News roundup


HRB welcomes appointment of new Chairperson and Board members

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has appointed Professor Bernie Hannigan as Chairperson of the HRB Board.

Picture of HRB Chairperson Prof Bernie Hannigan

Prof Hannigan (pictured, right) brings strong and relevant experience to the role. She is currently Director of Research, Translation and Innovation in Public Health England and before that was Director of R&D and Chief Scientific Adviser for Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. She has an esteemed career in academic leadership with the University of Ulster, working with research teams, securing extensive research funding, publishing more than 100 papers and two books and mentoring PhD students. Read Prof Hannigan’s full bionote.

Welcoming the appointment, Dr Mairead O Driscoll, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board (HRB) said:

"Strong leadership and direction will be key for the HRB as we embark on a new strategy and as we emerge from the shadow of COVID-19. It is fitting that we have a new Chairperson who brings a wealth of experience, both as a researcher and as a leader. Prof Hannigan has been a long-serving member of our Board and I know she will help ensure we continue to build on the HRB’s long-established reputation for excellent research and evidence that drives innovation, informs decision-making and makes a real difference to people’s health, and the delivery of care."

Incoming Chairperson of the HRB, Professor Hannigan said:

"The new HRB strategy clearly demonstrates what can be achieved in health research if we are ambitious, work together, and above all, put the needs of the public, patients and carers at the heart of what we do. As Chairperson of the Board, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and staff at the HRB to ensure health research is translated into real benefits for people’s health, the health and social care system, and the economy."

Minister Donnelly also appointed three new Board Members who will bring a wide range of expertise across health research, health care delivery and governance to the HRB Board. The appointees are Dr Clíona Saidléar, the Executive Director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Dr Terry McWade, CEO of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and Dr Julie Ling, who is CEO of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC). You can read their full bionotes below.

Professor Hannigan said:

"The depth and breadth of experience among these new Board members will add to the exceptional skills we already have to provide leadership, oversee governance and guide the HRB to deliver on the level of ambition within the new HRB strategy."

The new board members are:

Dr Julie Ling

Dr Ling has been CEO of the EAPC since January 2015. The EAPC is the leading palliative care organisation in Europe, representing 60 member associations from 33 countries across Europe and with individual members from 52 countries globally. The EAPC is currently a partner in five European Union-funded research projects.    

Originally a nurse, Julie has worked in palliative care for nearly 35 years in both adult and children’s palliative care. She has held a variety of posts in clinical care; management; research; policy and the voluntary sector. As a former Health Research Board Research Fellow, she successfully completed a PhD by research. Julie also has an MBA from Trinity College Dublin, and is Chair of the World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance, a global palliative care organisation that lobbies and advocates for the provision of palliative care as part of universal health coverage.   

Dr Terry McWade

Dr McWade is CEO of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He previously held the positions of CEO and Co-Founder of Valitacell (an early stage biotechnology company), Deputy CEO in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, CEO Exceptis Technologies, Principle in the Boston Consulting Group (London) and CEO Servier Laboratories (Denmark).

He is a Board member of the National Treatment Purchase Fund and Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, and has been a former Chair of the European Vaccine Initiative and Deputy Chair of the Dublin University Dental Hospital. He qualified in medicine from TCD and holds an MBA (INSEAD), MSc Healthcare Ethics and Law, Diploma in Child Health and Diploma in Corporate Governance (UCD). He is a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors.

Dr Clíona Saidléar

Dr Saidléar is the Executive Director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI), national policy specialists on sexual violence. Clíona is an NUIG graduate who went on to earn her MScEcon and PhD from the Aberystwyth School of International Politics.

She has chaired the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Awareness Raising subcommittee, the Charities’ Data Protection working group and the Specialist group on retrospective reporting. She currently chairs the Children Living with Domestic and Sexual Violence Ngo group. She was a Ministerial appointment to the Higher Education Institutions’ sexual harassment framework technical group and now sits on the HEA advisory body. She has represented Ireland at the UNCSW and is currently an adviser for a UNWomen project in the Western Balkans and Turkey on the Istanbul Convention as well as working with European NGO partners on developing sexual violence specialization and trans-European indicators of same.

For more information, contact: 

Gillian Markey, Communications Manager: / 087 2288514