Evidence Synthesis Ireland invites Supervisors based in the National University of Ireland Galway to submit an abstract for a proposed research study suitable for an undergraduate student to complete in the Summer of 2019. Approved abstracts are eligible for funding, subject to securing an interested student, which is the responsibility of the individual Supervisors. The proposed project(s) MUST consist of research related to evidence synthesis design, conduct, reporting or knowledge translation as well as primary evidence synthesis methodology questions. Opening Date: 24th April 2019   Closing Date: 12th May 2019

Please Note: In 2019, Summer Studentships are open only to Supervisors and students based in NUI Galway

The purpose of the student scholarships is to build evidence synthesis knowledge, awareness and experience among undergraduate students by working on a relevant project related to evidence synthesis design, conduct, reporting or knowledge translation including methodology questions.

Submitted project abstracts will be subject to peer-review. The highest-ranking abstracts will receive studentship-funding equating to €2000 over a period of 8 weeks. Selection of the student is the responsibility of the individual Supervisors. To assist with the identification of students, successful abstracts will be listed on the ESI website. Interested students should review the abstracts and contact the nominated Supervisors as listed on each abstract. Students selected by the supervisor are then requested to complete an agreement form with help from the supervisor.

WHAT TYPES OF students are eligible to be selected by Supervisors?

Supervisors of successful abstracts will select an undergraduate student to work on the project. Students must:

  • Be registered and undertaking a full-time Bachelor’s degree in NUI Galway;
  • Have a PPS number and an Irish Bank Account

Student applicants must NOT:

  • Have previously conducted a PhD and/or MSc by research and/or a taught MSc with a significant research component;
  • Be registered in an intercalated degree course that has a research component such as research placements, MSc or PhD;

 WHAT is the value of the award?

€2,000 over eight weeks will be paid to the student on a monthly basis (monthly in two instalments). To receive payment, the student must complete an online scholarship application and a Revenue Student Scholarship Declaration Form and submit the latter to ESI before they start work on the project. Guidance on how to complete this application is available here: http://www.researchaccounts.ie/scholarship_application_process_students.pdf

With additional information here:


 WHEN is the DEADLINE for applications?

The deadline for abstract submissions by supervisors is May 12th 2019. 

HOW to apply?

Project supervisors should submit a project abstract, relevant to evidence synthesis methodology, dissemination or implementation, to ESI (esi@nuigalway.ie) by May 12th 2019 for peer-review and selection. The suggested abstract headings are:

  • Project title
  • School/Department
  • Project Supervisor Name
  • Project Supervisor Email Address
  • Project details (max 500 words)
  • Expected outputs/benefits for student (max 200 words)

Specifically include how this project will a) contribute to evidence synthesis design, conduct, reporting or knowledge translation, b) contribute to evidence synthesis methodology and c) build evidence synthesis knowledge, awareness and experience among undergraduate students.

Successful supervisors will be notified by May 20th 2019 after which supervisors can liaise with interested students, or advertise to identify and select a suitable student. To assist with the identification of suitable students, successful abstracts will be advertised on the ESI website. Interested students should review the proposed abstracts and contact the nominated Supervisors as listed on each abstract. The selected students are requested to complete a project agreement form, with help from a Supervisor. Completed project agreement forms and a revenue declaration form must be submitted to ESI before the student can commence.

Following completion of the summer studentship, the student will be asked to present their work at the annual ESI Symposium. The student will also be asked to complete a brief Report Form to outline the completed project and capture the main experiences and outputs around evidence synthesis knowledge, awareness and experience gained from the studentship.

ESI Summer Studentship Project 2019

Interested students are asked to contact the Project Supervisor as below:

Project title:                                                  A Scoping Review of Occupational therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

School/Department:                                   Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences

Project Supervisor Name:                          Dr Sinéad Hynes

Project Supervisor Email Address:           Sinead.hynes@nuigalway.ie


Project details (max 500 words)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has an average age at onset of 30 years (1), an unpredictable course, and can impact wide-ranging occupations from childcare and work to social and self-care activities (2). Evidence for the effectiveness of OT for people with MS has yet to be established (3). The only Cochrane review on the topic could make no conclusion as to whether or not occupational therapy for people with MS was effective- at the time of publication the authors were only able to find one randomised controlled trial (RCT; 3). Given the limited number of RCTs that were available on the topic it may be more beneficial to using a scoping approach to reviewing and synthesising evidence in the area.


