Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn launches new Academy to give Irish medical researchers a voice in policy making

09 February 2012

Irish Academy of Medical Sciences first position paper highlights the need for continued funding

The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has launched a new Academy which will bring together Ireland's leading medical researchers to promote excellence in biomedical research with the ultimate aim of improving the health of the population. The Irish Academy of Medical Sciences (IAMS) will draw on the knowledge of Ireland's top medical scientists to provide an independent resource of expertise on complex issued related to medical science and ethics to ensure a coherent and integrated policy on health research at a national and international level.

Pictured at the launch of the Irish Academy of Medical Sciences (IAMS) is European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

The announcement was made on Thursday 9th February at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). RCSI academics Professor Orla Hardiman, Professor Brian Harvey, Professor Elaine Kay, Professor Gerry McElvaney and Professor Jochen Prehn are among the founding Fellows of the Academy.

Pictured (l-r) are Professor Dermot Kelleher, IAMS Honorary President; Professor Orla Hardiman, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, RCSI and IAMS Honorary Secretary; Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; and Professor Gerry McElvaney, Head of Department of Medicine, RCSI.

Until now, Ireland was one of the few European countries with no established body to represent its medical researchers in this way. IAMS will allow Ireland to actively participate in medical sciences interchanges at European level. The Academy will partner state agencies and industry as an independent resource of expertise in Medical Science and Healthcare.

Pictured (l-r) are Professor Tom Fahey, Head of Department of General Practice, RCSI; Professor Gerry McElvaney, Head of Department of Medicine, RCSI; Professor Clive Lee, Head of Department of Anatomy, RCSI.

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "I welcome the formation of the new Academy which harnesses the significant expertise that already exists within Irish Academic Medicine. Excellence in research ultimately leads to excellent care for patients. The strategic partnerships that will arise from the establishment of the Academy will contribute to building a knowledge based economy, sustainable employment opportunities for Irish graduates and the overall improvement of Irish society and its health care system. I congratulate the founding Council of IAMS for this important initiative which I am confident will ensure Ireland's position at the forefront of biomedical research into the future."

To coincide with the launch, the Academy publishes its first position paper on the future direction for biomedical research in Ireland. Among the issues highlighted in the paper entitled:  "A framework for Irish clinical research in the 21st century", is the importance of sustainable funding for biomedical research.

Pictured (l-r) are Mr Bernard Kennedy, Mundiphara, Professor Jochen Prehn, Head of Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, RCSI; and Ms Guen Flanagan, Mundiphara.

Professor Dermot Kelleher, Honorary President, Irish Academy of Medical Sciences said: "While the level of investment in biomedical research in Ireland increased substantially during the boom years, it is essential that this momentum be maintained. In terms of developing the key industry relationships for the knowledge economy, it is critical that the infrastructure in our teaching hospitals is seen as a source of real academic strength in terms of expertise and capacity in clinical research."

"Investing in publicly funded biomedical research, and in particular clinically-based research, will lead to significant economic benefit, job creation, added value to the knowledge  economy, and individual and societal gain for Ireland. It will also assure the development and retention of the brightest research capacity and capability in the country," Professor Kelleher concluded.

Pictured (l-r) are Professor Brian MacCraith, President, Dublin City University and Professor Gerry McElvaney, Head of Department of Medicine, RCSI.

A 2008 report commissioned by the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK)* has demonstrated that each £1 of extra public/charitable investment in UK medical research is estimated to yield between £2.20 and £5.10 of extra pharmaceutical company research and development.

Also speaking at the launch at RCSI was Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health with IAMS Honorary Secretary, Professor Orla Hardiman and IAMS Honorary Treasurer, Professor Gerry McElvaney, also in attendance.


* Source: "Medical Research, What’s it worth?”Academy of Medical Sciences 2008