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Health Research Centres

Health Research Centres (HRCs) are virtual hubs for research across a number of disciplines and institutions, driven by a common health priority and a commitment to improve healthcare. The aim is to ensure that: -

  • the research is driven by identified needs within the health system nationally
  • the research findings around a common priority area are shared and any duplication of effort is avoided
  • the outcomes of research are relevant and applied to the health system
  • the research will be translated into care or lead to a change in practice

Two awards were made in 2007, the first of their kind in Ireland. They will receive between them €10 million funding over five years in a bid to make substantial progress in their respective areas.


The HRB centre for Primary Care Research will have its virtual base in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The research team lead by Professor Tom Fahey will undertake a programme of work that examines the quality of care provided to vulnerable patient groups - the elderly, children, pregnant women and drug users. Through the research programmes the team hopes to: -

  • identify quality standards for safer prescribing of medicines for Irish patients
  • improve diagnosis in primary care so that patients receive appropriate and timely treatment or referrals if required
  • develop new Information and Communications Technologies that will improve patient care and promote self-management among patients with chronic illness.



Minister Harney meets Dr Mairead O Driscoll, HRB and Prof Ivan Perry Lead Investigator of the HRB Centre for Diabetes, Diet and Obesity at the launch of the HRCs
Picture of Minister Mary Harney, Dr Mairead O Driscoll, HRB and Prof Ivan Perry at the launch of the HRCs

The HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research will have its virtual base in University College Cork. This centre will be co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The research team led by Professor Ivan Perry aim to produce internationally competitive research that will contribute to the evidence base for public policy, health promotion and clinical practice on the prevention and management of obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders. The research team aim to: -

  • better align public policy with research findings on diet and obesity in Ireland
  • contribute to the knowledge based economy by developing an e-learning inter-institutional MSc programme in Public Health Nutrition for staff employed in the healthcare system on the island of Ireland
  • make the best use of the databases that we already have on diet and health in Ireland to study population trends in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and related conditions
  • increase our understanding of the factors influencing consumer food choice
  • harness, co-ordinate and promote the activities of academics, practitioners and policy makers working in the food and health sectors in Ireland.

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