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How Funding Decisions are made


HSC R&D Division offers various research funding schemes (listed under the funding opportunities section) which are developed in line with HSC R&D Strategy and endorsed by the R&D Strategic Advisory Group.


Funding is distributed in a transparent and accountable way through open competition. The process is intended to ensure the highest quality, relevance and focus of the research funded by HSC R&D Division.



Valid research funding applications are rigorously evaluated by independent peer review and funding panels, to ensure that HSC R&D Division achieves high standards of evaluation and uses its limited award budget to best effect, by funding only the most outstanding proposals.

Evaluation Panels are established to objectively assess, against predetermined criteria, each application through various stages of an evaluation process and to eventually agree and recommend a list of applications worthy of support to HSC R&D Division. 

HSC R&D Division will appoint a Chairperson for the Evaluation Panel, who could be the Director of HSC R&D or a person from outside Northern Ireland who has experience of judging research award schemes at a national (UK) level. The Chairperson does not exercise voting/scoring rights, but has the responsibility to ensure that the Evaluation Panel executes its duties with fairness, objectivity, accuracy and integrity. 

HSC R&D Division will appoint Panel Members for the Evaluation Panel. The composition of the Panel is dependent on the remit and scope of the funding scheme and will often include members from academic, clinical, scientific and social care backgrounds who are deemed to have expert knowledge of the topic area(s) as well as persons from a HSC policy and practice background. In addition, the Panel will always include active involvement of members of the public (PPI representatives).

In supporting the work of the Panel, funding applications will usually undergo an external peer review process using high quality referees at a national and international level. Referees are usually persons with academic, policy or clinical backgrounds who are deemed by HSC R&D Division to be topic experts in the area under consideration. Comments from the referees are shared with the Evaluation Panel who use them to guide the Panel in its discussions. 

Final decisions on which applications can be funded, from those deemed worthy of support by the Evaluation Panel, is made by HSC R&D Division, dependent on the budget available. This stage may also involve seeking advice from other sources.

Evaluation Panel Members

HSC R&D Division relies on the work of many people in reviewing and recommending applications for funding. In particular we are indebted to the hard work of the Evaluation Panels for our various funding schemes.

In order to recognise the people who have been involved in our decision making process we have listed below the members of HSC R&D Division Panels over the past 4-5 years.

