Our goal as a research unit is to develop a competence based-curriculum and robust assessment tools and to continue to refine trainee selection and assessment processes, which in turn complements the development and implementation of technical and non-technical skills-based programmes to bridge the gap created by a shortened training programme and reduction of training hours on the hospital site.

We have an enthusiastic research team lead by our principal investigators:

Surgical innovation

In the area of technology-enhanced learning (TEL), the National Surgical Training Centre (NSTC) at RCSI has developed a Moodle platform that facilitates interactive mandatory case-based discussions. This platform has been incorporated into RCSI's first global surgical training website which covers all aspects of surgical training. A comprehensive anatomy-based competitive serious game has been developed and optimised for use on the phone. We also have used VR and 360˚ camera technology to enhance the learning experience while validating their role through research and development.

Fellowship opportunities

Each year we offer a research fellowship to current and previous surgical trainees who are interested in pursuing 12 months (full-time) research as part of a fellowship under one of the following research pillars:

  • Surgical training research, which is focused on technical and non-technical skills development
  • Health outcome research through a budding collaboration with RCSI HORC
  • Quality improvement process measures in surgery

Successful applicants are expected to submit a thesis for an MD or complete five impactful papers within three years. Specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Conduct a specified programme of research under the supervision and direction of the Head of Surgical Research.
  • Engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities to develop research skills and competencies.
  • Engage in the dissemination of the research.
  • Publish research findings in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Acquire generic and transferable skills (including project management, business skills and postgraduate mentoring/supervision).
  • Contribute to costing research grant proposals and assist in the financial management of a research project.
  • Carry out additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post.

Applications for the Fellowship open in March each year. Informal inquiries are welcome and should be directed to Dara Kavanagh.


Our faculty and research fellows have published 66 research papers in internationally recognised peer-reviewed journals since 2011. Many are the result of national and international collaborations. There are an additional five papers currently undergoing the peer review process. Details on current and historical research in Surgical Science and Practice at RCSI can be found here