Health research careers

The HRB Strategy 2016-2020 Research. Evidence. Action. commits the HRB to support exceptional researchers and leaders in health research. To achieve this goal, a Health Research Career Framework and Action Plan 2016-2020 was developed. The Framework and Action Plan identifies six career stages and the relevant four researcher profiles.

The following sections detail the available funding schemes, by researcher profile. 

R1 Doctoral/early-stage researcher

A doctoral trainee/early-stage researcher during the training stage is pursuing a postgraduate degree by research and is typically a PhD candidate. The training stage is usually thorough and broad, and should focus on the acquisition of research methodologies and skills as well as professional and generic transferable skills.

The HRB provides the following funding opportunities for early-stage researchers through studentships and PhD training programmes:

Summer Student Scholarships build research capacity among undergraduate students studying full-time in health, or health-related disciplines linked to the HRB strategic priorities. They offer students the experience of working with well-established researchers in high quality research environments. Students gain experience in health research-related situations and contexts and are introduced to research that can ultimately make an impact on patient care, health service delivery and health outcomes.

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The SPHeRE Programme was established to respond to an identified need to strengthen population health and health services research (PHHSR) capacity in Ireland in order to lessen the gap between research findings, health policy and health outcomes. The HRB-funded SPHeRE Programme is driven by three core institutions (RCSI, TCD and UCC) but has collaborators in all seven universities. It delivers a national research programme across population health and health services research focusing on developing PhD-level researchers in PHHSR.

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The ICAT Programme is co-funded by Wellcome, the HRB, the HSE National Doctors Training and Planning in the Republic of Ireland, the Health and Social Care (HSC) Research and Development Office in Northern Ireland and partner higher education institutions. ICAT is a unique all-Ireland cross-institutional clinical PhD programme for clinicians, integrated with the health services and university clinical research centres, which will prepare medical graduates for careers as clinician scientists. The ICAT programme is based at six major Irish academic institutions and their affiliated hospital groups. Up to 40 fellowships will be awarded over a 5-year period which commenced with the first intake of 8 ICAT fellows in July 2017.

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The aim of the Collaborative Doctoral Awards in Patient-focused Research (CDA) PhD fellowship scheme is to provide outstanding individuals from a range of health and social care professions with the opportunity to conduct high quality research projects relevant to the needs of the health service and to support them in their vision to progress along the pathway to becoming future independent researchers.

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The HRB Internship Scheme offers early-stage researchers an opportunity to gain first-hand experience of working in a state agency alongside experienced professionals and a range of stakeholders. The programme is targeted at researchers working in health-related areas who have recently secured or are soon to secure a higher degree (MSc, PhD) and who are interested in pursuing a career in academic research, health analytics, research coordination or research management, health policy and management, public administration or in the private sector. The internship is typically two years and interns rotate between the Research Strategy and Funding Directorate and the Health Information Systems and Evidence Generation Directorate and report to a senior manager within the relevant Directorate.

Advertisements for the HRB Internship are announced in the Human Resources section of the website. 

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This scheme is no longer running and has been replaced by the Collaborative Doctoral Awards in Patient-focused Research (CDA).

The Research Training Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals aims to build capacity for independent research with the Irish health system. The HPF offers a PhD training opportunity to health and social care professionals in Ireland who wish to undertake training in patient-oriented, health service and population health research in a recognised research institution. The objective of scheme is to provide three years’ full-time funding to health and social care professionals, who are individuals of outstanding potential, early in their research careers.

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R2 Experienced/mid-stage researcher

An experienced/mid-stage researcher is a PhD holder or equivalent during consolidation and progression phases of their career who aims to increase the breadth of his/her research knowledge, skills, methodologies and capabilities as well as establishing strong national and international collaborations and networks. Some researchers at this stage might aim to transition towards becoming independent researchers.

The HRB provides the following funding opportunities for the mid-stage researchers:

This scheme is no longer running and has been replaced by the Applying Research into Policy & Practice Post-doctoral Fellowship (ARPP).

The ICE Awards aims at building and attracting postdoctoral capacity into population health and health services research to enable the development of partnerships between researchers, practitioners and decision makers. ICE Awards use a team-based interdisciplinary approach whereby existing teams or newly formed teams of senior established researchers work together to apply for funding to support up to a maximum of three postdoctoral fellows.

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The aim of the HRB Emerging Investigator Awards is to create a strong cohort of new and talented independent investigators by facilitating and supporting the transition of these individuals from mid-stage researchers to independent and self-directed health researchers.

The scheme aims to establish a cadre of collaborative experts who can generate new knowledge in health research, while at the same time taking an active role towards actionable knowledge, particularly by facilitating and maximising the application and/or translation of knowledge generated through research and collaborations. This will contribute towards improving health care systems, policies or practice.

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The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Prevention Fellowship Programme (CPFP) is co-funded under the All-Ireland Cancer Consortium between the HRB, the US NCI in Bethesda, Maryland and the Health and Social Care (HSC) Research and Development Office in Northern Ireland. Since 2005, the NCI CPFP interdisciplinary postdoctoral training programme provides opportunities for individuals from a wide range of health-related disciplines to learn the principles and practices of cancer prevention and control. 

The Program provides:

  • Up to 4 years of financial support
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) or an equivalent degree at any one-year accredited university program
  • NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention
  • Mentored research opportunities at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Professional development and leadership training

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Since 2010 HRB has been working in partnership with Wellcome and SFI to co-fund biomedical research in the Republic of Ireland under the auspices of the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Biomedical Research Partnership. The vision of Wellcome (formerly The Wellcome Trust), the UK-based global charity, is to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. In line with our strategic objectives HRB engages in a number of partnerships with other funders to support research that is driven by excellence and originality, providing the seed-corn of intellectual and human capital that will be needed for future generations.

