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Enabling Clinical and Translational Research

Clinical & Translational Research Scholars Programme

Beginning in 2011, 25 basic science graduates are undertaking PhD studies in clinical and translational research as MMI Scholars in the MMI partner institutions UCC, UCD, NUI Galway and TCD.

Unique features of this 4-year structured PhD include the strong involvement of industry partners in governance, taught courses, placements and mentoring, the wide pool of over 90 prinicpal investigators offering lab placements and projects, and the online coordination hub which enables students to select PhD components, track progress and access e-learning modules.


About the Programme

In July 2010, the successful Molecular Medicine Ireland bid, led by NUI Galway with partners Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and University College Dublin, secured funding for a collaborative structured PhD under Cycle 5 of PRTLI. The MMI Clinical & Translational Research Scholars Programme (CTRSP) is a unique cross-institutional programme which will develop graduates with knowledge and skills to pursue disease-focused research and bridge gaps between basic scientists, clinical scientists and industry.

The programme is guided by a Steering Committee with representation from each of the four partner institutions, from industry and the Irish Medicines Board.


Structure of the programme

  • Year 1 of the 4-year programme comprises core and optional graduate education modules delivered in Dublin, Cork and Galway. These modules provide a grounding in essential research skills and transferable skills together with access to specialist topics.
  • Year 1 also features practical placements in industry, in academic research labs and in clinical research facilities.
  • At the end of Year 1, Scholars select PhD projects in areas including drug discovery, discovery/validation of biomarkers and patient-oriented research in clinical research facilities. Over 90 Principal Investigators are participating in the programme.
  • In Years 2 and 3, work on PhD research projects is supplemented  with access to online graduate education modules with a strong innovation and commercialisation focus.
  • An online SkillsLog is also available where Scholars can record transferable skills acquired throughout the PhD and use these to inform meeting with their industry mentor.
  • Annual Scientific Meetings provide a forum for scholars to interact further and present their research.



Twenty scholarships were awarded in the first call for the MMI CTRSP following a rigorous selection process. The appointed Scholars began the programme in October 2010. A second cohort of five MMI Scholars was recruited in October 2011.

Official Launch October 2010

Award of five scholarships in October 2011



The MMI Clinical & Translational Research Scholars Programme is funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) Cycle 5, and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).