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

Inaugural International Research Summer School begins at RCSI and Soochow University

10 June 2015

The first International Research Summer School (IRSS) has begun at the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and at the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Soochow University (SU) in Suzhou, China. 

International Research Summer School students from SU at the IRSS welcome lunch with their host RCSI laboratory buddies and RCSI staff. Pictured (l-r) are Emily Ryan, Darina Gilroy, IRSS Principal Investigator Representative, Dr Garry Duffy, RCSI Research Summer School Director, Dr Sarah O'Neill, IRSS Host Principal Investigator and Project Lead Dr Helena Kelly, IRSS Programme Manager Dr Liam Burke, Huiping Shi, RCSI Director of Research Prof Ray Stallings, Pingping Qin, Hanxi Zheng, Dr Aamir Hameed, Ms Guiquin Wang, Cormac McDonnell, Yadong Zhu, Dr Dan Wu, Zhe Zhang, Head of RCSI School of Pharmacy and IRSS Project Lead Prof Paul Gallagher and Aishah Alsibaee.
Six undergraduate students from both institutions have travelled to their associate institution to participate in eight-week research exchange projects. RCSI's students include three representatives from the School of Medicine and two from the School of Pharmacy from the Dublin campus, as well as one representative from the School of Medicine at RCSI Bahrain. They exchanged with counterparts from the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy in SU.
RCSI students will carry out pharmaceutical science and drug delivery research projects on diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and cancer while gaining insights into the Chinese clinical environment through visits to SU's partner hospitals. 

Pictured (l-r) are RCSI Research Summer School Director Dr Sarah O'Neill, IRSS students Ruadhán O'Laoi (Medicine), Nessa Quinn (Pharmacy), Michael Yu (Medicine) and Aoife Bourke (Medicine), IRSS Programme Manager Dr Liam Burke and IRSS Host Principal Investigator and Project Lead Dr Helena Kelly.
As well as pursuing pharmaceutical science and drug delivery research projects the students will gain valuable skills in a series of taught modules delivered through RCSI's Research Summer School Skills Workshop Programme, including scientific writing and presentation, problem solving and clinical study design.
The aim of the IRSS is to aid in both sets of students' professional and personal development by providing them with scientific and clinical research skills as well as valuable intercultural experience, which is so greatly valued in today's workplace.
The IRSS project was led in RCSI Professor Paul Gallagher, Dr Helena Kelly and Dr Liam Burke (all of the School of Pharmacy) in collaboration with the Director of RCSI's Research Summer School, Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT). Strategic governance was provided by Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar, RCSI; Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI; and Michael McGrail, Director of Corporate Strategy.
In SU the project was led by Professor Xuechu Zhen, Dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The IRSS is RCSI's second interaction with SU since the signing of a Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration in April 2015, and follows the joint appointment of Professor John Waddington as Professor of Pharmacology at SU College of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
RCSI is among the top 50 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education University World Rankings, 2014-15). It is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.
Founded in 1900, Soochow University is ranked in the top 5% of Chinese universities and is located in the ancient city of Suzhou in China's Jiangsu province, a densely populated and industrialised region close to Shanghai. SU is one of the Jiangsu provincial key comprehensive universities with over 4,000 faculty members including 1,100 professorships. SU has a strong culture of internationalisation and has collaborations with over 100 universities in 30 countries.