Role profile

Project Officer Health Research - Consent Declaration Committee (HR-CDC) Secretariat

HRB Grade VI Job Family (consisting of R&I III, Services III and Researcher II grades)

You can download a full job description (PDF) here and at the bottom of this webpage.


The Health Research Board’s (HRB) mission is to improve people’s health and enhance healthcare delivery.  An overview of the HRB’s objectives and activities may be found in Research, Evidence, Action: HRB Strategy 2016-2020. ( As part of its remit to support and fund health research in Ireland, the HRB wishes to ensure that the Irish health research community is aware of, and can be compliant with changes in national/international policy and legislation. The HRB is funded by the Department of Health which provides the policy lead on health research in Ireland, including in the area of data protection.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force across Europe on the 25nd May 2018, represents a significant change for Irish health researchers in how they approach the collection, use, management, storage and disclosure of personal information in research. Under the GDPR, all health research that involves the processing of personal health data must have a lawful ground in Article 6 of the GDPR, meet a condition in Article 9 and have in place suitable and specific safeguards for data subjects. The applicable suitable and specific safeguards for health research are set out in Regulations made by the Minister for Health under section 36 of the Data Protection Act - formally entitled the Data Protection Act 2018 (section 36(2)) (Health Research) Regulations 2018.

The purpose of those Regulations is to set out (for the first time in Irish legislation) sound information governance principles that reflect internationally accepted best practice applicable to the processing of personal data for health research.  As much of health research relies on the processing of personal health data belonging to patients and the wider public, these Regulations have immediate implications for researchers in the health domain. In particular, the Regulations mandate that the use of personal data for health research purposes will require, as a suitable and specific safeguard, the explicit consent of the individual data subject(s) involved except in certain limited and exceptional circumstances.

Where a health researcher is of the view that that his or her research might fall within those circumstances, he or she may apply for a declaration that the requirement for explicit consent (set out in the Regulations) is not so required.  The Regulations provide that such decisions on such declarations will be made by an independent broadly based Committee to be appointed by the Minister for Health.   That Committee is being referred to as the Health Research–Consent Declaration Committee (HR-CDC).

The HRB has been tasked by the Department of Health with establishing a Secretariat to support the independent HR–CDC. The HR-CDC Secretariat will be a new team within the Research Strategy and Funding Directorate of the HRB.

The primary functions of the HR-CDC Secretariat will be to support the Committee to deliver on its challenging and publicly important role in an efficient, effective and transparent manner, principally by managing the application process for declarations including advisory and triage activities, and to engage with the Research Services Unit in the Department of Health which has oversight and governance responsibility for the Committee.

Key responsibilities of the post of Project Officer (HR-CDC Secretariat)

The HRB is now seeking to recruit a full time, permanent Project Officer to work as part of the Secretariat of the HR-CDC supporting the HR-CDC Programme Manager, the Chair and other members of the HR-CDC.

This new post provides an opportunity for a suitably qualified candidate to work within a high-functioning team, and to contribute to developing and delivering effective processes and policies to support the Irish HR-CDC in line with developments in national and international health research data regulation and legislation.

The Project Officer will be located in the HR-CDC Secretariat in the first instance, and will play a key role in providing operational support to the Programme Manager and working with the Programme Manager to establish and run an efficient and effective Secretariat supporting all of the administrative and organisational requirements of the HR-CDC.

The Project Officer operates within the wider Research Strategy and Funding Directorate and as such, s/he will be expected to support the overall work of that Directorate and may, from time to time, be assigned other duties depending on need. Duties will include:

Support the role of Secretary to the HR-CDC
  • Assist in developing procedures and processes for the operation of the Health Research - Consent Declaration Committee (HR-CDC);
  • Assist in providing support to national stakeholders (Department of Health and other government departments, Research Ethics Committees, research performing organisations, other bodies and regulators)  on understanding of, and compliance with GDPR and the regulations, as they pertain to health research;
  • Liaise with the Programme Manager, HR-CDC Chairperson and/or Deputy Chairperson(s) and other ordinary members as required in order to organise Committee meetings and/or any subcommittee meetings or other events, where necessary;
  • Oversee logistical arrangements for Committee members (including travel/accommodation to meetings, processing of expenses etc.).
  • Assist in the preparation of agenda papers and any other relevant documentation for Committee meetings;
  • Attend Committee meetings, record accurate minutes of proceedings and decisions, and prepare correspondence to convey Committee decisions and other feedback;
  • Ensure the accurate recording and processing of any amendments or conditions imposed by the Committee on any consent declarations granted;
  • Maintain a publicly available registry of all Committee decisions, amendments and conditions imposed and reasons why.

HR-CDC Secretariat functions
  • Work with the Programme Manager to develop and implement application policies and procedures processes for first time applicants and resubmissions;
  • Contribute to, and implement an effective pre-screening process of applications;
  • Implement processes to validate applications and to ensure that only valid applications are brought forward to the HR-CDC;
  • Contribute to the development and update of application forms, guidance, FAQs and checklists for applicants and to the development of systems to ensure that consent declaration applications are processed within the required timelines.
  • Assist with an annual review process for approved applications including a process for the revocation of a consent declaration where relevant;
  • Oversee the establishment of an appropriate On-line application system to manage applications to, review of, and responses from the HR-CDC and ensure that procurement is in line with national procurement guidelines.
Communication with the health research community
  • Provide a central contact point and helpdesk function for queries prior to submission of applications;
  • Provide advice to applicants on consent declaration applications, Committee processes, and any other issues that might arise in the context of the HR-CDC in the performance of its statutory role;
  • Ensure effective engagement and communication with key stakeholders including Department of Health, other Government Departments, Research Ethics Committees, research performing organisations, other bodies and regulators as relevant;
  • Contribute to the development of a website for the HR-CDC that captures key information on the committee and its activities, and ensure its on-going up-date and maintenance.

