Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

StAR International PhD Programme

Star programme 2019


RCSI's Strategic Academic Recruitment (StAR) Programme is now recruiting five prestigious fully-funded PhD scholarships. This programme aims to attract high-achieving international students to an efficient four-year structured PhD training programme at RCSI. 

The RCSI StAR PhD Programme aims to encourage scientists to develop innovative research projects in one of RCSI’s areas of research strength, including but not limited to:

  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine 
  • Cancer
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Population and Health Systems
  • Surgical Science and Practice
  • Vascular Biology
  • Respiratory Medicine 
  • Gynaecology, Obstetrics & Perinatal Health 
  • Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences & Chemistry 
  • Infection, Immunity and Inflammation 

About RCSI

RCSI has been at the forefront of educating healthcare professionals since 1784. Today we are Ireland’s only focused health sciences institution, Ireland’s largest medical school and one of the leading health sciences institutions in the world. Based in Dublin, with students from over 80 countries and four overseas campuses, RCSI has a global reach through our network of Alumni in 97 countries.  As such it is the most internationally focused HEI in Ireland and is ranked 4th worldwide in terms of the percentage of international students enrolled in our core programmes.

RCSI has been ranked among the top 2% of universities worldwide in the 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and ranks second out of nine institutions in the Republic of Ireland. RCSI’s performance in the rankings is linked in particular to the College’s research strength reflected by a publication field-weighted citation impact that is the highest in Ireland and twice the world average. RCSI's Strategic Academic Recruitment (StAR) Programme is an ambitious initiative to accelerate the delivery of innovative, impactful research to improve human health through innovative translational medical research.


  • Opportunity for an international research training experience in a world class institution 
  • Four-year structured PhD training programme with the opportunity to gain an additional Professional Certificate in Research Practice 
  • Funded four-year PhD Scholarship, covering student fees (EU €6,950 or Non-EU €13,350 p.a.) research costs (up to €10,000 p.a.) and student stipend (€18,000 p.a.). 
  • Relocation package: up to €5,000 per student
  • Annual home travel allowance: ~€300-€800 p/a – depending on EU/Rest of World


The RCSI StAR International PhD Programme aims to encourage scientists to develop innovative research projects in the field of Health Sciences. Depending on the focus of the PhD research, students will choose their project based on 3 internal 10 week rotations or students will develop their proposal through the SPHeRE programme (Population Health and Health-services Research).

This structured training programme will include compulsory core modules in ethics, science communication, biostatistics and intellectual property. Core modules are complemented by many additional optional modules delivering skill sets including innovation and entrepreneurship, data management, coding. The structured training is designed to suit bench scientists, informatics based research, clinical researchers, and population heath researchers.  


The PhD Programme is oriented towards high achieving overseas international students with a strong profile and a background in Biomedical Research, Clinical Research, Population Health Research, or Health Services Research coming from primary degree courses focusing on:

Cell and Molecular Biology; Clinical and Translational Sciences; Medical Sciences (Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology, Anatomy etc); Bioengineering; Pharmacy; Physiotherapy; Nursing and Midwifery; Medicinal Chemistry; Genetics and Neurosciences; Population Health; Social Sciences; Health Services Research; Education in Health Sciences.

  • Students will have obtained or be about to obtain a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent (i.e. top 10 % of primary degree - or equivalent) and should provide a grade point average (GPA) for each completed year of undergraduate degree.
  • English requirements: IETLS =6.5 or must have completed primary degree through the medium of English. Please check the other English language certificates that are accepted.
  • Preference will be given to applicants coming directly from their undergraduate degree into this PhD programme. 
  • Applicants have to use the GPA calculator we recommend.
  • Applicants who do not submit all supporting documents will be deemed ineligible.

Application process

Details of available research projects will be available shortly.

Please apply through our  application portal and submit the following documents:

  • a completed application form, detailing academic progress to date (with GPA)
  • CV/Resume 
  • supporting tutor letter from degree awarding institution 
  • brief motivational statement describing your career plans. 


Shortlisting of applicants will be undertaken by a panel of assessors. All shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. An indicative timescale is given below.

Applications are now closed