The Partnership includes career awards targeted at early, mid and senior researchers, as well as project-based funding (Collaborative and Seed Awards), and has included funding at institutional level (Institutional Strategic Support Fund). Details of awards made to date are available here.  Awards made under this Partnership to researchers in the Republic of Ireland are funded 50% by Wellcome, 25% by HRB and 25% by SFI.

All applications are made directly to Wellcome who manages the application and review processes for applications made under this partnership. Due to their size and strategic importance to HRB and the SFI, prospective applicants for Wellcome’s Principal Research Fellows (PRFs) must first submit an Expression of Interest to HRB and SFI.

Details of how to apply for all awards under the Partnership are available on our call announcement page. Applicants for all schemes are strongly encouraged to contact Wellcome for advice in advance of submission.

 

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HRB, together with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), is supporting the participation of researchers from the Republic of Ireland in applications to the National Institute of Health (NIH) under the US Ireland R&D Partnership.

The overall goal of the Partnership is to increase the level of collaborative R&D amongst researchers across three jurisdictions: the United States, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This collaboration aims to generate valuable discoveries and innovations which are transferable to the marketplace, or will lead to enhancements in health, disease prevention or healthcare. In line with our strategic objectives HRB engages in a number of partnerships with other funders to support research that is driven by excellence and originality, create new knowledge that, over time, will help to address the major health challenges in society and have an impact on tomorrow’s healthcare.

The Partnership supports tri‐partite research projects in which agencies fund research undertaken in their own jurisdiction. These projects must demonstrate significant value above that achievable by the researcher in each jurisdiction working alone. In 2016 HRB and SFI and the Northern Ireland partners agreed changes to the scheme to simplify the application process, and to expand the scope of the scheme to any area within the NIH remit (1). Applications are submitted to the NIH review process, and if successful, the research for the Republic of Ireland component will be funded by HRB and SFI on a 50:50 basis.

The scheme is aimed at mid-career and senior-career stage researchers, and up to €700,000 direct costs are available per project for the Republic of Ireland research component.

All applications are made directly to NIH by the US Principal Investigator, however the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland researchers must submit documentation to their respective funding bodies at least 10 weeks in advance of the NIH deadline.

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1. The following will be not be considered for funding by RoI and NI funding agencies under this programme:

  • Applications from individuals applying for, holding, or employed under a research grant from the tobacco industry
  • Research intended to create human embryos solely for the purpose of research or for the purpose of stem cell procurement, including by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer
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R3 Investigator/ senior-stage researcher

An investigator/senior-stage researcher is conducting independent research while at the same time is furthering and advancing her/her research agenda, has established a research team and a research plan is making a positive contribution to knowledge through national and international collaborations. The investigator is managing a research plan and is supervising and mentoring early-stage and mid-stage researchers.

Click here to view the funding opportunities provided by the HRB for the senior-stage researchers through platforms, programme and projects.

R4 Leader

A leader  is an individual who has demonstrated excellent advancement and intellectual contribution to knowledge in a specific health-research area while at the same time has a strategic vision and the capacity to develop a programmatic approach to scientific research in a specific area of interest and expertise. A leader has the skill set, capacity and track record as an excellent communicator and collaborator working across sector boundaries and preferably across discipline. This individual should ultimately be able to influence changes and facilitate and accelerate the translation of research knowledge towards more tangible health impacts.

The HRB provides the following funding opportunities for leaders:

This scheme is no longer running and will be replaced by an updated scheme in late 2018.

The aim of the CSAs is to increase the number of clinician scientists in medicine and other health professions who can (1) provide the evidence for innovative patient care and service provision in the Irish healthcare system and (2) promote the implementation of evidence into policy and practice. The goal is to foster a culture of research and innovation in the health service for the benefit of patients and the Irish economy.

The CSAs are targeted at leaders who wish to further develop their research programmes and teams, to establish themselves as leading international clinical investigators in their discipline, and promote the implementation of evidence into practice and policy.

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This scheme is no longer running and will be replaced by an updated scheme in late 2018.

The Research Leader Awards aim to address strategic leadership gaps in population health and health services research (PHHSR) in Ireland by providing funding to enable senior academic researchs to build research activity in PHHSR in areas of strategic importance for Ireland and to drive forward the national agenda with strategic partners in these fields.

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Since 2010 HRB has been working in partnership with Wellcome and SFI to co-fund biomedical research in the Republic of Ireland under the auspices of the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Biomedical Research Partnership. The vision of Wellcome (formerly The Wellcome Trust), the UK-based global charity, is to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. In line with our strategic objectives HRB engages in a number of partnerships with other funders to support research that is driven by excellence and originality, providing the seed-corn of intellectual and human capital that will be needed for future generations.

The Partnership includes career awards targeted at early, mid and senior researchers, as well as project-based funding (Collaborative and Seed Awards), and has included funding at institutional level (Institutional Strategic Support Fund). Details of awards made to date are available here.  Awards made under this Partnership to researchers in the Republic of Ireland are funded 50% by Wellcome, 25% by HRB and 25% by SFI.

All applications are made directly to Wellcome who manages the application and review processes for applications made under this partnership. Due to their size and strategic importance to HRB and the SFI, prospective applicants for Wellcome’s Principal Research Fellows (PRFs) must first submit an Expression of Interest to HRB and SFI.

Details of how to apply for all awards under the Partnership are available on our call announcement page. Applicants for all schemes are strongly encouraged to contact Wellcome for advice in advance of submission.

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View upcoming calls

View funding awarded

 

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