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

First annual SPHeRE conference to build links for health research, policy and practice

09 January 2015

SPHeRE, the Structured Population and Health-services Research Education programme, will hold its first annual conference today in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The theme of the conference is ‘Health Research, Policy and Practice - Creating links for effective collaboration'.

The SPHeRE programme is a partnership of all universities in the Republic of Ireland, with programme management situated in RCSI, University College Cork (UCC) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

This conference will be an annual event for those involved in population health and health services in Ireland, whether as service providers, health service managers, policy makers or researchers and will provide an important platform for the development of a collaborative network.

Three keynote speakers will address the event. Professor Naomi Fulop, University of London and Chair of UK Health Services Research Network will speak on the topic "Doing health service research that matters". Professor Bernie Hannigan, Director of Research and Development, Public Health England will discuss "Good practice in involving and engaging patients in research". The event will close with an address from Professor Steve Thomas, Trinity College Dublin on "The legacy of austerity on the Irish health system".

Professor Anne Hickey, Director of SPHeRE and Associate Professor of Psychology at RCSI said: "We hope that the SPHeRE conference will become an important annual event for people working in the areas of population health and health services in Ireland, as well as attracting input from other countries, as today's line up of international speakers reflects. Our aim is to promote and provide a forum to discuss and share findings from high quality research with health service policy makers, providers and service users within the area of population health and health services research. This annual conference, in tandem with other SPHeRE network activities, will provide opportunities to meet colleagues working across the population health and health services spectrum, creating and strengthening professional networks."

Launched in 2014, the SPHeRE programme was awarded €6.3 million by the Health Research Board (HRB). The programme will provide education and training for five cohorts of PhD scholars annually (2013-2017) and aims to graduate 30-50 PhD scholars in total.