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Home » The IHRF » IHRF Steering Group loonnng version

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IHRF Steering Group

The IHRF is led by a Steering Group comprising representatives of various participating organisations including the Irish Research Nurses Network, Mater Hospital, Institute of Public Health, Irish Research Staff Association, HRB-CRCI, Irish Research Council and researchers. The Health Research Board attend Steering Group meetings as observers. 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 management and funding of Irish Health Research Forum is provided by the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG)

Professor Brendan Buckley

Chairperson, Irish Health Research Forum Steering Group. Honorary Clinical/Adjunct Professor at UCC and UCD

Prof Brendan Buckley has over 30 years’ experience in the medical sector. Brendan was CMO of ICON from 2011 until his retirement earlier this year, having joined ICON through the acquisition of Firecrest Clinical in 2011, where he was one of the founders of the company and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs. Brendan has extensive experience in clinical trials and chairs several independent Data and Safety Monitoring Boards for medium to large cardio-metabolic and rare disease clinical studies. Brendan is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the School of Medicine, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, and has also been director of the university’s European Center for Clinical Trials in Rare Diseases.

He has been a board member of the Irish Medicines Board and of the European Medical Agency (EMA)’s Scientific Advisory Group for Diabetes and Endocrinology since 2005. He was also a member of the EMA Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products from 2000-2003 and a member of the EMA’s panel of experts. Professor Buckley is also chairman of the Irish Statutory Anti-Doping Agency and is a member of the UK Anti-Doping Scientific Advisory Board. Brendan have been a board member of Breakthrough Cancer Research since 2011 and has recently taken up the position of Chairperson of Fighting Blindness.

Dr. Avril Kennan

Chief Executive Officer, Health Research Charities Ireland

Dr Avril Kennan has a PhD in genetics and many years subsequent lab experience working on human genetic conditions. She moved from the lab in 2007 to become a patient advocate with DEBRA Ireland. In her role there, as Head of Research and Advocacy, she led a number of international initiatives including the development of evidence-based clinical guidelines and an international patient registry.

Dr Kennan has sat on many Boards and Committees, including the DEBRA International Executive Committee and the Rare Diseases Ireland Board. In her role as CEO of the MRCG she is passionate about supporting medical research charities and promoting their role in society. She was one of the founders of the Irish Health Research Forum. 

Suzanne McCormack

CEO, Irish Thoracic Society and Chair, Medical Research Charities Group

Suzanne is CEO of the Irish Thoracic Society (ITS), the national organisation representing respiratory healthcare professionals on the island of Ireland. Since joining the ITS in 2006, Suzanne has developed the Society’s work in leading and advancing the care of people with respiratory disease through advocacy, research and education. Suzanne previously chaired the MRCG Advocacy and Communications Group, is a Board Member of COPD Support Ireland and co-founded the Irish Lung Health Alliance. She took on the role of Chairperson of the Medical Research Charities Group in 2019.

Prof Kevin Balanda

Director of Research and Information, The Institute of Public Health Ireland

Kevin has a PhD in pure mathematics and a MSc (Research) in statistics from the University of Queensland, Australia.  He is currently Director of Research and Information at the Institute of Public Health in Ireland and adjunct Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health, UCC.

Kevin has accumulated over thirty years’ experience in applied public health and health services research in the academic, government and semi-government sectors. His research interests span several areas of applied research including epidemiology and population health surveillance, intervention research and knowledge mobilsation. He has a particular focus on societal efforts, at the individual and population level, to improve population health by addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequalities.

Head of Research and Development, HSE

Dr Ana Terres

Head of Research and Development, HSE

Ana Terres was appointed as Assistant National Director to the HSE in November 2017 to lead Research and Development function of the organisation, and to oversee the HSE health intelligence unit and National Health library and Knowledge services. The objective of the R&D function is to develop a framework for governance, support and strategic direction for health research, to enable and grow the research activity within the health service. This function also aims to foster the translation of research into policy and practice in order to improve the quality of the health service and the health of the population.

Before moving to the HSE, she was Director of Research Support at Dublin City University. She worked with the Vice-President for R&I in the development and implementation of DCU’s research strategy and she was responsible for overseeing the operations of several units involved in supporting the various stages of the research life cycle.Ana graduated with a BSc in Biology and holds an MSc and a PhD from the University Complutense of Madrid. She was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to do research on Helicobacter pylori pathogenesis at TCD and St. James Hospital; where she worked for a number of years before moving into research management.

Administration Officer

Clodagh O'Donovan

Administration Officer

Clodagh has an MSc in Multimedia Systems and has an extensive background in television, film and interactive digital media. Following this, she worked in the voluntary and charity sectors for many years, working on everything from event management and communications to fundraising and ensuring good governance. Clodagh joined MRCG in July 2018 and will be looking after general administration, along with helping to manage the Rare Disease Taskforce.

Interim Finance Manager

Mari McCafferty

Interim Finance Manager

Mari joined the MRCG in June 2018

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