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Fellowship Call

ICAT Programme Fellowships


An application call for fellowships starting in 2023 is open now. The deadline for applications is 30th September 2022. 

Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT-2), an Integrated Pathway for Clinical Academic Training in Human Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry

The ICAT-2 Programme is an all-Ireland partnership comprising six universities (UoG, QUB, TCD, UCD, UCC, RCSI), the clinical training authorities North and South, the HRB, HSE-NDTP, HSC R&D, NIMDTA, CAI and DAFM. ICAT is founded on the principles of providing integrated, fellow-centric clinical academic training to excellent postgraduate clinical trainees across all disciplines of human medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry through a programme which integrates PhD research training of the highest quality with higher specialist training.

It is ICAT-2’s ambition to train 42 fellows through five intakes and to commit to supporting each fellow throughout their entire career pathway. Through combined partnership, ICAT offers infrastructure, experience, expertise with matched financial support to provide the broadest possible range of research and training opportunities.

The overarching shared vision for ICAT-2 is to train world-class clinical academic leaders, across the island of Ireland to: 

  • develop a diverse, vibrant, globally competitive clinical academic workforce in Ireland.
  • meet the need for academic leadership by health professionals.
  • prioritise the role for clinician scientists in understanding disease through research and innovation.
  • create flexible career structures for clinical academic researchers.
  • increase the output of high-impact, high-quality, strategically relevant research aligned with structured academic career pathways.

Central to our vision is to build an all-inclusive, diverse and broad-ranging programme which develops a lasting and integrated network of academics across the island and internationally. The need for disruptive thinking and cross-pollination of ideas between our fellows, mentors and supervisors dictates that we recruit broadly from all clinical disciplines to promote wide-ranging sharing of ideas and interests. We especially encourage and support applications from clinical specialties and disciplines heretofore under-represented in clinical academia.

A key aim of the ICAT programme is to train the next generation of clinical academics to lead the highest quality research with the most impact. We wish to provide training in the highest quality of cutting-edge research to drive change within the Irish Healthcare system, and to inform patient care internationally. ICAT-2 aims to be a catalyst for change and progress in how we approach research and deliver its impact to society.

Structure of ICAT-2

Research within ICAT is conducted within a well-supported, mentored and highly networked environment which is collaborative in focus and which mandates a cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional approach for all fellows. Each year over five intakes, fellows with a passion for research, problem-solving and addressing unmet need across the health sciences will be recruited to the ICAT-2 programme. Each fellow will enter into (i) a preparatory pre-PhD year, fully accredited for clinical training, followed by (ii) a fully funded 3-year PhD from which they will (iii) return to completion of higher specialist training in an environment supportive of continued academic pursuit through the ICAT-2 Alumnus Committee.

It is important that fellows have not chosen a supervisor or project at the time of recruitment to ICAT-2. Essential to fellow-development and training of each ICAT fellow is the opportunity provided during the first year to develop their research interest into a knowledge-gap-focussed research question and PhD proposal with the support of an advanced mentorship structure.

Academic mentors work with each fellow to choose a team of cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary supervisors which exploits the full opportunity provided by the ICAT-2 network of six universities and 250 supervisors across the areas of science, engineering, health & social sciences. Each ICAT fellow chooses a cross-disciplinary supervisory structure which spans at least two Irish universities. International collaborations are encouraged and supported through funded opportunities within the programme to avail of a research elective in an international centre of excellence for up to 6 months.

The execution of high-quality research in ICAT-2 is embedded within a purpose-designed research-training and networking structure which incorporates an annual summer school, annual retreat and study days. Each provides training in research skills and analysis as well as exposure to cutting-edge research techniques and is delivered within a social, supportive environment. Our training programmes challenge our fellows to take a disruptive approach to answering their research questions which press boundaries in a future-ready manner. Through these events, ICAT fellows network with each other, with fellows from other PhD programmes in Ireland, with supervisors, and with guest speakers and experts of international renown.

Application call dates for fellowships starting in 2023

  • Online application form opens on the ICAT website (28th July)
  • Webinar for potential applicants will be held on 25th August (a recording will be uploaded to the ICAT website)
  • Applicants complete the online application form and submit it with two references by the deadline of 30th September
  • Applications are reviewed and shortlisted (applicants notified early November)
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to complete the application process and attend an interview (mid-December, date to be confirmed with candidates)
  • Interviewees notified of outcome
  • ICAT works with successful applicants and their training schemes to organise a training plan
  • ICAT pre-PhD year 1 starts July 2023

ICAT-2 is open to applicants from all medical, dental and veterinary specialties. Medical and dental trainees should be enrolled in/starting higher specialist training in 2023. Veterinary trainees should be nearing completion/have recently completed specialist training. You can find full eligibility criteria in the application form.

This year we are encouraging applications from trainees in specialties currently underrepresented in clinical academia:

  • General Practice*
  • General Surgery
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Paediatric Surgery
  • Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
  • Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • Pathology (excluding Haematology, Immunology and Clinical Microbiology)
  • Anaesthesiology
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine

*Trainees in General Practice may apply 1 year before they enter higher specialist training. To discuss this further and ascertain your eligibility, please contact ICAT directly.

Those applying from the listed specialties currently underrepresented in clinical academia in Ireland are also eligible for the open fellowship application call.

Fellowships available in 2023:

  • 6 fellowships open to all medical and dental graduates (including those within the identified underrepresented specialties)
  • 1 veterinary fellowship
  • 1 fellowship for a trainee in an underrepresented specialty (see list above)
  • 1 fellowship for a trainee enrolled in a College of Anaesthesiologists higher specialist training scheme

If fellowships are unfilled in any year, they will be available the following year.

We encourage all interested applicants to read the application form carefully and to contact ICAT if they have any questions about the application process. An online webinar will be held during the application call and applicants can submit questions in advance.

If an applicant feels that they require mentoring through the application process, please contact us and we will connect you with an independent mentor.


The Fellowship Call is Now Closed


Questions

If you have any initial questions, please check out our FAQ page where you will find lots of information about the application process and the programme structure.

if you have further questions about the ICAT Programme and its eligibility criteria, or for information about the appeals process, please contact info@icatprogramme.org in the first instance. Specific queries can be referred to the ICAT programme director at the appropriate university.

For questions on postgraduate training, please contact the appropriate postgraduate training body in the first instance.