HRB awards €6 million to train tomorrow’s research leaders

22 Mar, 2022

The New Health Research Board (HRB) has awarded TU Dublin funding for the SPHeRE programme, which will drive research to address Ireland’s current and emerging health and social care challenges.

SPHeRE (Structured Population Health, Policy and Health-services Research Education) is Ireland's leading doctoral training programme in Population Health, Policy and Health Services Research (PHPHSR), which the HRB has been funding since 2007. This fresh phase 3 investment will see it continue delivering its hallmark high-quality education and training that connects scholars from diverse backgrounds and consolidates a strong track record of influencing and informing policy and practice.

According to Dr Mairéad O Driscoll, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board:

"The HRB is committed to investing in research leadership and building capacity to respond to Ireland's health and social care needs. This HRB investment will allow the SPHeRE programme to continue building a network of people across disciplines who understand how excellent research, data and evidence can influence decision making and inform health and social care policy."

Key deliverables of the SPHeRE programme

  • Improve prioritisation of research performed in the national interest
  • Provide scholars with the skills and competencies necessary for successful careers in academic, practice, policy or other settings
  • Continue expanding a national network of knowledge producers and users.

This will be achieved by:

  • Strengthening connections with service providers, policymakers and advocacy organisations to ensure scholarships and training focus on areas of high priority
  • Engaging with Principal Investigators (PIs) from a wider set of disciplinary backgrounds to ensure scholars are placed in settings that focus on high priority research questions
  • Engaging with funding agencies to deliver high priority research efficiently, and focusing on topics that are not currently addressed
  • Ensuring the programme delivers state-of-the-art knowledge and practices
  • Recruiting scholars of the highest academic standard in disciplines of need.

Dr Paul Hynds of the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute at TU Dublin is a member of the SPHeRE Co-Leadership Team, joining representatives from across the University sector. "TU Dublin is delighted to be the first Technological University to join the SPHeRE Programme in phase 3. The announcement represents a great opportunity to increase our funding base and collaborate with academic partners in the human population and healthcare sectors. It is also a fantastic opportunity to enhance the quality of our postgraduate experience via structured programmes with our new SPHeRE Partners." 

Read more about the SPHeRE programme is available on the Health Research Board website.