Dr Avril Kennan
Dr Avril Kennan serves as the CEO of Health Research Charities Ireland (HRCI), an organisation dedicated to supporting a thriving a community of more than 40 charities to engage in all aspects of health research, while also acting as their national advocate.
Under her leadership, HRCI runs the Irish Health Research Forum, bringing together all stakeholders to improve health research in Ireland. She also oversees HRCI’s management of the Joint Funding Scheme, in a partnership with the Health Research Board, which to date has funded 154 research projects aligned with the missions of HRCI’s member charities. Avril plays a leading role nationally in patient and public involvement (PPI), research impact, health data, research funding, genetics and genomics and rare diseases.
Avril’s academic background includes a PhD in genetics and subsequent years working as a molecular biologist. In previous roles in DEBRA Ireland and DEBRA International, she drove a range of patient-centric global initiatives. She’s a passionate advocate for the transformative power of research to improve lives.
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.
As Events and Communications Coordinator, Linda manages all HRCI events from workshops, meetings and webinars to the biannual Irish Health Research Forum and HRCI/HRB Joint Funding Scheme Celebrations. She is responsible for communications with all key stakeholders, including member charities, public representatives and media contacts. Linda manages the HRCI social media channels and coordinates the Irish Health Research Forum Steering Group and the HRCI Advocacy 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 a keen interest in diversity, equality and inclusion and has volunteered within the LGBTQIA+ community for many years, most recently as Co-Organiser of Q+, a social networking group of over 1000 queer people across Ireland. Before joining HRCI, Linda worked with the Temple Street Foundation, Dublin Simon Community and in Arts Management.
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Dr Sarah Delaney
In her role as Research Support Co-ordinator, 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.