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Home » News » HRCI Blog, News & Media

Blog posts, updates and HRCI in the media

HRCI blogs posts are mainly written by CEO, Dr Avril Kennan, with occasional guest posts by invited collaborators. You will also find links to news articles and radio appearances featuring HRCI in this section.

HRCI HRB Joint Funding Scheme update

It’s been a very busy period for the Joint Funding Scheme as the charities entered the final stages of the application process.  Supported by monthly Q&A sessions and one-to-one assistance where needed, the charities completed the peer review and applicant response phases in February and submitted their chosen applications to the HRB from the end of February to the end of March (a total of 21 eligible applications were ultimately received by the HRB). Meanwhile, eight PPI reviewers were recruited to the JFS Joint Selection Panel: four via HRCI and four via the HRB.

In April and May, we collaborated with the HRB to provide training for all the PPI reviewers, to brief the scientific panel (these are 7 international scientific experts who reviewed applications for scientific quality and design), and to brief the Chair of the Joint Selection Panel. We emphasised the extent of the work put in by charities to the application before this point, and the need for reviewers to appreciate and respect charities’ contribution as co-funders of the applications.

Finally, on the 28th and 29th of May, the Joint Selection Panel meeting was held, at which all applications underwent scientific and PPI review.  Importantly, the PPI reviews applied a rating correction factor to the scientific score which had a significant impact on the fundability of applications.  Of the 21 applications discussed at this meeting, 11 projects were approved for funding (subject to HRB Board approval) and 1 project was placed on the reserve list.

The next steps involve the HRB submitting the list of funded projects to the HRB Board for approval at the end of June, after which outcome letters will be sent to all Principal Investigators.  Contracts for successful projects will be issued in September/October this year.

Press Release: Patients and society losing out through lack of investment in health research

Patients and society losing out through lack of investment in health research

Irish Health Research Forum 10th anniversary event highlights the need for investment in research in the health system

The health system is failing the Irish public by not enabling research as part of healthcare, according to leaders in health research gathered in Dublin today (16th May) to mark the tenth anniversary of the Irish Health Research Forum. Embedding research in health services ensures patients receive the latest evidence-based care, attracts investment in clinical trials, results in more fulfilled healthcare staff, and delivers societal and economic benefits, attendees were told.

Under the stewardship of Health Research Charities Ireland, the Irish Health Research Forum regularly convenes all stakeholders to tackle pressing issues for health research. A consistent and resounding plea from attendees over many years has been for increased capital expenditure in research infrastructure. Despite this repeated call for action, Government investment in R&D at just 0.29% of GDP, is hugely below the EU average of 0.71%, impeding Ireland’s ability to conduct world-class health research.

Dr Avril Kennan, CEO of HRCI, emphasised the importance of viewing research funding not as a cost, but as an investment with far-reaching benefits for the health and well-being of the Irish public and for the economy. “While Ireland boasts exceptional talent in the research community, the lack of adequate support from the state hampers our ability to drive quality research initiatives and prevents many healthcare staff from getting involved in research,” she remarked.

The Chair of the Irish Health Research Forum, Professor Mark White, stated “Today is a milestone for the Irish Health Research Forum and for the entire Irish Health Research community. We now have 10 years’ worth of valuable, consensus-based, system-centred reports and recommendations highlighting the difficulties of embedding research into the health ecosystem but also suggesting innovative solutions. We can do this forever; however, the health system and the government have got to rapidly shift from listening to actioning if we are not to fall further behind the rest of Europe.”

For a decade, the Irish Health Research Forum has been a catalyst for positive change and advancement in health research throughout Ireland. The recommendations it produces repeatedly highlight that investment is needed in many health research supports, including patient registries, biobanks, research ethics committees, and patient and public involvement initiatives. In conjunction with the 10th anniversary event, a special report titled “Celebrating 10 Years of the Irish Health Research Forum” has been released ( It delves into the transformative journey of health research in Ireland over the past decade, encapsulating key themes derived from previous Forum recommendations. It will set the stage for today’s discussions among national leaders in health research at the Aisling Hotel in Dublin, as they reflect on past achievements and chart a course toward addressing urgent priorities.



For more information, visit:


Linda McGrath

Events & Communications Manager

Health Research Charities Ireland – HRCI

A fond farewell to outgoing HRCI Chair, Suzanne McCormack

Today, we want to take a moment to give thanks to Suzanne McCormack, who after almost 6 years, is stepping down as Chairperson of Health Research Charities Ireland (HRCI). Her experience and leadership have been invaluable to us, both in her role as Board Chair and prior to that, during her tenure as the Chair of the HRCI Advocacy and Communications Committee.

While Suzanne’s contributions might have often been behind the scenes, their impact has been undeniable. She’s been a constant source of wisdom, support, and reliability, always there when we needed her the most. It’s impossible to fully express our gratitude for everything she’s done for HRCI.

As Suzanne embarks on a new journey as the Network Manager for the Rare Disease Clinical Trial Network, we want to wish her the best of luck in her endeavors. We’re thrilled that we’ll still have the opportunity to work with her in this new capacity, and we know she’ll continue to excel in her efforts to make a difference.

Suzanne, thank you for your unwavering dedication and commitment to HRCI. You’ve made a huge mark on our organisation, and we’re incredibly grateful for everything you’ve done.

Here’s to your continued success!

We’re Hiring!

Patient and Public Involvement Liaison Officer with the Rare Disease Clinical Trial Network

The RDCTN is a patient-oriented research network based within the University College Dublin (UCD) Clinical Research Centre, which aims to increase the quantity and quality of rare disease clinical trials in Ireland. The PPI Liaison role is the first position of its kind here due to its collaboration between Health Research Charities Ireland (HRCI) and UCD.

Applications are invited for this temporary post within the UCD School of Medicine.
Click on Search jobs for external applicants and insert Ref no – 016568

Click here to apply or scroll down for further info


IMT article on evidence-informed healthcare

Photo Martina Regan

It’s always a pleasure to see the recommendations contained in our Position Papers, highlighted in the media. Below is a snippet of a recent article in the Irish Medical Times.

Recent times have seen a growing shift in emphasis towards evidence-informed healthcare, driven primarily by the expectations of funders, policymakers, and the public. For example, in Ireland the Department of Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science have recently launched an open consultation with researchers to maximise the impact of research in policy development.

Establishing research support functions within the health service has also been identified as a key recommendation by Health Research Charities Ireland in their recent 2023 position paper to enable more effective and efficient healthcare for their members – approximately 40 charities active in health, medical and social care research, together representing over one million people in Ireland.

However, despite the apparent appetite, evidence-based healthcare is still not happening, with the ‘60-30-10’ challenge commonly cited. Specifically, international research suggests that approximately 60 per cent of healthcare is in line with evidence- or consensus-based guidelines, 30 per cent is wasteful or of low value, and 10 per cent is harmful.

Read the full article here 

Dr Siobhán Hendrick (PhD), Patient and Public Involvement Liaison with the Rare Disease Clinical Trial Network, speaks to Niamh Cahill about patient engagement in research activities in the area of rare diseases.

The RDCTN is a patient-oriented research network based within the University College Dublin (UCD) Clinical Research Centre, which aims to increase the quantity and quality of rare disease clinical trials in Ireland. The PPI Liaison role is the first position of its kind here due to its collaboration between Health Research Charities Ireland (HRCI) and UCD.

Read the full article here

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