HRB PhD Equivalency


HRB PhD equivalence can be granted by the HRB for the purposes of HRB grant application eligibility, where applicable, where an individual does not have a PhD. Please note that not all the HRB Grant funding calls require the PhD or equivalency, so you are advised to read carefully the Guidance Notes.

PhD equivalency, as defined in national[1] and international[2] frameworks, is as at least four years ‘full time’ research experience post-primary degree, which does not need to be consecutive. Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling them to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited), even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

Active research is defined as working directly on an original research project, or projects, for the purposes of generating new scientific knowledge. Time spent conducting active research is the only criterion which contributes to HRB PhD equivalence. Active research does not include supervision of individuals who are performing active research. Partial FTEs over a period of time can be expressed as months conducting active research.


  • Recipients of a DSc are considered PhD equivalent and do not need to apply for PhD equivalency.
  • Professional and taught doctorate degrees are not considered as equivalent to a PhD.
  • MD degree are not considered as equivalent to a PhD.
  • For recipients of more than one PhD degree, the date of the earliest degree will be considered for eligibility’s purposes.
  • Individuals currently studying for, or who have already completed, a PhD qualification are not eligible to apply for HRB PhD equivalency.


Once researcher is granted HRB PhD equivalency, it is valid for all HRB funding schemes that require a PhD or PhD equivalency under eligibility criteria. HRB PhD equivalency is valid indefinitely and does not require renewal. Therefore if you have been previously granted HRB PhD equivalency and have received an email from the HRB confirming this, you do not need to apply again.



Example of a HRB PhD Equivalency Request Form

The example calculation below shows how a researcher could meet the requirement of 48 months research time at 1 FTE and be approved for HRB PhD equivalence.

Please note all other research metrics, including published papers, research funding, membership of committees and research titles do not contribute, in any way, to the assessment HRB PhD equivalence. This type of CV information should not be included in this form.