In addition to these names there are a great many other people from around the world who have provided peer review of funding applications. Comments from high quality referees at a national and international level are shared with the Evaluation Panels who use them to guide the Panel in its discussions. HSC R&D Division is very much dependent on the goodwill of the wider research community to support it in this work.
Adamson Professor Gary University of Ulster
Agus Dr Ashley Northern Ireland Clinical Trials Unit
Andrews Professor June University of Stirling
Bach Dr Stephen King's College, London
Bacon Professor Liz The University of Greenwich
Bardsley Dr Martin Nuffield Trust, London
Barlow Professor James Imperial College Business School, London
Barlow Dr Tom Chief Scientist Office, Scotland
Barrington Dr Ruth Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre
Bauld Professor Linda University of Stirling
Bayer Professor Antony University Hospital Llandough, Cardiff
Bergin Dr Stephen Towerhill, Armagh
Blackwood Dr Bronagh Queen's University Belfast
Bradley Professor Judy Queen's University Belfast  (previously University of Ulster)
Brazil Professor Kevin Queen's University Belfast
Brownlee Dr David HSC Innovations
Buckingham Professor Julia[2] Brunel University, Uxbridge
Byrne Dr Anthony University Hospital Llandough, Cardiff
Cappuccio Professor Franco[6] University of Warick
Cardwell Dr Christopher Queen's University Belfast
Carson Ms Roz InvestNI, Belfast
Casson Dr Karen Ulster University
Cavanagh Dr Jonathan Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow
Champion Mr Chris University of Bristol
Clarke Ms Theresa PPI Representative
Clarke Professor Mike Queen's University Belfast
Coates Professor Vivien Ulster University
Coleman Dr Helen Queen's University Belfast
Connolly Dr Linda University College Cork
Coulter Dr Paul Patient Client Council
Courtney Dr Hamish Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Cotter Professor Finbarr Barts and the London School of Medicine
Coyle Professor Peter Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Coyle Dr Vicky Queen's University Belfast & Belfast HSC Trust
Craig Dr Avril Patient Client Council
Cummins Professor Steven [7] London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Cupples Professor Margaret Queen's University Belfast
Dempster Dr Martin Queen's University Belfast
Devaney Dr John Queens University Belfast
Donaghy Mr Sean Health and Social Care Board
Donnelly Dr Michael Queens University Belfast
Dooley Professor James Ulster University
Ennis Professor Madeleine Queens University Belfast
Fennell Professor Dean University of Leicester
Ferrett Mr Alan PPI Representative
Ferry Dr Finola University of Ulster
Fitzsimons Professor Donna University of Ulster
Gaitan-Sierra Dr Carolina Queen's University Belfast
Gibson Dr David University of Ulster
Gilbody Professor Simon University of York
Giles Professor Melanie Ulster University
Gillen Dr Patricia University of Ulster
Gilmore Professor William Ulster University
Glynn Dr Liam National University of Ireland, Galway
Goddard Professor Maria University of York
Gumley Professor Andrew University of Glasgow
Hammond Ms Corrina PPI Representative
Hanna Dr Donncha Queen's University Belfast
Hannigan Professor Bernadette[3] DHSSPS/PHA
Hayes Dr Catherine Trinity College Dublin
Heaney Mr David University of Aberdeen
Henry Ms Lisa Jane PPI Representative
Hodkinson Ms Angela (observer) The Atlantic Philanthropies
Howard Professor Vyvyan University of Ulster
Hughes Professor Carmel Queens University Belfast
Hun Ms Soo EB European Centre Connected Health
Hunter Dr Alyson Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
Hunter Dr Ruth Queen's University Belfast
Irving Ms Claire B University of Nottingham
James Dr Jacqueline Queen's University Belfast
Jofre-Bonet Professor Mireia City University London
Johnston Professor Linda Queen's University Belfast
Kee Professor Frank Queen's University Belfast
Keegan Ms Orla Hospice Foundation, Dublin
Kelly Dr Colette National University of Ireland Galway
Kelly Mrs Caroline Mary PPI Representative
Kelly Ms Roisin Public Health Agency
Kennedy Mr Gordon PPI Representative
Kilgallen Dr Anne DHSSPS
Larkin Professor Philip University College Dublin
Leavey Professor Gerry Ulster University
Little Dr Janet Public Health Agency
Lloyd-Williams Professor Mari University of Liverpool
Loane Dr Maria Ulster University
Long Dr Maggie University of Ulster
Lyons Professor Timothy Queen's University Belfast
MacAuley Professor Domhnall Hillhead Family Practice
MacLurg Dr Katherine Health and Social Care Board
