developmental neuropsychology / developmental cognitive neuroscience / educational neuroscience

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience with behavioural/neuropsychological assessment
  • Demonstration of knowledge of relevant topics/themes (incl. executive function, brain development, learning, sleep, family function, and creativity)
  • Research assistant experience
  • Previous or forthcoming research dissemination ( e.g., research publications, conference presentations)

How to apply- Necessary documents and important dates

The awarding of the funding is dependent on the successful applicant being accepted for a PhD by UCD School of Psychology.

Please send a Curriculum Vitae, academic transcripts and a complete application form (opens in a new window)here by 5pm October 26th 2023 to (opens in a new window)michelle.downes@ucd.ie with subject ‘Ad Astra PhD Application 2024’

Interviews to be held November 2023 with a planned January 2024/September 2024 start.

UCD Ad Astra Fellows PhD Studentship

Terms and Conditions 2020-2021

  1. The overall aim of the Ad Astra Fellows PhD Studentship is to attract applicants of the highest academic standards to participate in the UCD School of Psychology PhD programme which will provide them with the training, experience and mentorship necessary to their professional development.
  2. There is one Ad Astra Scholarships on offer. The Scholarship will comprise a fee remission at up to the scheduled non-EU rate of the programme to which they are registered for three years plus a tax- free annual stipend of €18,000 payable in 12 equal monthly instalments. In addition, the project comes with a yearly research budget of up to €4,000 and a dedicated laptop.
  3. EU and non-EU students are equally eligible for studentships under this award.
  4. All students are liable for the Student Centre Levy. Fee varies, for indicative purposes 2019-2020 levy was €254.
  5. Scholarships are open to any new PhD students to the PhD in Psychology
  6. The scholarship will be awarded for three years, with annual reviews of progress. Continuation of the scholarship is contingent on satisfactory progress, to be determined by the Research Studies Panel (RSP) and the Graduate Programme assessment process. The scholarship will terminate on any student’s withdrawal from their programme.
  7. Students accepted under this scheme must meet the UCD School of Psychology Graduate research Programme university standard entry requirements.
  8. The award is made on the basis of full-time engagement by the PhD student. Students should not take on other duties or work that will negatively impact their ability to commit to their research programme, other than demonstratorships or teaching assistantships activities and other activities which form part of their professional development as directed by their research supervisor.
  9. It is not permissible to hold this studentship alongside an external award for the same student. However, if a student applies for and secures an equivalent individual award, this studentship can be replaced by a top-up stipend and a top-up (if necessary) to the appropriate level of consumables costs.
  10. By the end of the first year of the award, the PhD student must have completed research integrity training. The PhD student should also complete appropriate transferrable skills modules and record these in their RPDP (e.g. research skills and academic writing).
  11. All PhD Scholarship students are welcomed as part of the UCD School of Psychology research community and, as such, are expected to participate fully in the scholarly life of the School, inclusive of research seminars, conferences and other scholarly events.
  12. Applications will be accepted from suitably qualified applicants regardless of nationality or residence. Applicants, however, must make their own visa/consular arrangements to ensure that they are eligible to reside in Ireland for the duration of their studies. Applicants are STRONGLY advised to make any visa application as early as possible as this process may be time consuming and failure to obtain a visa in time for the commencement of the academic year will likely necessitate cancellation of the scholarship award.
  13. The School Graduate Studies Committee will construct an appropriate selection board and make its recommendations on selection to the Head of School.
  14. Applications will be evaluated and ranked by a Selection Board according to the following criteria

o Transcripts and other evidence of academic skills (publications,research assistance, etc);

o Quality (clarity, feasibility, academic relevance, innovation) of the research proposal;

o Personal motivation;

o Fit with the research strengths of the school and prospective supervisor.

  1. Scholarships will be awarded only to those who will be full-time students and who will engage full-time in research during the period of the scholarship.
  2. It is the responsibility of the Scholarship holder to inform the University of any change to the circumstances on which the award of the Scholarship was based. The Scholar must also take responsibility for updating their personal records including any change of address, telephone, or e-mail on the UCD Student Web system within two weeks of such a change.
  3. Once scholarship awards are issued, students must indicate acceptance in writing within two weeks of the notification being distributed by the committee. It is the student’s responsibility to formally accept the scholarship offer – a non-response will be considered as declining the offer. Offers will be conditional on verification of original transcripts.
  4. Successful applicants must be present at UCD by the start of the semester in which they start (planned for January/Sep 2024).
  5. Should a scholar be unable for any reason (including medical reasons) to pursue his/her studies in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the Scholarship, he/she must inform the School (via his/her supervisor and the PhD Director) within two weeks of such a situation coming to his/her attention. However, given the basis on which scholarships are awarded, UCD reserves the right to withdraw, suspend, reallocate or seek reimbursement of all or part of the scholarship.
  6. Continuation is conditional on annual progress reports to be reviewed by the Selection Board Research Studies Panel and on passing the Transfer Assessment as part of the structured PhD Graduate Research programme.
  7. These Scholarships are held subject to these Terms and Conditions. If any of the above are breached by a Scholarship holder, UCD School of Psychology reserves the right to suspend or terminate the Scholarship and/or will require the Scholar to reimburse UCD School of Psychology for such payments as have already been made.
  8. Successful applicants may be required to sign a form of consent under the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to data records concerning their registration status and academic record as well as the handling of student and other data.
  9. Scholarship holders must be available to assist in the promotion of graduate studies at UCD recruitment events and within associated activities at School, College and University levels.
  10. All publicity, including public lectures, publications, print materials and press releases, television and radio advertisements, websites, film, video and audio recordings associated with or arising from the research undertaken by a Scholar while in receipt of a Scholarship must contain acknowledgment of funding received from the UCD Ad Astra fellows PhD Studentship.
  11. Funding is available for three years only in this instance. A formal fee-waiver extension application to student registration can only be made after four years for a PhD student and so a student may be liable for fees if they choose to remain for a 4th year (periods of leave of absence are taken into account).

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

UCD believes in equality, diversity and inclusion and embeds these fairness principles into all aspects of University life. UCD’s vision for EDI is to be a leader and role model in equality and diversity in the higher education sector nationally and internationally, and for EDI to 

be at the heart of all we do. Learn more about how we do this in our policy on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.

UCD School of Psychology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.