The objective of this review is to provide a holistic view of the impact of occupational therapy intervention on people with multiple sclerosis – taking into consideration its effect on quality of life, cognition, work status, occupational performance and occupational participation.

The research question guiding the review will be: What is known from the existing literature about the effectiveness of occupational therapy intervention for people with multiple sclerosis?


A comprehensive scoping review of research studies focusing on OT for persons with MS will be completed by identifying and reviewing relevant literature. A scoping review is deemed the most appropriate method given:

  1. The need to include different study designs and address a broad topic (4)
  2. The time allocated to completing the review – the average time to complete a systematic review is estimated to be 67.3 weeks (5)
  3. The resources available – systematic reviews generally involve a team of 5-7 people (5)

Arksey and O’Malley (4) methodological framework will be used to guide the review. This consists of five stages:

  • Stage 1: identifying the research question
  • Stage 2: identifying relevant studies
  • Stage 3: study selection
  • Stage 4: charting the data
  • Stage 5: collating, summarizing and reporting the results


As recommended (4), we will maintain a wide approach to searching in order to generate breadth of coverage.  An open-dated search of articles will be conducted using a combination of search terms to be decided on. No search limits will be set in order to minimise the chances of missing articles that have not yet been indexed. Articles will be included if they meet the eligibility criteria that will be determined following search and in consultation with the student and supervisor but the review will be limited to papers in English that focus on a population with multiple sclerosis.

This review will contribute to evidence synthesis methodology in the area of scoping reviews. It will document the process of completing a scoping review within the given timeframe of eight weeks- the reporting of scoping review methods has been limited to date (6). The outcome of this review is also important for occupational therapists and for the MS community: the results of this study may help therapists to make a more precise therapeutic choice for their patients. The scoping review will also provide context to the results that are found in the review.


Expected outputs/benefits for student (max 200 words)

This studentship will provide the student with key research skills that will be essential to both their current studies and future practice. The students will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience of synthesising evidence. They will build their knowledge base around searching for evidence, classifying and critiquing research, and have a deeper understanding of the importance of evidence synthesis in healthcare. The student will also have the opportunity to raise awareness of evidence synthesis through presenting at the ESI conference as well as disseminating research results through social media and professional networks. The student may also have the opportunity to write the results of the review for publication. These are important learning opportunities that would not otherwise be available in this format- having support and supervision throughout the process.

Having the skills to carry out reviews in the future would also be beneficial to growing the evidence base in the area of multiple sclerosis. This studentship would be career developing as the skills gained are transferable to a variety of different health care conditions and interventions. Scoping reviews can be a way to assess research need in the future, where existing reviews are not already available.



  1. Barten, L. J., Allington, D. R., Procacci, K. A., & Rivey, M. P. (2010). New approaches in the management of multiple sclerosis. Drug design, development and therapy, 4, 343.
  2. Finlayson, M., Impey, M. W., Nicolle, C., & Edwards, J. (1998). Self-care, productivity and leisure limitations of people with multiple sclerosis in Manitoba. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(5), 299-308.
  3. Steultjens EEMJ, Dekker JJ, Bouter LM, Cardol MM, Van den Ende ECHM, van de Nes J. (2003). Occupational therapy for multiple sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 3. Art. No.: CD003608. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003608
  4. Arksey, H., & O’Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International journal of social research methodology8(1), 19-32.
  5. Borah, R., Brown, A. W., Capers, P. L., & Kaiser, K. A. (2017). Analysis of the time and workers needed to conduct systematic reviews of medical interventions using data from the PROSPERO registry. BMJ open, 7(2), e012545.
  6. Tricco, A. C., Antony, J., Zarin, W., Strifler, L., Ghassemi, M., Ivory, J., … & Straus, S. E. (2015). A scoping review of rapid review methods. BMC medicine, 13(1), 224.

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