Queen's University is playing a key role in the largest ever investment in academic medicine across Ireland, through an all-island partnership to support postgraduate trainee doctors.
The combined funding, approximately £10 million over the next five years, is from Wellcome Trust, participating universities including Queen's, the Public Health Agency’s Research and Development Division (HSC R&D) and Ireland’s Health Research Board.
The funding will provide integrated clinical and research training for a total intake of eight postgraduate trainee doctors per year across Ireland, for a five-year period. Applications open in autumn 2016 for intake in July 2017.
The programme application, fully supported by HSC R&D and Belfast HSC Trust and the Medical and Dental Training Agency, represents a total investment from HSC R&D Division of up to £1million.
Queen's 'key role'
Welcoming the investment, Northern Ireland Health Minister, Michelle O'Niell said: “All-island collaboration on this scale will make a meaningful and tangible difference for health care throughout Ireland. This programme has been successful in working across boundaries, organisations and government to achieve an outcome that will benefit students and patients.”
The Minister congratulated Professor Peter Maxwell from Queen’s University, who is the Director of the Clinical Academic Training Programme in Northern Ireland, and said: “Professor Maxwell has played a key role in securing this investment in clinical academic training for the whole island. This initiative demonstrates what can be achieved through working together across the island of Ireland."
“We face the same health issues, challenges and opportunities across Ireland and I want see further development of all-island networks to tap into the benefits that collaboration can potentially deliver.”
Tackling health problems
Professor Peter Maxwell from Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, said: “I am delighted Queen’s is part of this successful team of researchers which will receive the largest ever investment in academic medicine here, amounting to £10 million over the next five years.
“With this significant investment we can create an integrated all-Ireland clinical academic training programme, that will support and mentor trainee doctors to become skilled scientific investigators and leaders of future research teams, which can tackle important health problems such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness. This is a long term investment in training people who will make a difference to the health of people throughout Ireland and further afield.”
Professor Ian Young, Director of HSC R&D and Chief Scientific Advisor, DoH said: “The opportunity to participate in clinical research benefits all patients and this award recognises our strong training environment which provides for the next generation of research leaders. We particularly welcome the opportunities that will follow to promote research networking on the island of Ireland.”
Professor Maxwell was the lead applicant for Queen’s in the bid for funding. Queen’s is one of the six equal partners in the successful consortium (six medical schools combining resources – TCD, QUB, UCD, RSCI, UCC, NUIG).
The Irish team is led by Professor Michael Gill (TCD), Professor Peter Maxwell (Queen’s), Professor Paddy Mallon (UCD), Professor Michael Dennedy (NUI), Professor Joe Eustace (UCC), Professor Ray Stallings (RCSI) and Mr Mark Watson in Molecular Medicine Ireland and was one of only eight successful applications from across Britain and Ireland, a highly significant development for academic medicine.
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