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HSC R&D Division supporting largest ever investment in academic medicine

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today welcomed the largest ever investment in academic medicine through an all island collaborative partnership.

The combined funding, approximately £10 million over the next five years, is from Wellcome Trust, participating universities, the Public Health Agency’s Research and Development Division (HSC R&D) and Ireland’s Health Research Board.

The programme application, fully supported by HSC R&D and Belfast HSC Trust and the Medical and Dental Training Agency, represents a total investment from HSC R&D Division of up to £1million. 

The funding will provide integrated clinical and research training for a total intake of eight students per year across Ireland for a five-year period. Applications open in autumn 2016 for intake in July 2017.

The Minister said:  “All-island collaboration on this scale will make a meaningful and tangible difference for health care throughout Ireland. This programme has been successful in working across boundaries, organisations and government to achieve an outcome that will benefit students and patients.”

Michelle O’Neill congratulated Professor Peter Maxwell, Queen’s University Belfast, who is the Director of the Clinical Academic Training Programme in the north, and said:  “Professor Maxwell has played a key role in securing this investment in clinical academic training for the whole island.  This initiative demonstrates what can be achieved through working together across the island of Ireland.

“We face the same health issues, challenges and opportunities across Ireland and I want see further development of all-island networks to tap into the benefits that collaboration can potentially deliver.”

Professor Peter Maxwell from Queen’s University Belfast and Director of the Clinical Academic Training programme in Northern Ireland said:  “I am delighted Queen’s is part of this successful team of researchers which will receive the largest ever investment in academic medicine here,  amounting to £10 million over the next five years.

“With this significant investment we can create an integrated all-Ireland clinical academic training programme, that will support and mentor trainee doctors to become skilled scientific investigators and leaders of future research teams, which can tackle important health problems such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness. This is a long term investment in training people who will make a difference to the health of people throughout Ireland and further afield.”

Professor Ian Young, Director of HSC R&D and Chief Scientific Advisor, DoH said: “The opportunity to participate in clinical research benefits all patients and this award recognises our strong training environment which provides for the next generation of research leaders. We particularly welcome the opportunities that will follow to promote research networking on the island of Ireland.”

Professor Peter Maxwell, Director of the Clinical Academic Training Programme in the north, was the lead applicant for Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in the bid for funding. QUB is one of the six equal partners in the successful consortium (six medical schools combining resources – TCD, QUB, UCD, RSCI, UCC, NUIG)

The Irish team is led by Professor Michael Gill (TCD), Professor Peter Maxwell (QUB), Professor Paddy Mallon (UCD), Professor Michael Dennedy (NUI), Professor Joe Eustace (UCC), Professor Ray Stallings (RCSI) and Mr Mark Watson in Molecular Medicine Ireland and was one of only eight successful applications from across Britain and Ireland, a highly significant development for academic medicine.




Pictured at the announcement of the Wellcome – HRB Irish Clinical Academic Training Programme, were Dr Ruth Carroll, HSC Research & Development; Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Health; Professor Michael Gill, the Principal Investigator on the Wellcome-HRB Irish Clinical Academic Training Programme; Professor Peter Maxwell, Queen’s University Belfast .