The Nutrition Innovation Centre for food and HEalth (NICHE) is a centre of excellence, set up to provide greater understanding of diet related health issues. NICHE is now amongst the largest university based nutrition research units in Europe and comprises 40 academic staff (academic, research, technical and support staff) and 35 postgraduate research students. Researchers in NICHE are located within the Centre for Molecular Biosciences (which focuses on degenerative diseases, especially their interaction with nutritional factors) as well as multidisciplinary research in more fundamental areas such as Cancer and Ageing, Biomedical Genomics, Stem Cells and Epigenetics and Systems Biology.
NICHE has attracted a research income of over £50 million in the past 30 years from national and international sources. It has been the top-ranked university centre for human nutrition in the UK since the mid-1990s, as evidenced by our high performance in all UK-wide research assessment exercises (RAE) to date. In the most recently published Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), the research environment was awarded an unprecedented 100% 4* (world-leading), 95% of our research impact was scored world leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) and 81% of research published papers were judged to be world leading and internationally excellent (4* and 3*).
NICHE resources include a state-of-the-art Human Intervention Studies Unit (HISU), which houses cutting-edge equipment and specialised facilities for metabolic studies, allowing highly controlled human studies to be performed. The emphasis on diet and chronic diseases of ageing led to the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Nutrition and Ageing (CENA) within NICHE. A bespoke Nutrition and Vascular Studies Laboratory enables significant strengths and capability in vascular health research offering significant potential to cater for the high levels of demand for clinical trials in this area. Additional facilities and infrastructure include a Mass Spectrometry Suite with Chromatography (HPLC, GC) and Mass Spectrometry equipment.
Equipment is also available for assessment of routine clinical assessments, including an iLab and Daytona RX clinical chemistry analysers and a Category II laboratory for blood sampling and analysis. Furthermore, NICHE has a reputation for the undertaking and monitoring of dietary assessment projects including previous international research in developing and third world countries as well as North/South collaborative projects in Ireland examining dietary intake and patterns in children and adults.
NICHE is internationally renowned for its impactful and translational research in the following research themes:
- Folate and B Vitamins in Health & Disease
- Food Microbiology
- Phytochemicals & Gut Microbiome
- Nutrition, Toxicology & Child Development
- Obesity, Energy Balance and Food Choice
- Nutritional Immunology
- Vitamin D in Health and Disease
- Agri-food science
- Marine Bioactives in Health & Disease
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
Additional information for International applicants may be found here.
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found here.
Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.
Fees and funding
Details of tuition fees can be found under the fees schedule for the academic year of entry.
To work out for which fees you would be eligible and to find out more information about potential sources of funding, please view the Fees and Funding pages on the Doctoral College website.
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies. Full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application, is available here.
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.
My experience has been great and the people that I have worked with have been amazing
Kieran O'Donnell - 3D printing of biological cells for tissue engineering applicationsWatch Video
Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.
Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health SciencesWatch Video
Throughout my PhD I’ve been provided with continuous support and guidance by my supervisors and the staff at the University.I’ve also received many opportunities to further enhance my professional development in the form of teaching experience and presenting my work at conferences which will aid in my pursuit of a career in academia or industry.
- Dr Philip Allsopp
- Professor James Dooley
- Professor Alison Gallagher
- Dr Chris Gill
- Dr Alyson Hill
- Dr Leane Hoey
- Dr Maeve Kerr
- Dr Caomhan Logue
- Dr Pamela Magee
- Dr Liadhan McAnena
- Dr Mary McCann
- Dr Emeir McSorley
- Professor Christopher Mitchell
- Dr Maria Mulhern
- Dr Patrick Naughton
- Dr Violetta Naughton
- Professor Kristina Pentieva
- Dr Kirsty Pourshahidi
- Dr Ruth Price
- Dr Poonam Singh - Nee Nigam
- Dr Nigel Ternan
- Dr Paul Thompson
- Professor Mary Ward