Universities and hospitals line up behind new Irish clinical research brand

Clinical Research Development Ireland aims to build on Ireland’s ability to attract research projects internationally

 Prof Dermot Kelleher: Collaborative research. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Prof Dermot Kelleher: Collaborative research. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES


The Republic’s universities and their associated teaching hospitals have joined forces behind a not-for-profit brand to promote clinical research in Ireland.

Clinical Research Development Ireland (CRDI) will promote collaborative research between the academic partners NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons, Trinity College Dublin, UCD, UCC and industry in Ireland and abroad.

The teaching hospitals of the universities and their research facilities are also involved in the project.

The aim is for the new brand, which incorporates the former Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI), to become recognised as the State’s leading national academic research body, building on Ireland’s ability to attract research projects internationally.

Since it was first established as Molecular Medicine Ireland in 2002, the joint venture research promoter has provided training, including structured PhD programmes and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) courses, to more than 4,600 Irish researchers.

It has jointly facilitated almost 200 clinical research studies and has helped to position Ireland as a prime location for the conduct of clinical and translational research.

Prof Dermot Kelleher, founder and former board member of MMI, dean of the faculty of medicine, University of British Columbia, Canada, said the molecular basis of disease was now firmly embedded in both the diagnosis and treatment of conditions as diverse as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological conditions such as epilepsy.

Speaking at an event in Dublin on Monday to launch Clinical Research Development Ireland, he said, “The evolution of Molecular Medicine Ireland to Clinical Research Development Ireland reflects the necessity to address the current challenge of effective implementation of molecular medicine into clinical practice.”

CRDI is funded by the five universities along with programme funding from sources including the Health Research Board, Enterprise Ireland, Wellcome Trust, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Cancer Society and the Health Service Executive.