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

RCSI achieves major funding success in HRB Health Research Awards

22 August 2013

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has achieved major funding success in the latest round of Health Research Awards announced today by the Health Research Board (HRB).

The eight successful RCSI projects will examine a range of health issues including doctor emigration, psychotic illness, link between blood group and risk of heart attacks, epilepsy, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma and Motor Neuron Disease.

Today’s announcement represents a €12.3 million investment by the HRB across 40 projects.

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said ‘RCSI welcomes the announcement made by the HRB to fund eight of RCSI’s research projects as part of the Health Research Awards. I congratulate the Principal Investigators on their awards, which are major accomplishments in this era of reduced public research funding, and wish them the best of luck as they undertake their new projects. Today’s announcement supports RCSI’s commitment to world-class research to improve human health through clinical and laboratory-based research informed by bedside problems, societal and global health challenges’.

The successful RCSI Principal Investigators and projects are:

  • Professor Ruairi Brugha: Doctor Emigration Project
  • Professor David Cotter: A metabolomic study of subjects in the at risk mental state; a longitudinal biomarker study with discovery and validation components 
  • Professor David Henshall: MicroRNA-134 as a target for the prevention and treatment of epilepsy
  • Dr David Hughes: The influence of interactions between selenium supply biomarkers and genetic variation and gene expression in the selenium pathway on CRC risk and survival
  • Professor Dermot Kenny: Why is blood group a risk marker for myocardial infarction? (investigating the role of blood groups as a risk for heart attack.) 
  • Dr Marie McIlroy: An investigation into the utility of prosaposin as a marker of PI3K inhibitor responsiveness in aromatase inhibitor resistant breast cancer.
  • Professor Jochen Prehn: Angiogenin as a therapeutic for the treatment of ALS (Motor Neuron Disease)
  • Dr Markus Rehm: A translational systems medicine approach to provide predictive capacity for DTIC-based chemotherapy responsiveness in metastatic malignant melanoma

A total of 40 projects were selected from 209 applications. These were assessed by international peer review panels who believed the nature, scope and relevance of the proposals demonstrated great ambition and innovation that would lead to results that are relevant both nationally and internationally.

'This funding will address a wide range of subjects, including mental health, cancer, diabetes and arthritis, says Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the HRB. 'It will support health professionals and researchers to examine pressing research questions that will deliver strong evidence to enhance patient care, improve people's health or lifestyle and positively influence how we deliver our health services'.

Each project will receive up to €330,000 over the next three years.

'I believe we will see an excellent return on this investment. No one is better placed to understand the needs of patients, or identify how we can improve their care, than people involved at the coal face in hospitals and across the health services. We are supporting experts who have clearly demonstrated they are dedicated to turning good ideas into research discoveries that can transform policy and practice,' concludes Connolly.