Oct 04 2017 Posted: 00:00 IST

On Monday 2 October, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD  unveiled a new name and brand identity for a leading national academic research body that aims to increase Ireland’s position as a centre of excellence and attract clinical and translational research projects that can ultimately improve and enhance public health. Clinical Research Development Ireland (CRDI) is the new name for Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI), a not for profit partnership established by NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and University College Dublin, their associated academic hospitals and clinical research facilities.

CRDI’s ambitious Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 was also presented at the event, which was held in the stately surroundings of Farmleigh House, and attended by key representatives from the Irish and international academic, public and private sectors.

CRDI acts as a central contact point for the development of collaborative research with academic and industry partners from Ireland and abroad. It does this by helping to develop, co-ordinate and facilitate research programmes and networks in a wide range of therapeutic areas in both medicines and medical devices. Since it was first established in 2002, it has provided training, including structured PhD programmes and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) courses, to over 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. CRDI works with funding agencies that include the Health Research Board, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Wellcome Trust and the Irish Cancer Society.

According to Dr Pat O’Mahony, Chief Executive of CRDI, Ireland has significant potential to increase its clinical research activities. “Currently we estimate that less than 2 percent of Irish adult patients are offered the opportunity to participate in clinical research as part of their medical treatment; the international target is circa 10 percent – so there is a significant opportunity to increase clinical research in Ireland that would also enable Irish patients to potentially access new and emerging therapies. Clinical Research Development Ireland strives to build on Ireland’s reputation as the tenth strongest contributor to global scientific research.  We seek to create an enabling environment where the process of conducting a clinical research project across one or a number of different centres in Ireland is enabled quickly and easily.  We are a partnership and we endeavour to mobilise the combined strength of all our partner academic institutions, their medical schools and associated hospitals.”

In health systems where clinical research infrastructure and delivery (both academic led and commercially sponsored) are better developed, there are significant and demonstrable benefits for patients in terms of better outcomes.  Dr O’Mahony emphasised this message, stating;

It is undisputed that a strong clinical research infrastructure offers a host of benefits to the wider healthcare system including improved outcomes for patients, better use of scarce resources, and improved clinical staff recruitment and retention. Coordinating and enabling clinical researchers at a national and international level is the focus of the CRDI business unit, HRB Clinical Research Coordination Ireland. In addition, through our coordination of academic training programmes we are facilitating the next generation of researchers to deliver research which will revolutionise patient treatment options and the wider health system. Through the CRDI coordinated Irish Clinical Academic Training programme alone, over the next five years we will enable 40 top class clinicians to significantly contribute to clinical research in Ireland.”

CRDI Chairman, Tom Lynch said,

“The new name Clinical Research Development Ireland (CRDI) will enable this unique academic research partnership to align more closely with our vision to be an effective and innovative force for the development of translational and clinical research in Ireland. We are living in exciting times for research development and CRDI, through developing and supporting translational and clinical research infrastructure and delivery across our partner academic institutions, their medical schools and associated hospitals, will be perfectly placed to lead the way in Ireland.”

Prof Dermot Kelleher, founder and former Board member of MMI, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Canada, and a guest speaker at the event said:

The molecular basis of disease is now firmly embedded in both the diagnosis and treatment of conditions as diverse as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological conditions such as epilepsy. 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.” 

See CRDI Strategic Plan 2017-2021 here



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