Preparing graduates for jobs in Ireland’s knowledge economy

Thursday, 13 October 2011

An exciting PhD programme to prepare science graduates for jobs in Ireland’s knowledge economy was launched today, 10 October 2011, in Newman House by Minister Sean Sherlock TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation. The Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme (CTRSP) was developed by Molecular MedicineIreland and its academic partners, NUI Galway,TrinityCollege, UCC and UCD, and was awarded funding of €4.3m earlier this year under Cycle 5 of the Government’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI). The CTRSP also benefitted from the extensive involvement of industry partners such as Amgen, Pfizer, Creganna-Tactx, Merrion Pharmaceuticals as well as the Irish Medicines Board.

The CTRSP is a four year structured PhD programme which will train scholars to translate patient and disease-focused research into clinically effective and commercial applications. These are the kind of skills required by knowledge industries in the health sector and in start-up companies. Twenty science graduates have enrolled on the programme following a competitive selection process. Four of these scholars Edel McGarry, NUI Galway, Eilis Dockry, TCD, Wesley van Oeffelen, UCC and Trudy McGarry, UCD spoke at the launch giving their views on why they were attracted to the CTRSP and their future career plans.

One of the unique features of this collaborative programme is that during the first year, the scholars have the opportunity to attend each of the four participating institutions for taught modules. The first 20 scholars - five each from NUI Galway, UCC,TrinityCollegeand UCD - begin the programme tomorrow with a four week period of taught courses in UCD andTrinityCollege. This will be followed by short placements in academic research groups, clinical research centres and in industry and specialist taught modules.

Tom Lynch, the Chair of MMI said that, “The CTRSP will address the deficit in the number of scientists in Ireland undertaking innovative patient and disease-focused research with a key understanding of how to translate research results to the clinic.”  The CTRSP combines collaborative teaching, research and clinical expertise of academic medical centres, industry, and the Irish Medicines Board in a structured PhD programme that provides graduates with research training of the highest quality and an in-depth understanding of the clinical, commercial and regulatory environment essential for effective careers in healthcare research.

In launching the CTRSP, Minister Sherlock said, “I strongly believe this new programme is very important on a number of strategic levels. It will deliver more scientists inIreland 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.”

Minister Sherlock continued by saying, “I am delighted to see further tangible evidence of howIreland’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 MedicineIreland and all involved in this initiative.”

Speaking at the launch, Professor Laurence Egan, Department of Clinical Pharmacology at NUI Galway, a director of MMI and the Principal Applicant on the CTRSP application, said “This important collaborative programme focuses the clinical and translational research expertise and resources of four institutions, working together through MMI, to develop future leaders to bring innovative discoveries to the market and to patients. These scholars will be well trained to work with clinicians, for jobs in the pharmaceutical industry or to start their own companies.”

For additional information please contact MMI’s Education and Training Team at 01 477 9817 or email



Author: Press and Information Office, NUI Galway
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