Wellcome-HRB Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme

What is the ICAT Programme?

The Wellcome-HRB Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme is an all-Ireland clinician PhD programme funded primarily by the Wellcome Trust and Health Research Board (HRB), with ongoing collaboration and additional funding support from multiple partners including six academic institutions (TCD, UCD, NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, RCSI and UCC), the Health Service Executive National Doctors Training and Planning, the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies, the Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland R&D Division and the Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency. The programme is coordinated by

ICAT combines academic training, research, clinical training and mentorship, and will award a number of fellowships each year (currently eight) following a competitive, peer-reviewed, application process.


Why is ICAT unique?ICAT-programme-logo-small

ICAT fellows will benefit from a programme that combines skill-based training for academic research, protected time for conducting a research PhD, protected time for further research, and accredited clinical training to completion of higher specialist training (HST). Fellows will also receive continuing mentorship from ICAT supervisors who will support their development as clinician scientists.


  • Year 1:           Continuing clinical training with protected time to develop core research skills (fellows benefit from access to training modules in each of the partner universities) and time to prepare a PhD research proposal linked to clinical specialty, with guidance from their PhD supervisor.
  • Years 2-4:    Full immersion in research project. An additional but minimal clinical training component will be incorporated.
  • Years 5&6:    Clinical training with protected research time. Completion of CCST (or CCT in NI) and completion of PhD, with publications and preparations for the next stage of their careers.


This unique seven-year programme will train the next generation of clinician scientists and will guide them through their combined academic, research and clinical career paths.

Dr Mark Watson, Head of Education and Development at CRDI and Co-Director of ICAT


ICAT Programme structure:

The ICAT Programme combines clinical training (to completion of CCST in Ireland or CCT in Northern Ireland) with academic research training and mentorship:





The ICAT Programme is a partnership between several funding bodies, universities and postgraduate training bodies:

  • Wellcome Trust
  • Health Research Board (HRB)
  • Clinical Research Development Ireland (CRDI)
  • Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
  • University College Cork (UCC)
  • NUI Galway
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Forum of Irish Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies
  • Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency
  • Health Service Executive (HSE) National Doctors Training and Planning
  • Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland R&D Division





Pictured at the announcement of the Wellcome-HRB ICAT Programme on the 13th September 2016 (from left to right): Prof. Conall Dennedy, NUI Galway, Prof. Ray Stallings, RCSI, Prof. Paddy Mallon, UCD, Dr Graham love, Chief Executive HRB, Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Health, Prof. Michael Gill, TCD, Prof. Mary Horgan, UCC, Prof. Peter Maxwell, Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Mark Watson, CRDI.


For more information about ICAT please visit http://www.icatprogramme.org and follow us on twitter @ICATProgramme


July 26, 2019

Wellcome-HRB Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) PhD Fellowship Call – Opening Soon

16th July 2019: The Wellcome-HRB ICAT Programme is seeking to appoint its next cohort of well-qualified and ambitious individuals who aspire to become the next generation […]
December 17, 2018

ICAT Retreat 2018

The second ICAT Retreat took place in Malahide on the 15th and 16th November 2018. The packed two-day schedule included presentations from the new ICAT Fellows […]