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

Monday, 26th January 2009-RCSI and NUI Sign Major Scientific and Research Agreement with France

26 January 2009

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the National University of Ireland (NUI) today signed a unique partnership with three major French Scientific institutes at the Irish Embassy in Paris. The agreement is the first of its kind between Ireland and France and will allow institutions between the two countries to collaborate and share information more openly in the area of translational medical research and optical imaging.


Pictured from l to r are Professor Cathal Kelly, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; Dr. Attracta Halpin, Registrar of the NUI; Professor Brian Harvey, Director of Research at RCSI; Her Excellency Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to France; Mr. Michael Horgan, CEO of RCSI and Professor Kevin Nolan, Head of the School of Postgraduate Studies at RCSI.

The collaboration will enable students and researchers to carry out research and training, as well as sharing research facilities between the five bodies, including the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), the National University of Ireland (NUI), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Universities of Montpellier and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm). The five institutions will also jointly apply for funding and will collaborate on existing projects together within the scientific field of biological imaging.


Pictured from l to r are Mr. Oudi Serva, Inserm; Dr. Attracta Halpin, RCSI; Professor Dominique Deville de Periere, Université Montpellier; Her Excellency, Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to France; Professor Brian Harvey, RCSI; Professor Christian Perigaud, Université Montpellier and Mr. Patrick Netter, CNRS.

Professor Brian Harvey, Director of Research at RCSI said “Some of the current funded research programmes supported under the agreement are in the area of health research and include advanced imaging investigations in traumatic brain injury, cerebral ischemia (stroke), epilepsy and colorectal cancer. This scientific collaboration provides a unique framework for Irish and French researchers to engage in joint research programmes in biological imaging and translational medical research.”

Dr. Attracta Halpin, Registrar of the NUI said “The opportunities for co-supervision of PhD students between the NUI and the Universities of Montpellier are a highly significant aspect of the scientific agreement and will greatly enrich the doctoral training experience of young Irish and French researchers.”



Representatives from Irish and French institutions with her Excellency Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to France.

The Franco-Irish collaboration is a result of the recent establishment of the National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform Ireland (NBIP) which includes the NUI and the Universities of Montpellier. The €30 million platform is funded by the Higher Education Authority of Ireland and led by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The mission of NBIP is to provide an integrated national access and training infrastructure in research, education, technology development and industry collaboration for Ireland’s investment in Biophotonics and Imaging. The objective of the training programme is to develop the career prospects of researchers at an early stage of their career to become independent investigators and senior scientists in academia or industry. 

Currently there are over 150 Irish researchers working in association with NBIP Ireland.  Under the agreement, they will have the potential to freely collaborate with France through the Institut de Génomique Fonctionelle (IGF) and other EU laboratories affiliated with this group and NBIP.