The mission of the Naughton Graduate Student Exchange Program is to enable strong Ph.D. students to experience an international education in the leading universities of Ireland and the University of Notre Dame. The program facilitates broad cross-cultural training for exceptional doctoral students with leadership potential in mutually enriching fields, collaborative research among the engineers and scientists who train them, and deeper and stronger ties between the host institutions and countries.


Students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D. through the Naughton Fellowship program's cross-cultural exchange should contact their advisor at their home university. Proposals for Ph.D. study will be accepted by named pairs of advisors, with one advisor based in Ireland and the other at Notre Dame. 

Two fellowships, one for a Notre Dame student and one for an Irish student will be awarded.

For incoming or current first year Ph.D. students selected for Naughton Fellowships, a total amount of $120,000 USD will be provided to the faculty advisor for the student’s full period of study. This amount may be used by the faculty member as needed to support the student and his/her project, with the proviso that the student’s annual stipend be adjusted with these funds to that of the prestigious fellowships offered by the home institution (e.g., at Notre Dame this amount would be $32,500 USD per annum). In addition, travel and relocation expenses to the host country should be covered with the fellowship dollars. Naughton funds can be used for required tuition costs but not for institutional indirect costs.

Note: it is the intention of the Naughton Graduate Fellowship Program that these fellowships should be used to recruit outstanding new students. However, currently enrolled first year students may also be considered, if a convincing case is made in the proposal. Such students must meet the student qualifications described below.

Faculty and Collaborative Research Expecations

The fellowships will support collaborative research at highest level of excellence in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as cognitive science. The Naughton Fellowships seek proposals from named pairs of faculty members, one from Notre Dame and the other from one of the following Irish universities:

  • Dublin City University (DCU)
  • National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)
  • Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
  • University College Cork (UCC)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)

These faculty will serve as co-advisors to a Naughton Fellow who would carry out research leading to a Ph.D. degree in a STEM field.The student would be expected to spend significant time (e.g., one to two years) at the host institution. It is expected that these faculty co-advisors would form a collaborative team, each member utilizing resources provided by his/her co-investigator at the host institution, that are not available at the home institution. Examples of such resources might be laboratory equipment, computational facilities, or other faculty expertise. The proposal needs to make clear why this pair of co-advisors and their respective laboratories and programs form a synergistic partnership that is advantageous to both the faculty co-advisors and their student(s).

On an annual basis the Naughton Fellowship will be awarded to one student from Notre Dame and one student from a participating Irish university, who are full-time graduate students in upcoming autumn semester in their first or second year, although funds may be expended at any time during the graduate students tenure in the program.

Student Qualifications

The Naughton Fellowships seek incoming or current first year graduate students who have breadth of vision and experience in addition to outstanding achievement in their chosen technical area. Naughton Fellows are expected to serve as ambassadors for both universities and both countries, preparing for a life of leadership and service grounded in their technical accomplishments through the vehicle of this program.

These students are expected to spend one to two years of their Ph.D. study at the host institution, while obtaining the degree from their home institution, benefiting from the cultural experience of studying both in Ireland and the United States. The students should be able to benefit from the cross-cultural experience of this unique doctoral program and provide those that follow with insight and enrichment. Rather than adding to the student’s time to degree and providing other distractions, the intention of this program is that the Naughton Fellowships should be prestigious experiences creating unparalleled opportunities for challenging and rewarding careers.

Proposal Details

The proposal should address the following items:

1. A cover sheet with the names and contact information of the co-advisors from Notre Dame and the participating Irish university, proposed project title, and 100 word abstract. A two-page NSF/SFI-style CV with a brief description of the qualifications of each co-advisor should be attached to the proposal as an appendix. Neither the cover sheet nor the appendix will count against the two-page proposal limit.

2. A two-page description of the research plan should briefly describe the synergy anticipated for the proposed research program (i.e. why is the whole greater than the sum of the parts?). This could include a description of the laboratory facilities or other research tools, if any are uniquely provided by each co-advisor and not otherwise available to the partner.

3. An anticipated time schedule that the Naughton Fellow would spend in both the home country and the host country should be included. If the collaboration will be nominating both an Irish university-based candidate and a Notre Dame candidate, please describe two alternative scenarios for this one research program: (i) how a Notre Dame student would spend time at the Irish university; and (ii) how the Irish student would spend time at Notre Dame.

4. A brief description of the communication plans between the co-advisors for development of the research should be included.

5. A draft budget should be included that provides a plan for use of the funds to support the time spent overseas and travel/relocation expenses for the student. For travel between Ireland and the United States, indicate how the travel costs would be financed. Funds will not be provided by the Naughton Fellowship explicitly for faculty foreign travel, only for the Naughton Fellow.

6. Student Nominee Information: For each nominee, the information should include:

  • Student nominee resume
  • Personal statement of interest in the Naughton Fellowship (written by the student)
  • Student transcript (undergraduate and graduate, if applicable)
  • Two letters of recommendation from appropriate references
  • GRE scores, if applicable


This program is currently closed for applications. Please check back again in the autumn, when updated deadlines will be announced. Applications are typically due in late winter of the same year that the program begins.

Once open, final proposals should be submitted to the Steering Committee Facilitator by the deadline.

Two students will be funded, one Notre Dame student and a student from one of the Irish participating institutions. Notice will be provided to the co-advisors prior to graduate office admission deadlines, as appropriate to ensure that the program funds can be used to recruit the selected student to Notre Dame and the Irish university. For incoming candidates, admissions of students at each institution will be subject to the usual department, college, and university requirements at the host institution.


For questions about the PhD program, either at Notre Dame or in Ireland, please contact