Darrin Morrissey

Chief Executive, Health Research Board

Darrin Morrissey took up the position of Chief Executive at the Health Research Board in July 2018.

Immediately before joining the HRB, Darrin was the Director of Programmes and Investments with Science Foundation Ireland, where he led the delivery of funding to science & technology research across the Irish public sector research institutions. With SFI Darrin played a leading role in the delivery of the SFI Research Centres; large-scale public-private partnerships that have delivered exceptional economic and scientific impact nationally and internationally. He also led an increased orientation of SFI’s funding programmes towards the evolving needs of industry and the broadening of SFI’s portfolio of international funding partnerships.

Darrin’s prior experience includes 16 years spanning research, manufacturing and commercial success in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. In a variety of roles in companies including GSK and Sanofi, Darrin’s work ranged from leading the development of the GSK oncology business in Ireland, to managing clinical trials across various therapy areas, and from developing and delivering national and international business strategies, to the launch of melanoma other oncology products on global markets.

Darrin qualified with a BSc in Microbiology and he holds a PhD from University College Cork. His PhD research focused on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the spread of cancer. He also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at UCC, where he managed ‘first-in-human’ clinical trials of food products affecting the gut microbiome. Darrin also holds a Diploma in Advanced Management awarded by National University of Ireland Galway.

Over recent years Darrin has been a member of a wide range of national development policy groups, including the Life Sciences Alliance, the Smart Ageing Steering Group, the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Stakeholder Forum and the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Higher Education & Research Steering Group.


Cathal Ryan

Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

Cathal Ryan is an Assistant Commissioner with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Ireland. A qualified lawyer with significant commercial and regulatory experience Cathal heads up the Office’s Public Sector and Health Consultation Unit. He is responsible for overseeing the Office's function of proactively providing data protection awareness and best practice guidance to all public sector and health bodies to ensure their activities are carried out in compliance with data protection law. Cathal is also a member of the Article 29 Working Party Group and is the lead rapporteur for drafting guidelines on Codes of Conduct.


Muiris O'Connor

Assistant Secretary, Department of Health

Muiris O’Connor took up the post of Head of R&D and Health Analytics in the Department of Health in November 2015. He moved to the Department of Health from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) where he served as Head of Policy and Strategic Planning since 2008. In that capacity he played a central role in the formulation of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 and led the subsequent development of a new Performance Evaluation Framework for Irish higher education.

Before joining the HEA, Muiris spent five years as Statistician in the Department of Education and Science, prior to which he worked with the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). In his career to date, Muiris has written on a range of education and social policy issues and has made a significant contribution to the quality and relevance of the evidence-base underpinning Irish education policy. In his present position, Muiris is leading on progressing the eHealth Agenda and on transforming the connectedness and comprehensiveness of the evidence-base underpinning health policy and practice.


Dr Ruth Davis

Consultant, Higher Education and Research Management, Funding and Policy

Dr Ruth Davis is an independent consultant with over 20 years’ experience in the Irish higher education sector spanning a wide range of portfolios. She specialises in higher education and research funding strategy, policy and management and has held senior strategic and operational roles in a number of higher education institutions in Ireland as well as in the Higher Education Authority.

Dr Davis is a qualified barrister and has prepared the HRB’s GDPR guidance for health researchers.


Dr Teresa Maguire

Head of Research Services Unit, Department of Health

Dr Teresa Maguire is Head of the Research Services Unit in the Department of Health. Previously, she worked as Head of Population Health & Health Services Research in the Health Research Board. After completing a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology at University College Dublin, Teresa went on to complete a PhD at the Clinical Pharmacology Department in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland.  She then returned to Ireland to work as a postdoctoral research fellow with the Department of Surgery at St Vincent's University Hospital. Subsequently, Dr Maguire worked for a number of years as Director of Scientific Affairs in Ireland for a multinational pharmaceutical company before joining the HRB.