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PhD Research Scholarships

Wed, 05 Jun 2019

The Faculty of Education and Health Sciences is sponsoring PhD research scholarships to be associated with the Health Research Institute (HRI) and the National Institute for Studies in Education (NISE). Four scholarships will be available for 2019/20 registration. The scholarships are for new PT or FT entrants and will cover EU fees and an annual pro rata stipend of €16000. The successful candidate and their supervisory team will be expected to participate in scholarly activities related to the relevant Institute.
We welcome applications for the projects below which are based on our interdisciplinary research themes.
HRI Research Themes:
- Lifestyle and Health
- Health Services Delivery
- Technology Enhanced Health
- Public Patient Involvement* (*Crosscutting theme)

1) Title: PASA: Physical Activity and Sleep in Adolescents with long-term musculoskeletal conditions
Brief Description: The PASA project will explore sleep and physical activity in adolescents with long-term musculoskeletal conditions. Working with adolescents and their guardians the factors that influence sleep in adolescents will be identified. This will inform the development of a physical activity programme, which aims to improve physical activity and sleep in adolescents who live with long-term musculoskeletal conditions. The project findings will improve the management of long-term musculoskeletal conditions, guide future research and make a unique contribution to a sparse area of research.
Primary supervisor: Dr Louise Larkin (

2) Title: Can Dance Prevent Falls?
Falls are a major threat to the health and well-being of older people with the incidence of falls increasing with age. The negative consequences of falls include injury, anxiety and depression and reduced socialisation. Dance is a popular activity and research has demonstrated its benefits on health and wellbeing in older adults. However, there is a paucity of evidence exploring the effect of dance on falls. The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of a tailored dance intervention to reduce falls in community dwelling older people at risk of falls.
Primary supervisor: Dr Amanda Clifford (

3) Title: Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance: Amateur Rugby
This studentship will involve the expansion of the existing Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) project for schools and women’s domestic rugby in Ireland. The focus will be on the collection, tracking and tend analysis of injury patterns. Impact of warm-up and structured strength and conditioning sessions on injury incidence in the amateur domestic game will also be an objective of this research programme. The overall aim is to enhance the health and welfare of Rugby players across the domestic game in Ireland.
Primary supervisor: Dr Tom Comyns (

4) Title: Resistance Exercise Training for Anxiety & Depression Among Adolescent and Young Adult Females
A series of studies will expand our ongoing work to investigate the effects of ecologically-valid resistance exercise training on anxiety and depressive symptoms, and the influence of neuromuscular adaptations, strength changes, autonomic function, and cognitive control, among adolescent and young adult females with and without subclinical anxiety and depression)
Primary supervisor: Dr Matthew Herring (

5). Title: Severe osteoarthritis of the shoulder: Joint replacement or exercise therapy? A feasibility study.
Severe arthritis or tendon damage of the shoulder is a highly disabling and painful condition in older people, limiting their ability to cope with daily activities. Treatment options involve medications, physiotherapy and for many, surgery to replace their shoulder joint. Research in osteoarthritis of the knee shows that exercise programmes can prevent or delay the need for surgery, however, exercise has not been adequately tested as a treatment for shoulder arthritis. The aim of this study is to conduct a feasibility trial to assess the potential for people to participate in a randomised clinical trial comparing physiotherapist-supervised exercise to joint replacement surgery for severe shoulder arthritis. Suitable candidates would have a physiotherapy or medical background, with excellent communication skills, and be interested in clinical trials and patient public involvement in research.
Primary supervisor: Dr Karen McCreesh (

6) Title: Design and evaluation of an intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour and improve health in older adults.
This project will utilise data collected from older adults in the Mitchelstown Cohort Rescreen study to design an intervention to fractionate and reduce sedentary time. The PhD candidate will work with an experienced research team to refine, pilot and implement a novel light activity intervention to break up sedentary time. They will also measure the intervention effects on markers of cardiometabolic health risk.
Primary supervisor: Prof Alan Donnelly (

NISE Research Themes
- Wellbeing, Inclusion and Social Justice
- STEM Education
- Education Leadership and Policy
- Teaching and Teacher Education

Project Title: Teachers' understanding and implementation of classroom-based assessment in mathematics and science
Post-primary schools in Ireland have a long history of external examinations, but the assessment culture of Irish secondary schools is currently undergoing a major shift as classroom-based assessments (CBA) are
introduced across all lower secondary subjects (known as Junior Cycle in Ireland and equivalent to The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level). This project focuses on investigating the impact of CBAs, and in particular the extent to which Irish teachers develop assessment literacy as part of their professional identity. It will incorporate an international comparative case study in addition to working with a group of science and mathematics teachers to assess and support their development of assessment literacy.
Primary supervisor: Prof Merrilyn Goos (

Project Title: Developing evidence-based school suicide prevention programmes for adolescents
Brief Project Description: The aim of this research programme is to develop and pilot a school-based suicide prevention programme to reduce suicidal behaviours and suicide attempts. The programme will be informed by existing research and literature that identifies the psychosocial and health determinants of suicidal behaviours in young people.
Primary supervisor: Dr Jennifer McMahon (
Candidates both EU and non-EU are encouraged to engage with the relevant project supervisors in advance of submitting an application to discuss the project in more detail and candidate’s subject expertise.

In order to be eligible for the PhD scholarship, you should fulfil all of the following criteria:
- First class undergraduate or master’s degree in relevant discipline to each topic from a recognised higher education institution.
- Not yet registered for PhD elsewhere.
It is expected that interview dates for successful applications will be held sometime between 1st of July to 12th July.
Closing date is Thursday 21st of June at 5pm. Please upload your CV to the system.
Click the link here for applications