RCSI/ICGP StAR MD programme


The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences are delighted to announce a strategic partnership to support GPs in advancing research qualifications while maintaining clinical practice. Submissions are sought from interested candidates who wish to undertake a Doctorate in Medicine (MD) Degree through the Strategic Academic Recruitment (StAR) Programme. It is intended that the opportunities provided by this programme, will both assist in increasing research capacity in general practice and support GPs to obtain a strong research background.

Objectives and guidelines

The MD degree offers candidates the opportunity to strengthen translational research output while building expertise as a clinical scientist. Such training plays a critical role in preparing GPs to inform, support and implement research and evidence in their clinical careers, to improve patient care and service user experience. It is important that research proposals have, as their objectiv,e the uncovering and/or identifying of findings which can impact on practice. Practice includes assessment of patients/clients; decision-making and planning; practitioner-led interventions and evaluation of this process. Data should generally be generated in close proximity to patients/clients or their families and findings should have the realistic potential to be applied in practice and have relevance to health and social gain.

Applicants undertake the StAR MD on a full-time basis for two years with a minimum of three days per week ring-fenced research time. This option is available to applicants currently employed in a clinical setting, who wish to combine research training with current professional clinical responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the applicant, together with their supervisory team, to decide the employment arrangements and integration of research with clinical service over the two-year programme.

Applicants must provide a letter from the clinical director/manager from the practice employer demonstrating their support for the arrangement proposed within this research programme.

The grant provides funding for clearly defined research projects in areas of patient-oriented research, health services research and population health research. The StAR MD programme encompasses funded MD fees sponsored by ICGP, and an RCSI research consumable budget of €10,000 p.a. for two years.

Each scholar receives guidance from a strong supervisory team, with close supervision provided by three-four experts (one RCSI, one ICGP and one GP practice supervisor required).

The RCSI, ICGP and GP practice will be jointly acknowledged as the funding source at all national and international presentations and upon publication of the MD study.

Eligibility criteria

The following eligibility criteria applies:

  • Applicants must be an ICGP member in good standing.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate at least 24 months' (post-training) relevant clinical practice experience (whole-time or part-time) prior to application.
  • Applicants should currently be employed in a practice-based role or be in a post related to practice in a higher education institute on the island of Ireland.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate previous research experience through conference presentations or publications.