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An Associate Professor in Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics
in RCSI, Professor Moran, in 2001, established the first taught
PhD programme in Ireland at RCSI which formed the basis for
the current HRB-funded PhD Scholar programme. This year she
took up the role of Head of School of Postgraduate Studies.
"This is an exciting time for the school. In the last year, a total
of 44 research higher degree candidates graduated. Our
scholars have undertaken placements in a range of locations
from Queen Mary University of London to Harvard School
of Engineering. At the same time, our strategy to attract
an increased number of international PhD students to the
College here has entered a new phase with the strengthening
of cooperative educational links to Brazil, Japan, China and
The outlook for the next few years is equally promising: "Over
the next five years, we will see numbers increasing. There is
an intensifying trend in medical and health sciences whereby
individuals are seeking higher and higher qualification levels
in response to the pace of change and the burgeoning growth
in medical knowledge. Equally, Horizon 2020, the European
Union's new research programme, represents an opportunity
to raise our ambitions ever higher in the search for new
knowledge and groundbreaking solutions to the most urgent
health issues."
Already, the calibre of work being achieved in the School of
Postgraduate Studies promises much for the future: "The
design of our postgraduate programmes and its structured
expert/student relationship ensures that, while giving due
attention to basic research, we also do not lose sight of clinical
realities. This has enhanced the relevance and impact of our
research. For example, one of our students is currently carrying
out research that focuses on the prevalence of blood clotting
among cancer patients. This research has the potential to
directly impact on the treatment of cancer patients."
She concludes: "Our ultimate goal as a school within RCSI is
to create leaders who are focused on finding solutions. In this
respect, one of the projects I'm most looking forward to next
year is a conference in January 2014 in RCSI on human disease
mapping. This conference will feature international speakers
and has been organised entirely by a group of PhD students on
their own initiative. They recognised a need and responded."
Professor Niamh Moran, Head of School of Postgraduate Studies,
A founding lecturer of the School of Pharmacy, Dr
Strawbridge has been involved in the design and
delivery of teaching and learning since before the School
opened in 2002. She was Associate Vice Dean for Student
Affairs from 2008 - 2012 and developed the student
support service for the National Pharmacy Internship
Programme. Among her current responsibilities, she is
the Programme Director of the BSc in Pharmacy. She
explains: "The pharmacy degree offered by RCSI is a
four-year programme which aims to produce graduates
who are adept in the communication, application and
understanding of the basic principles and techniques of
pharmaceutical science.
"The course has been carefully structured to guide the
individual student on a clearly signposted journey from
foundation studies to scientific and professional studies,
in preparation for practice. As Programme Director, I have
responsibility for delivery of the curriculum as a whole. My
research interests, which include curriculum design and
quality assurance, link in with and support this work."
Dr Strawbridge believes the educational experience at
RCSI is both innovative and inclusive: "The staff here
are constantly seeking to enhance the effectiveness of
education models in alignment with a curriculum that
reflects a rapid pace of change in the real world of
practice. A distinctive component of RCSI teaching is
that all this is carried out with an acute awareness of the
student journey, which will be a key factor in shaping
the curricula of the future.
"Students are challenged in different ways at different
stages of their studies. Early in a programme, they are
still acquiring the content required for full understanding
of a particular role; later, they may find that they are
confronted by conflicting priorities. From the staff
perspective, our role is to equip students to manage
the various challenges they meet with an informed
confidence. Watching students grow through this
process is one of the most satisfying aspects of working
in RCSI."
Dr Judith D. Strawbridge, Programme Director of the BSc in
Pharmacy and Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice.