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

RCSI School of Pharmacy signs MPharm agreement with TCD and UCC to create APPEL

02 October 2015
On 21st September, RCSI's School of Pharmacy, in conjunction with the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork (UCC) and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), signed a consortium agreement to implement an initiative that aims to streamline and integrate experiential learning for students in the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) programme in each of the three institutions. This initiative, known as the Affiliation for Pharmacy Practice Experiential Learning (APPEL), will integrate experiential learning into all five years of the MPharm programmes, permitting a greater level of contextualisation of knowledge over the current model of education and training.

Pictured at the signing of the APPEL Consortium agreement are (l-r Seated) Mr Paul O'Donovan, Academic Secretary, Office of the Registrar and Vice President of Academic Affairs, UCC; Professor Linda Hogan, Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer, TCD; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; and (l-r Standing) Professor Stephen Byrne, Head of the School of Pharmacy, UCC; Professor Anne Marie Healy, Head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, TCD; and Professor Paul Gallagher, Head of the School of Pharmacy, RCSI (Pic Paul Sharp)

APPEL will facilitate streamlined, centralised management of the experiential learning placements made available to students by community, hospital, industry, and regulatory pharmacy bodies throughout the state. Speaking on the signing of this new affiliation, Professor Paul Gallagher, Head of RCSI's School of Pharmacy, said "By providing a single interface to the entire profession and the entire cohort of students nationally, APPEL will be able to provide trainers and preceptors (tutor pharmacists) with consistent communications and uniform training assistance while efficiently assigning students from the three schools to the available training placements. APPEL is currently in the establishment phase, with offices located within RCSI and the project is being managed by Mr Michael Cresswell on behalf of the three Schools."

To coincide with the signing of the agreement, the three institutions will now appoint a National Coordinator by January 2016 to oversee the APPEL. Professor Anne Marie Healy, Head of the TCD School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, remarked on this new role: "The APPEL National Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the development and administration of the experiential learning programme within the integrated Master of Pharmacy programmes of the three schools. It is a key position that will also require the ability to engage with pharmacists, the pharmaceutical industry, and pharmacy groups in all the major practice areas all across the country." 

Michael Cresswell speaks at the APPEL agreement signing

Speaking on the next steps in the APPEL project, Head of the UCC School of Pharmacy, Professor Stephen Byrne, said, "In 2016, APPEL will be focused on consulting with the profession and recruiting additional training establishments to share their expertise with our students. The first block of experiential learning placements will take place in early 2017, and each year after that will require more help from the profession to train multiple classes. The success of these degree programmes depends upon the quality and quantity of practical training given to our students by the professionals in the greater pharmacy community. APPEL looks forward to that engagement."

Applications can now be made for the APPEL National Coordinator position to RCSI's Human Resources department ( and will close on the 31st October 2015.

The MPharm programme constitutes a recognised qualification for professional pharmacy practice in Ireland. Upon completion of the MPharm, graduates will be fully qualified to apply to register as a pharmacist in Ireland and throughout the EU.

RCSI is ranked among the top 50 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education University World Rankings, 2015-16). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.