Career framework principles

The following seven principles are central to all calls created and applications made under the HRB's career development programmes.

Actionable knowledge is about creating new knowledge and translating it into policy and practice, in order to have a wider impact. This impact could include, but is not limited to enhanced patient care, improved patient outcomes, and changes in health policy.

To do this researchers and health and care practitioners need to develop an appropriate set of skills and competencies. These include, but are not limited to:

  • creating new knowledge 
  • networking, collaborating and influencing change 
  • teaching and mentoring other health researchers 
  • testing and translating knowledge 
  • supporting and/or lead research in academic and/or health service organisations
  • implementing evidence-focused approaches to increase uptake of knowledge in health policy and practice for wider impact. 

To tackle complex health challenges, researchers will need input from a wide range of disciplines and sectors. These may include: academic researchers; health and care practitioners; the education sector; industry; policy/decision-makers; charities and hospital groups.

Complex health research questions and global challenges, coupled with the technology and big data revolution, also mean researchers must collaborate to explore new frontiers and novel approaches in response to these new challenges and constant system change.

Researchers, professionals and innovators should be given the opportunity to:

  • collaborate
  • integrate with different disciplines 
  • work in teams and partnerships 
  • understand, value and trust each other’s expertise and perspective 
  • be creative, communicative and open.

Funding models, rewards structures, assessment criteria and review processes, training and mentoring, as well as prospects for emerging fields and career flexibility and mobility should reflect and enable these key opportunities.


No single approach suits all situations. Different mechanisms and approaches will be needed to achieve this. Funding agencies, research institutions, universities, clinical and other practice-based providers, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and other public or private healthcare organisations will need to demonstrate flexibility to achieve it.

Career training and development initiatives should:

  • be delivered through flexible mechanisms which reflect the wide range of individuals involved in creating new knowledge and translating it into practice. These include: - health and care practitioners, scientists, social scientists, epidemiologists, health economists, statisticians, bioinformaticians, knowledge users, patient groups, public groups, policy-makers and decision-makers
  • take account of the diversity of training, support and development needed by these individuals.

All researchers will need to adapt and respond to system change. This could include new models, policies and practices, new capacity building needs for experts in emerging disciplines and/or with specific skill sets. They also need to adapt and respond to new communication, knowledge exchange and outreach approaches.


All researchers are encouraged to support an Open Science approach and embrace the FAIR principles. The aim is to increase sharing, use and reuse of research data and other research outputs. 
Open science leads to:

  • increased awareness of results
  • quicker translation of research findings into practice
  • better reproducibility of results
  • increased return of public investment
  • less research waste

Training and professional development are an essential part of any career path. We continuously identify specific skills or expertise needs or gaps in the Irish health system and respond by supporting specific training and development opportunities. We also offer several opportunities annually through summer courses, placement overseas and summer scholarships for undergraduates.


Consideration must be given to alternative metrics and indicators to assess the researcher’s contribution to research. In addition to quantitative academic metrics, such as peer-reviewed publications, applicants will need to demonstrate the overall impact of their research on knowledge. They should capture qualitative metrics which measure the overall value, quality and impact of their work. This evaluation approach is in line with the DORA Statement (San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment) to which the HRB is a signatory. 


To build health research capacity through training and development requires broad commitment, structured collaborations, participatory leadership, openness and flexibility. This is needed both with and from other key players and stakeholders in the system. Key stakeholders include: the Higher Education Authority (HEA); Department of Health (DoH); Department of Education and Skills (DES); Health Service Executive (HSE); hospital groups; charities and/or other health agencies; higher education institutions and other research organisations.