Institution (Location)
Dublin, Ireland
Start Date
March 2, 2015
18,000 euro (stipend)
Position Description

Irish Cancer Society’s vision and
ambition is nothing less than a future without cancer.  Their aim is to ensure that patients
diagnosed with cancer in Ireland will have access to the most cutting edge
treatments and the best possible care. 
Research is essential to making this happen. 


is a unique and new model of community-based chronic illness
rehabilitation.  Developed by Dublin City
University (DCU) in 2006; it is a partnership between a third level educational
institution and the healthcare setting. 
MedEx’s core concept is the provision of quality evidence-based exercise
rehabilitation, supported by medical supervision, for people with diverse
chronic illnesses.  In 2014, MedEx caters
for 500 patient visits per week across 5 separate chronic illness programmes.
These programmes are HeartSmart (cardiac rehabiliatation), BreatheSmart
(pulmonary rehabilitation), Smart Steps (claudication rehabilitation), Diabetes
Health Steps (diabetes care) and Move
(cancer rehabilitation). 
MedEx applies a novel approach to exercise-based rehabilitation.  Its long term aim is to develop research
activity alongside each programme. 


exercise-based rehabilitation has been shown to improve quality of life,
cardiorespiratory fitness, physical functioning and fatigue experience in
cancer patients and survivors1,2
However, findings have indicated that future research needs to pay
greater attention to issues of motivation and adherence in patients
participating in exercise programmes3.  The Irish Cancer Society in conjunction with
MedEx is offering a unique PhD research opportunity to a suitably qualified
candidate.   This research studentship will
involve an exploration and detailed analysis of stakeholder (patient, health
professional and service provider)  experiences of referral to, and engagement
with, Move On.  Over a four year period a
number of studies will be crafted to i) ascertain the factors that influence stakeholder
engagement with Move On; ii) collaborate with stakeholders to develop an
intervention to enhance the patient experiences of Move On; iii) conduct a
6-month pilot study to determine the efficacy of the intervention on behaviour
change, physical health and self-management capacity of cancer patients and iv)
post intervention to refine the intervention content, delivery preferences,
recruitment and retention strategies and to determine most feasible primary
outcome measures for a definitive randomised control trial.


DCU, we are committed to the all round academic and professional development of
our students.  The successful candidate
would become part of the MedEx Research Cluster, a dynamic multi-disciplinary
team within the Centre of Preventive Medicine. 
As such, you would have the full support and access to the resources and
postgraduate laboratories within the School of Health and Human Performance (SHHP)
and the School of Nursing and Human Sciences (SNHS).  The expectation would be that you would
complete a PhD research qualification, including specific postgraduate modules,
over a four year timeframe.  During this
time you will be trained in both qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (questionnaire,
accelerometry and physical health measures) research methods.  You will be given the opportunity to contribute
to undergraduate modules. This will be agreed with your supervisor and managed
to ensure that it provides necessary continuing professional development
alongside the opportunity to meet your research requirements. 



Margaret L.
, Kristin L.
, Brian H. Rowe, Terry P.
,John R.
, Kerry S.
Effects of exercise on breast cancer patients and
survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ July 4, 2006 vol. 175 no. 1 doi: 10.1503/cmaj.051073


Kathryn H.
, Jeremy
,  Kerry S.
, Louise C.
, Sue Duval and Robert Kane.
Controlled Physical Activity Trials in Cancer
Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Cancer epidemiology,
biomarkers and prevention 2005;14:1588-1595.


Ruud Knols, Neil K.
, Daniel
, Jaap Fransen and Geert
Exercise in Cancer Patients During and After Medical Treatment: A Systematic
Review of Randomized and Controlled Clinical Trials. JCO Jun 1, 2005:38303842

Candidate’s Qualifications (who should apply)

The studentship will cover annual
postgraduate fees (€5500) and a stipend (€18,000 per annum).  Successful applicants will normally have a
postgraduate qualification or an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in physical activity
and health, psychology, sport science and health or a cognate area.  Experience of teaching group fitness
instruction is welcome, and evidence of project management and scientific report
writing would be an advantage.  Additional
professional qualifications, such as an industry standard in health and fitness
instruction (REPS or equivalent) would be welcome.  You would need to be able to demonstrate your
ability to work independently with support of a teaching or research supervisor
and the enthusiasm to contribute to a stimulating research and teaching environment. 

How to Apply


should be directed in the first instance to: Dr. Catherine Woods, School of
Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland.  Tel: 00353-1-7008008; Email: [email protected]  or
Dr. Noel McCaffrey, MedEx Director, DCU, Tel: 00353-1-7007387; Email: [email protected] or Dr. Sinead Smyth, School of Nursing
and Human Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland.  Tel: 00353-1-7007422; Email: [email protected]


For further
information on the Irish Cancer Society, contact  Mr. Donal Buggy, Head of Services, Irish
Cancer Society, 43/45 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel:
00353-1-2310582; Email: [email protected]
or visit:


Please send a CV (full curriculum vitae with
referee details) with a personal statement outlining why you would like to pursue this research opportunity and
what you think you could contribute to this study, to Dr. Catherine Woods (via
email to address above).  Closing date
for receipt of application is 5th January 2015.  Short-listed applicants will be required
to attend an interview in DCU (January 19th, 2015).