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Our Staff

CEO

Dr Avril Kennan

CEO

Avril is passionate about supporting charities to improve lives through research. As HRCI CEO, she oversees all the activities of the organisation including the HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme, the management of the Irish Health Research Forum and many activities relating supporting the HRCI members and patient and public involvement (PPI) in research.  Avril’s PhD and subsequent lab experience are in the field of molecular genetics. In previous roles in DEBRA Ireland and DEBRA International, she drove a range of international initiatives, including the management of a network of over 200 clinicians and patients to develop evidence-based clinical guidelines and the establishment of an international patient registry. She is a member of many national and international boards, steering groups and committees and is a frequent public speaker and blogger. Email: avril@hrci.ie

Operations Manager

Marie Downes

Operations Manager

Marie is primarily responsible for HRCI general operations including securing core funding, managing accounts, membership management and governance. Marie has a background in IT Project Management and has held management positions and led teams within Bank of Ireland Finance, EDS (now merged with HP) and AranTech (now acquired by Tektronix). Marie began working with HRCI in 2010 as the sole employee of the organisation. Email: marie@hrci.ie

Events and Communications Coordinator

Linda McGrath

Events and Communications Coordinator

In her role as Events and Communications Coordinator Linda manages all HRCI events of all sizes and all communications channels. As part of this she has responsibility for the biannual Irish Health Research Forum (IHRF) events, as well as the management of the IHRF Steering Group and the HRCI Events and Communications Committee. Linda has been working in the charity sector since 2012 and specialises in event management, sponsorship acquisition, public affairs and communications. She has previously worked with the Temple Street Foundation, Dublin Simon Community and Ruhama. Prior to moving into the not-for-profit sector, Linda worked in Arts Management. Email: linda@hrci.ie

Research Support Officer

Dr Sarah Delaney

Research Support Officer

In her role as Research Support Officer, Sarah is responsible for strengthening the research capacity of HRCI members, managing the HRCI/HRB Joint Funding Scheme, supporting patient and public (PPI) involvement in research and engaging with relevant bodies and organisations on all aspects of health research in Ireland. Sarah has many years’ research experience working in the field of health and social care for older people, family carers, and people with chronic illness.  She worked with the Royal College of Surgeons conducting research on public and patient participation in health care, and care and case management for older people.  Later, as Senior Research Consultant with the Work Research Centre, she gained valuable experience in research at National and European levels, focusing on evaluating health service users’ experiences of health technologies.  She was awarded a PhD on self-management in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in September 2020.  Email: sarah@hrci.ie

Link to Irish Government websiteLink to Pobal websiteLink to Health Research Board website