Go back

€11m clinical research package announced

The Health Research Board is to spend €11 million in support of clinical research activity in Irish hospitals.

Details of the investment and the 11 research projects it will support were announced by the board on 26 September. Clinical areas covered include mental health, cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, obesity and neonatal care.

The funding will allow clinician scientists to pursue research issues that arise while treating patients. Research discoveries can then be translated back into better treatments for patients, the board said.

The funding supports the consultant while away from practice, and also supports a replacement for the consultant in the clinic.

The Clinician Scientist Awards programme was part of the board’s “strategic aim” to develop a culture of research and innovation in the health services, said chief executive Enda Connolly.

Consultants would “conduct research on real-world solutions and apply them in practice”, he said. They would also serve as mentors to encourage research in clinical medicine.

Research was “central to driving innovation in health care”, said David Vaughan of the directorate of quality and clinical care in the Health Service Executive.

The funding supports consultants in hospitals in Cork, Dublin and Galway. One project will seek to develop blood-based biomarkers for those at increased risk of psychotic illness. Another will look at gene mutations that cause soft tissue malignancies in children.

A University College Dublin study will look at early heart dysfunction in patients with diabetes, while a study at University College Cork will develop quick ways of predicting whether newborn babies have experienced brain damage from lack of oxygen.