Cancer trials in Ireland 2021

In 2020, HRB is launching a number of calls for new investment in clinical trials infrastructure. In this next phase of investment, HRB will build on national investments and adopt a co-investment model with the Health Service Executive (HSE), universities and other stakeholders to develop a world-class clinical trials infrastructure with the capacity to deliver high-quality clinical trials.

As a key piece of the national clinical trials infrastructure investment, HRB is now launching a new national call for Cancer trials in Ireland. This is aimed at supporting the establishment of cancer trial delivery Clusters and a National Cancer Clinical Trials Network to enable Irish cancer patients to access a diverse portfolio of high quality, safe and complaint cancer clinical trials. 

Additional Information

The overall goal of the new funding model for HRBs investment in cancer trials in Ireland is to support an appropriate infrastructure; enabling Irish patients to access a diverse portfolio of high-quality, safe and compliant cancer clinical trials in Ireland.

In order to achieve this goal, essential features of the funding call include:

  • a more efficient, coordinated and focused infrastructure that enables greater access to specific expertise for the design and development, efficient and timely activation, conduct, completion and reporting of cancer clinical trials, meeting all regulatory requirements,
  • strengthened scientific excellence in cancer clinical trials by continuing to network and integrate at a national level, the critical mass of expertise and resources needed to provide Irish leadership in investigator-led and commercial cancer clinical trials,
  • a more strategic approach to the portfolio of cancer clinical trials in Ireland developed or adopted within the “Clusters”,
  • Strengthening of existing partnerships between the hospital sites, clinical research facilities/centres and academic partners of each cluster, to enhance governance, advance cancer clinical trials and provide appropriate incentives for clinicians to engage in cancer clinical trials,
  • a more integrated and embedded system of cancer clinical research activity within the HSE/NCCP, as measured through leveraged support from the HSE/NCCP. Co-investment will be required in the form of support for core staff and/or in-kind contributions towards the operation of the clusters, which will need to be verifiable under accounting standards,
  • greater transparency in all financial and governance matters related to trial activity; ensuring that the appropriate financial and underpinning governance measures are in place,
  • increased number of high-quality cancer clinical trials (investigator and industry-led) in Ireland that lead to improvements in patient outcomes and/or clinical care, as measured through a formal assurance framework with clear metrics, and
  • embedding patient and public involvement in all cancer clinical trials.

The investment will potentially support between 5-7 cancer delivery Clusters (one in Paediatrics) aligned with the Hospital Groups and a national Cancer Clinical Trials Network. 



Cluster applications must be made in partnership with a selected Cancer Clinical Lead and CRF/C Director, with support from both the lead Hospital or Hospital Group CEO and a University Partner. Lead Applicants must demonstrate significant experience and expertise in the leading of a consortium and an excellent track record in the delivery of cancer clinical trials.

Applications for a Cluster must be submitted on behalf of a Hospital Group through a recognised HRB Host Institution (University Partner) aligned to one of the following Clinical Research Facility/Centres in Ireland;

  1. Wellcome Trust-HRB-CRF at St. James Hospital in Dublin (hosted by Trinity College Dublin)
  2. HRB-CRF Cork at the Mercy Hospital and Cork University Hospital (hosted by University College Cork)
  3. HRB-CRF Galway at University College Hospital Galway (hosted by the National University of Ireland Galway)
  4. UCD CRCs at The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital (hosted by University College Dublin)
  5. Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland CRC at Beaumont Hospital (hosted by RCSI)
  6. The Health Research Institute Clinical Research Support Unit at Limerick University Hospital (hosted by University of Limerick) and
  7. Children’s Health Ireland (various hosting partners).

Applications for a National Cancer Clinical Trials Network must be submitted on behalf of a nominated national Cancer Clinical Lead with the support of a recognised HRB Host Institution. Applications must come from an appropriate entity with a previous track record of providing clinical trial services and supports to cancer clinical trials.

The Host Institution (HI) for the HRB award must be a HRB recognised host institution. It is normally that of the Lead Applicant, but it may be another organisation/institution designated by the applicant team, where it is clearly justified. An up to date list of HRB recognised host institutions can be found at all times at: 


All applications must be completed and submitted through the HRB online Grant E-Management System (GEMS) GEMS will automatically close at the deadline – 22 January 2021 at 13:00. 
The application must have been reviewed and approved by the signatory approver at the research office (or equivalent) in the host institution before it is submitted to the HRB. Therefore, applicants should ensure that they give the signatory approver enough time before the call closing date to review the application and approve it on GEMS. Please note that many host institutions specify internal deadlines for this procedure.


Amie Regan 
Project Officer
Health Research Board

Opening date
15:00 31-07-2020
Closing date
13:00 22-01-2021
April 2021
Decision expected
June 2021