HSE – Obesity Funding Bursary

Masters by Research

Evaluation of the Green Prescription Programme in Donegal

Student Bursary

Project Description

The Green Prescription is a health improvement programme which involves a General Practitioner or an allied health professional prescribing exercise in the outdoor environment which aims to both prevent and tackle obesity among all age groups and groups across the social  gradient. It is different from the GP exercise referral scheme in that the exercise prescribed takes place in the natural environment.  The programme is being piloted in communities in County Donegal and is being  funded by the HSE’s National Obesity Taskforce. The focus of this research is the evaluation of this new model of a structured green prescription programme.

Aim of the research

To assess the feasibility, acceptability and impact on participants of a pilot green prescription programme.

Objectives of the Research

  • ·         To review the literature on exercise and physical activity prescription and on the promotion of physical activity using a community development approach and to make recommendations as appropriate to the Green Prescription programme.
  • ·         To establish systems for monitoring the impact of the programme on individual’s physical activity levels, physical inactivity levels, stages of physical activity adoption, mental health, quality of life.
  • ·         To establish measures for monitoring the impact of the programme on the health of the community and community capacity.
  • ·         To explore the attitudes of all stakeholders to the programme and to ascertain their views on the development of the programme
  • ·         To identify what effect the progamme has had on referred clients; the community; primary health care practice in relation to physical activity and to examine how the programme has been delivered and how it has used its resources.
  • ·         To assess the cost of the programme and to compare this with the impact of the programme on individuals and communities.
  • ·         To make recommendations on the future development of the Green Prescription programme within the primary care system in the Health Service Executive.
  • ·         To conduct the research in an ethical manner which is inclusive of all stakeholders. 

Outputs of the research

  • The student will produce regular reports to the HSE on the progress of the research.
  • This will include preliminary findings and oral and written presentations to meetings and conferences.
  • The student will produce a final report of findings in September 2013.
  • Applicants for the position should hold an Honours degree (level 8) in discipline related to health and/or physical activity.
  • The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic self-starter with a capacity to work well on his/her own initiative, as well as working as part of a small team.  The candidate will also be expected to contribute to the organic growth of the Green Prescription programme.
  • Ideally experience in both quantitative and qualitative methodology.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with a range of stakeholders including patients, community members, General Practitioners, Health Service Executive personnel.
  • Good planning and time management skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • The research involves investigation that crosses many disciplines, so a demonstrated ability to work in such an environment would be an advantage. These include public health, health promotion, community development, exercise science, health policy and health economics.

Profile of Student

Funding- It is anticipated that there will be a bursary of €8,000 per year over two years for this research masters.  Limited out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.

For details of fees for postgraduate studies please contact the Admissions Office.

There may be potential to transfer to a Doctoral Programme and the student is free to apply to other funders for this purpose.

Starting Date: The expected starting date for commencement of this Research Masters Programme is January 2012.

Application Process

  • Potential Students are required to submit their CV and letter of application clearly describing why they wish to pursue this course of study.
  • Shortlisting may apply and potential students will be interviewed on Wednesday 7th of December.
  • The selected student must then complete the application process for postgraduate research which has to be approved by the Research Office.
  • Applicants can be submitted by email or post. The closing date is Friday 2nd December at 5pm.  

Applications to be submitted to

Máire Mc Callion


Institute of Technology, Sligo

Ash Lane


Tel 071 9155222 (ext 7247)

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