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Home » IHRF Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference for the Irish Health Research Forum:

A Single Voice for Research to Improve Health

1. Background

The Irish Health Research Forum (IHRF) is an independent Forum  established and supported by HRCI (formerly the MRCG) on foot of their major report “The Health Research Landscape in Ireland: What Researchers Say”[i] which was published in May 2014.

2. The Objectives, Scope and Approach of the Forum

The IHRF is a partnership that aims to influence health research in Ireland by uniting all organisations and stakeholders to work towards a consensus on initiatives which can drive a positive effect on health research, health care and, ultimately, the patients and public.

The Forum intends to do this by considering key health research issues, many of which have been identified in “The Health Research Landscape in Ireland: What Researchers Say”, identifying constructive solutions and seeking consensus at twice annual Forum meetings of Health Research stakeholders.

The overall approach of the Forum will be forward looking; constructive; evidence based; strategic and inclusive.

3. The role and membership criteria of the Forum

The Irish Health Research Forum will comprise of organisations and stakeholders that have an interest in health research in Ireland. Membership of the Forum shall be expansive in nature and drawn from a broad range of stakeholders, researchers, health professionals, funders, charities, enterprise etc., ensuring that it is broadly representative across the complete spectrum of the health research community and stakeholders.  These will be identified initially by the Steering Group but may be added to upon external request and with agreement of the Steering Group.

The Forum will provide a format where members can work together to seek consensus solutions on how key issues in health research can be addressed and to help influence positive improvements of the health research landscape.

4. The deliverables for the Forum

The Forum will identify constructive solutions and seek consensus at the Forum meetings, which will be held twice a year, dependent on resources. Outputs from the Forum meetings will be varied but may comprise of reports, white papers, grey literature etc..

5. The roles and responsibilities of the Steering Group members and Chairperson

The IHRF will be led by a Steering Group comprising representatives of various participating organisations drawn from across the spectrum of the Irish health research community and stakeholders. There should be no more than 18 members of the Steering Group.

The role of the Steering Group is to execute the work of the Forum, to identify topics and issues for consideration and prepare for the Forum meetings.

The Chairperson shall be appointed on for a two year term by agreement from amongst the members of the Steering Group.

Membership of the Steering Group should be for a two year term, with a review of membership in July 2016.

Membership of the Steering Group should also be flexible. Organisations may request  ‘observer’ status if required.

The Quorum for the Steering Group Meetings should be approximately half of the membership of the Steering Group.


a) IHRF Chairperson

  • Shall ensure that the members of the IHRF work together to influence health research in Ireland.

  • Chair the twice annual Forum meetings.

  • Chair the Steering Group Meetings of the Forum.

  • Define the themes of the twice annual Forum meetings.

  • Ensure membership of the Steering Group is representative.

  • Identify additional and appropriate members of the Steering Group.

c) IHRF Steering Group Members

  • Attend IHRF Steering Group meetings and input into the discussion.

  • Assist in identifying themes for the Forum to address.

  • Work to support the operation of the Forum meetings.

  • Actively participate in the development of appropriate documents, reports etc. to support the Forum, its deliberations and outcomes

d) Secretariat

  • Provide secretarial support to the Chair of the Forum to organise teleconferences and meetings.

  • Generate and disseminate agendas, meeting minutes, action points as required.

  • Provide support to the IHRF in the development of documents and materials to further the activities of the Forum, its deliberations and outcomes

  • Arrange twice annual Forum meetings.

6. The meeting schedule for the Forum and the Steering Group.

The Steering Group shall meet up to 6 times per year, as required.

7. The mechanism by which the Forum will be funded.

The Forum will be funded by Health Research Charities Ireland on an initial 2 year basis and further funding will be sought from other sources.

A review of this funding mechanism will take place in July 2016.

8. Communication Activities of the Forum.

A Forum website will be established. The Forum will also communicate with members through email and social media outlets.

[i] This was a study commissioned by HRCI (formerly MRCG)  to better understand  Ireland’s current health research funding landscape from the perspective of researchers. The report was prepared by Professor Bernie Hannigan, University of Ulster. A copy of the report can be found at

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