The MRCG produced its first annual report in 2017 for the year ending 31st December 2016.
One of the last initiatives of President Obama’s administration in December 2016 was the passing of the ’21st Century Cures Act’ which committed $6.3 Billion to help fast forward new breakthroughs in health research including cancer and brain research and those living with a rare disease. President Obamas’ signature to this Bill was one of the final actions of his tenure in office and was part of an overall ambition that was likened to a ‘Cancer moonshot’.
There is huge commitment to health research, its ambitions and possibilities, in ireland. None more so than from the medical research charities that comprise the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG). 2016 and preceding years may well be viewed as a turning point for health research in ireland. During that period MRCG continued to fight for health research, even though front line services were inevitably the focus for Government.
The MRCG played a key role in:
- investing in health research through joint funding between MRCG members and the Health Research Board
- instigating and supporting the highly regarded Irish Health Research Forum (IHRF)
- lobbying for a supportive research policy in Ireland – based on the findings of the IHRF ‘Hannigan Report’
- providing the first real coherent focus on Patient and Public involvement in health research and other dimensions of health policy
- supporting the implementation of the National Rare Disease Plan
- promoting greater access to new and innovative medicines and improving clinical genetic services
- bringing a new focus on a wide range of health research issues including reform of career structures in health research and the central role of patient registries
This work would not have been possible without the contribution of key stakeholders including the Department of Health, in particular Minister Simon Harris TD and Minister of state, John Halligan TD; the HSE; the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Rare Disease Taskforce which also includes our colleagues in IPPOSI and Rare Disease Ireland.
As we approach 2018, I give my sincere thanks to Dr Avril Kennan, recently appointed CEO of MRCG and her excellent team of Marie Downes, Linda McGrath and Michelle Gardner and previously Grace Cappock. Many thanks to the wonderful Board of MRCG including the chairs of sub groups who help ensure the MRCG remains a collegiate and friendly organisation.