Maguire Dr Teresa Health Research Board
Maguire Mr Ignatius PPI Representative
Mair Professor Frances University of Glasgow
Marcus Ms Sue University of Oxford
Martin Professor Suzanne University of Ulster
Mason Dr Carolyn Royal College of Nursing
Mason Professor Malcolm Cardiff University
McAloney Dr Kareena Queen's University Belfast
McAuley Professor Danny Queen's University Belfast/Belfast HSC Trust
McCabe Dr Louise University of Stirling
McCann Dr May Chair Bamford Monitoring Group
McCarron Professor Paul University of Ulster
McCarthy Dr Miriam Public Health Agency
McCarthy Dr Triona National Cancer Control Programme, Dublin
McConkey Professor Roy University of Ulster
McCusker Professor Chris Queen's University Belfast
McDonough Professor Suzanne University of Ulster
McElwee Mr Gerry Cancer Focus NI
McErlean Mr Seamus Health and Social Care Board
McGilloway Dr Sinead National University of Ireland, Maynooth
McGlade Ms Anne Health and Social Care Board
McGlade Dr Kieran General Practice / Queen's University Belfast
McIlfatrick Professor Sonja University of Ulster
McKenna Dr Carole Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council (NIPEC)
McKeown Professor Pascal Queen's University Belfast
McKeown Professor Stephanie University of Ulster
McKinley Dr Michelle Queen's University Belfast
McMahon Dr Ann Royal College of Nursing
McMullan Professor Geoffrey University of Ulster
Mills Professor Ken Queen's University Belfast
Mitchell Dr Elizabeth DHSSPS/ IPH
Mitchell Professor Duncan Manchester Metropolitan University
Murphy Dr Tara Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin
Murray Mr Aidan Health and Social Care Board
Murray Professor Liam Queen's University Belfast
Nesbit Dr Andrew University of Ulster
Newman Professor Stanton City University London
Nicholson Mrs Frances DHSSPS
O'Halloran Dr Peter Queen's University Belfast
O'Kane Dr Cecilia Queen's University Belfast
O'Kane Professor Maurice J Western Health and Social Care Trust
O'Neill Dr Brenda Ulster University
O'Neill Dr Eddie Health and Social Care Board
O'Neill Professor Siobhan University of Ulster
O'Sullivan Dr Roger Centre for Ageing R&D in Northern Ireland
Palmer Dr Stephen University of York
Parahoo Professor Kader Ulster University
Payne Professor Sheila Lancaster University
Peace Dr Aaron Western Health and Social Care Trust
Pickett Dr James Alzheimer's Society
Power Dr Ultan Queen's University Belfast
Professor Richard Kennedy Queen's University Belfast
Prosser Dr Ena Fountain Healthcare Partners
Purdy Dr Joanna Institute of Public Health in Ireland
Quinlan Dr Phil University of Nottingham
Quinn Mr Martin Public Health Agency
Reilly Professor Joe Durham University
Reilly Professor Philip Queen’s University Belfast
Rima Professor Bert Queen’s University Belfast
Sanders Dr Caroline The University of Manchester
Saunders Professor Kathryn Ulster Univeristy
Schofield Mr Paul Patient & Client Council
Schofield Professor Pat University of Greenwich
Sharpe Dr Peter Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Shaw Professor Jenny The University of Manchester
Silvestri Dr Giuliana Queen's University Belfast/Belfast HSC Trust
Spratt Dr Trevor Queen's University Belfast
Staniszewska Dr Sophie University of Warwick
Stewart Mr Derek PPI Representative
Synnott Mr Kevin PPI Representative
Taylor Professor Brian University of Ulster
Thompson Professor Carl University of York
Todd Dr Stephen Western Health and Social Care Trust
Tully Dr Mark Queen's University Belfast
Tunney Professor Michael Queen's University Belfast
Walsh Professor Colum University of Ulster
Ward Dr Mary University of Ulster
Williams Professor Richard University of Glamorgan
Wilson Dr Paul University of York
Wilson Professor Richard Queen's University Belfast/Belfast HSC Trust
Winder Dr John University of Ulster
Wisely Dr Janet[4] Health Research Authority
Wright Mrs Eileen PPI Representative
Young Professor Ian[5] Queen's University Belfast/Belfast HSC Trust
Yuille Dr Martin University of Manchester


[2] Chair of Doctoral Fellowship Evaluation Panels 2013-2016

[3] Chair of Knowledge Exchange, Enabling Research Award & Commissioned Research Award Evaluation Panels. Former Director of R&D for HSC and Chief Scientific Advisor to the DHSSPS (2008-2014)

[4] Chair of Biobank Evaluation Panel

[5] Chair of Enabling Research Award & Knowledge Exchange Evaluation Panels 2015. Current Director of R&D for HSC and Chief Scientific Advisor to DoH

[6] Chair of Doctoral Fellowship Evaluation Panels 2017

[7] Chair of Doctoral Fellowship Evaluation Panels 2018 &2019