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Irish health researchers secure over €40 million from EU for Research and Innovation

1 December 2016

This funding supports 46 projects with 12 (7 academic coordinators and 5 SME coordinators) of these being led by Ireland. It is part of a total €336.7 million drawdown by Ireland from the EU Horizon 2020 programme for Research and Innovation, which was announced by the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, Mr John Halligan today.

€15.4 million of the €40 million went to Irish SMEs for health projects, with Ireland having the highest success rate in the EU in the SME Instrument call.

Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive of the Health Research Board, said

‘I am delighted that Irish Health researchers are continuing to compete successfully against the best researchers in Europe. This is an investment in better health for all by finding new ways to prevent diseases, developing better diagnostics and more effective therapies, as well as embracing new models of care and new technologies promoting health and wellbeing. This is good news for Ireland’.

Some sample projects include:

1. ‘Scaling up safe surgery for district and rural population in Africa'. Led by Professor Ruairi Brugha from RCSI, this global health project was awarded almost €6 million with nearly €3 million going to RCSI.  In sub-Saharan Africa 95% of the population has no access to surgical services. Guided by a health systems-strengthening framework and a comprehensive programme of research the project aims to expand the delivery of accessible, elective and emergency surgery at district hospitals to national level programmes in three African countries, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.

2. ‘Meaningful integration of data, analytics and services’. This will be coordinated by Dr Michaela Black from Ulster University with Dublin City University and IBM as partners. The project will use hardware and software solutions to connect fragmented health data and enable policymakers to use it.

3. 'Big data against childhood obesity’ coordinated by Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis in Greece and with partners from University College Dublin and the Children’s University Hospital. This project will allow Public Health Authorities to evaluate their communities based on their obesity prevalence risk and to take local action, based on objective evidence. The project will be facilitated through the development of a platform, allowing the quantification of behavioural community patterns through big data provided by wearable and eHealth devices.

The latter two projects were the top two ranked projects in Europe in the area of ‘Big Data supporting public health policies.’

According to Kay Duggan-Walls, National Contact Point for Health at the Health Research Board,

‘Irish Health Departments and Agencies are also playing an important role in this success’.

‘The Health Research Board will work as part of an EU team lead by Instituto Superiore Di Sanita, Italy on a project entitled ‘Transfer of Organisational Innovations for Resilient, Effective, equitable, accessible, sustainable and comprehensive health services and systems’. This project will work on building sustainable and resilient health system models.

‘The Health Service Executive along with the Department of Health is involved in a co-fund European Joint Programme on Human Biomonitoring. This is a new initiative to monitor and carry out scientific assessment of human exposures to chemicals and potential health impacts in Europe’.

The Health Research Board hosts the National Delegate role and one of two National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 health to assist Irish Health researchers apply for funding.

If you have any queries about applying for EU health research schemes, please contact Kay Duggan-Walls, e kdugganwalls(at)hrb.ie, t 01 2345 187, or Patricia Clarke, e pclarke(at)hrb.ie, t 01 2345 247.

Further information about the Irish successes in Horizon 2020 funding can be obtained from the press release on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation website.

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