Clinical Trial Networks (CTN) 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.

HRB is now launching a new national call for Clinical Trial Networks, which will focus on supporting activities of a number of established networks in Ireland, with the aim of developing and delivering a high-quality portfolio of investigator-led trials with relevance to health and social care needs in Ireland. Awards will only provide funding for activities aimed at facilitating and developing the networking and coordination aspect, with funding for trial activities being provided through separate, competitive sources (such as the HRB Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards scheme).

Additional Information

The purpose of this call is to:

  • Provide support to facilitate coordination and strategic planning for the network, support seeking funding for trial activity, and ensure shared decision-making and appropriate governance
  • Fully embed PPI into the network activities from portfolio development and prioritisation to delivery of trials
  • Pro-actively establish and grow international and industry partnerships, as appropriate to the portfolio
  • Lead to improvements in the health and wellbeing of the Irish nation

Awards are to support network activities only: funding for individual trials and interventions is not provided in this round. 


Established networks (HRB and non-HRB funded) will be eligible to apply for funding.

For the purpose of this call we are seeking applications from established clinical trial networks in Ireland. 
While each Network shall be unique in some respects, HRB expects that all will:

  • Have a team of applicants that brings in a spectrum of Researchers - Health and Care Practitioner, health and care practitioners, methodologists, health researchers and PPI contributors at appropriate levels of contribution and engagement
  • Have a Network Lead with the time and ability to bring together relevant stakeholders and lead the development of the Network
  • Within the team have a record of internationally-recognised research achievements and demonstrated ability to lead a major collaborative clinical trial at a national or international level
  • Have strong links to CRF/Cs and/or other relevant infrastructural resources, and use their expertise and capability to deliver the programmatic activity as far as feasible
  • Plan to conduct at least one multi-centre definitive intervention during the term of the award and to develop a pipeline of future definitive interventions
  • Provide educational and training opportunities
  • Form effective partnerships with industry to conduct industry-sponsored clinical trials
  • Leverage complementary funding from other sources towards sustainability after five years. For this purpose, each network as an entity (not the individual members) should target funding in the range of €4 – 5 Million from successful applications during the term of the award. Examples of other sources of funding include European projects, other HRB funded programmes, collaborations with industry or other national or international funders 
  • Achieve a contribution towards Network activity costs from the overhead contribution of leveraged funding.

Given the HRB investment in Cancer Trials Ireland, applications from networks in the area of cancer are not eligible.

Applications should be made on behalf of a team made up of researchers, Health and Care practitioners, statisticians, triallists, trial design experts, PPI contributors, Data experts, and knowledge users as appropriate.

The applicant team may designate two Co-Lead Applicants for the network, at least one of whom must be a Health and Care Practitioner practising in Ireland. One or both will have to fulfil the typical requirements of a HRB Lead Applicant  in terms of the expected academic track record, and both are expected to demonstrate relevant experience and expertise in clinical trials and other interventions.

[1] HRB encourages formation of strategic partnerships with industry with the ultimate aim of advancing new technologies and innovations to benefit patients. We expect that the Network will put in place appropriate policies (publicly visible) to ensure transparency, and to safeguard the independence of the research team 



All applications must be made using the HRB Grant Electronic Management System (GEMS) . GEMS will open on September 23rd 2020 and will close automatically at 13:00 on Tuesday 1st December 2020.

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 sufficient time before the scheme closing date to review the application and approve it on GEMS. Please note that many host institutions specify internal deadlines for this procedure.



Dr Karen Crowley
Project Officer
Pre-Award Team
Health Research Board

Opening date
15:00 23-09-2020
Closing date
13:00 01-12-2020
Late February 2021
Decision expected
April 2021