Other duties may be assigned from time to time depending on need. This is a team-based role, and teamwork and coordination with others are crucial elements of the job description.  

Essential knowledge and experience

This role profile reflects the grade/responsibilities appropriate to R&IIII in the HRB and maps approximately to a Civil Service role at Administrative Officer level.  Competencies incorporated into the role profile reflect the competency framework issued in conjunction with the Civil Service PMDS for 2013 which has been adapted by the HRB.

The Project Officer in the HRB will interact closely with the academic and healthcare research community and should therefore have a strong interest in and understanding of these environments. Research experience would be highly beneficial but it is important to note that this is an administrative role and not a research role.  

Formal requirements include
  • An NFQ Level 7 Qualification (Ordinary Bachelor Degree) or greater with a minimum of three years’ relevant experience.
  • Knowledge of governance, regulatory, data protection, legislative and policy issues.
  • High degree of computer literacy, including knowledge and experience of using Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and experience of databases and online application systems.
  • Knowledge of national health research system, and of the Irish academic and health services environment while not necessary, would be desirable.

Competencies incorporated into the role profile reflect the competency framework issued in conjunction with the Civil Service PMDS for 2013 which has been adapted by the HRB.

The complete list of core competencies for this post is in Appendix A.

Competencies include:

  • Excellent planning and organising abilities.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • A high level of discretion and professional integrity.
  • Problem analysis and resolution skills.
  • Ability to communicate in a fluent, logical, clear and convincing manner verbally and in writing.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Ability to network and influence people
  • A high degree of motivation and resilience
  • An ability to effectively communicate the vision and values of the HRB and the HR-CDC
  • Ability to work well in a team and on own initiative.
Reporting relationship

The Project Officer will report to the Programme Manager of the HR-CDC Secretariat.

Salary scale

Salary Range for Project Officer €46,771 - €57,158

Note: this post is a permanent full-time position.

Appointment will be made in accordance with the Department of Health guidelines. New entrants will be appointed at the first point of the scale.

How to apply

Please submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae by email to  You must include the name of the post that you are applying for in the email subject line.

Closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 30 November 2018.

NOTE: Interviews for this position are expected to take place during the period from 13 – 20 December 2018 and ideally the successful candidate should be available to take up their post by 01 February 2019.

If you require further information, please contact Karen O'Donnell, HR Officer at

The Health Research Board is an equal opportunities employer.


Appendix A: Core competencies – Project Officer (HR-CDC Secretariat)

Leadership Potential
  • Is flexible and willing to adapt, positively contributing to the implementation of change.
  • Contributes to the development of policies in own area and the broader Department/ Organisation.
  • Seeks to understand the implications of taking a particular position on issues and how interdependencies need to be addressed in a logical and consistent way.
  • Maximises the contribution of the team, encouraging ownership, providing support and working effectively with others.
  • Formulates a perspective on issues considered important and actively contributes across a range of settings.
Analysis & Decision Making
  • Is skilled in policy analysis and development, challenging the established wisdom and adopting an open-minded approach.
  • Quickly gets up to speed in a complex situation, rapidly absorbing all relevant information/data (written and oral).
  • Uses numerical data skilfully to understand and evaluate business issues.
  • Identifies key themes and patterns in and across different sources of information, drawing sound and balanced conclusions.
  • Sees the logical implications of taking a particular position on an issue.
  • Is resourceful and creative, generating original approaches when solving problems and making decisions.
Delivery of Results
  • Assumes personal responsibility for and delivers on agreed objectives/ goals.
  • Manages and progresses multiple projects and work activities successfully.
  • Accurately estimates time parameters for projects and manages own time efficiently, anticipating obstacles and making contingencies for overcoming these.
  • Maintains a strong focus on meeting the needs of customers at all times.
  • Ensures all outputs are delivered to a high standard and in an efficient manner.
  • Use resources effectively, at all times challenging processes to improve efficiencies.
Interpersonal & Communication Skills
  • Communicates in a fluent, logical, clear and convincing manner verbally and in writing.
  • Is able to listen effectively and develop a two-way dialogue quickly.
  • Maintains a strong focus on meeting the needs of internal and external customers.
  • Effectively influences others to take action.
  • Works to establish mutual understanding to allow for collaborative working.
Drive and Commitment
  • Is self-motivated and shows a desire to continuously perform at a high level.
  • Is personally honest and trustworthy and can be relied upon.
  • Maintains consistent effort under pressure and is resilient to criticism or setbacks at work.
  • Demonstrates high levels of initiative, taking ownership for projects and demonstrating self-sufficiency.
  • Upholds the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Specialist Knowledge, Expertise and Self Development
  • Has a clear understanding of the roles objectives and targets and how they fit into the work of the HR-CDC.
  • Develops the expertise necessary to carry out the role to a high standard and shares this with others.
  • Is proactive in keeping up to date on issues and key developments that may impact on own area, the Department and/ or wider public service.
  • Consistently reviews own performance and sets self challenging goals and targets.
  • Has significant expertise in his/her field that is recognised and utilised by colleagues.

Download the Project Officer HR-CDC Secretariat job role specifications