Mediterranean Diet in Rheumatoid Arthritis SPhD

Mediterranean Diet in Rheumatoid Arthritis SPhD





UL Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


UL School of Allied Health

Post Title

Postgraduate (PhD) Research Scholarship


‘MEDRA’ - Mediterranean Diet in Rheumatoid Arthritis


4 years

Supervisory Team

Dr Audrey Tierney, Professor Norelee Kennedy, Dr Louise Larkin, Dr Anne Griffin


Project and Scholarhip Summary

The School of Allied Health, University of Limerick is offering a structured PhD Scholarship to investigate if a Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) is associated with and could have positive effects on inflammatory biomarkers in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects 3-5% of people in Ireland and has a significant impact on physical, emotional and social functioning (; Uhlig et al, 2007). Current guidelines for optimal RA management (Combe et al 2016)  recommend dynamic exercises and physical activity. To date, there are no interventions examining the effect of combined diet and physical activity in RA. Furthermore, there is no recommended diet and there is a lack of well-designed dietary intervention clinical trials in this area. A Cochrane review evaluated the effectiveness of diets, including vegetarian or vegan, elimination, fasting and elemental diets for the treatment of RA and management of its side effects however, the results were inconclusive (Hagen et al. 2009). While there is evidence to recommend a MedDiet as a therapeutic dietary regime for conditions associated with inflammation, there is a lack of evidence to suggest that the diet is beneficial in RA.

This project will establish baseline evidence for a Mediterranean Diet in RA that will facilitate future interventions examining the effects of a combined MedDiet and physical activity intervention.

Eligible students are invited to apply for this scholarship which includes:.

  • A full structured PhD fee waiver for 4 years and annual stipend of €16,000 with some funding for travel/consumables.  

The deadline for receipt of application is November 2nd 2018


Selection Criteria


  • Primary degree in nutrition and/or dietetics and or related area.
  • Excellent communication skills (Oral, Written, Presentation).
  • Excellent organisational skills including a proven ability to work to deadlines.
  • Knowledge of basic research design methods, systematic literature searching and statistical analysis.


  • Experience in carrying out a research project

Terms of the Awards:

  • To be eligible for this scholarship applicants must be planning to register as a postgraduate student on the EHS Structured PhD programme in January 2018.
  • The scholarships may be held for up to 4 years (PhD), subject to available funding and the student’s continued satisfactory academic progress.
  • The scholarship recipient must register full-time in the School of Allied Health.
  • The supervisory team will primarily be members of the School of Allied Health.
  • Successful applicants must take up the scholarship by the commencement of the second semester AY 2018/19.
  • Selection panel decisions will be final and not open to review. Applicants will be given a maximum of ten working days to decide whether to take up the scholarship, once offered. If the scholarship is not taken up it will be re-allocated on the basis of merit points to the next highest applicant. The panel will have the right to agree that low quality applications may be judged as non-fundable, and a scholarship will not be offered in that instance.
  • Being in receipt of an externally funded scholarship or stipend will not affect the value of the School scholarships, provided that external funding does not exceed €5,000. Scholarship recipients must inform the Head of the School of Allied Health in writing upon receipt of such additional funding.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by the beginning of December 2018 and must proceed to register for their degree programme.
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete Garda vetting processes.


Application Process: Please submit an electronic copy of your application including all attachments to Mairead Gavin, Administrator, School of Allied Health, University of Limerick, Limerick at

 Deadline for receipt of applications is November 2nd at 12 noon.

  • School of Allied Health Scholarship Application Form
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript showing degree/s and year/s of award
  • References x 2

Applicants will receive email confirmation that their application has been received.

Further information:
Mairead Gavin, Administrator, School of Allied Health
Email: or Ph. 061 234301

Prof Susan Coote, Chair SAH Research committee (061) 234 278


For Project information:

Dr Audrey Tierney, Senior Lecturer Nutrition and Dietetics (061) 234341

Professor Norelee Kennedy, Head of School and Professor of Physiotherapy  (061) 213371

For an application form please click here