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New health alliance aims to improve the quality of health of our citizens and boost local economy

Queen’s in collaboration with Ulster University and key Northern Ireland partners have today launched the ‘Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland’ (HIRANI).

This new alliance will help drive and support ambitious growth in the Life and Health Sciences Sector in Northern Ireland.

The alliance, which was announced today (Wednesday 5 June) in Philadelphia at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention, is one of the largest international Health and Life Sciences conferences.

The HIRANI is an alliance between both universities, health organisations and other industry bodies across Northern Ireland. It brings together academia, healthcare and business together to promote collaboration, investment and growth, and is supported by Invest NI, Public Health Agency, HSC R&D Office, the Department of Health (DoH) and Department for the Economy (DfE).

Commenting on the launch, Dr Rob Grundy, HIRANI Chief Executive Officer said: “The establishment of HIRANI gives us a unique opportunity to articulate the strengths we have in Northern Ireland to a global audience of collaborators and customers.

“It will offer a platform for collaboration across the sector in Northern Ireland which will serve to amplify impact on a global scale.”

The HIRANI will act as ‘one voice’ to enable the sector to collectively promote and strategically position itself nationally and internationally. It will do this by collaborating and connecting across business; capitalising on major opportunities; enabling innovation; tackling barriers to growth; and advocating for the health and wealth of the region and the citizens of Northern Ireland.

The ambition is that the result of this increase in activity will result in a surge of economic activity across the sector. It is expected that this will significantly impact on the region’s prosperity and lead to an increase in the exposure of the Northern Irish population to cutting edge medical innovation which will have a direct impact on health and wellbeing.

Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor from Queen’s University Belfast said: “At Queen’s, we recognise that responsive, high quality education, research and partnership is essential to ensure Northern Ireland continues to be innovative and globally competitive in the Health and Life Sciences sector.

“The HIRANI elevates us to a new level to achieve this.”

Ulster University Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Impact, Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan said: “At Ulster University, working with our partners in Queen’s and our network of industry and health organisations is a priority. Such collaborative working helps to deliver improved health and social care outcomes as
well as sustained economic growth for the region.

 “This partnership will allow the HIRANI to be the driving force for the development of the sector in Northern Ireland and beyond.”

Professor Paul Harkin, Managing Director & President, Almac Diagnostic Services said: “As a global organisation, dedicated to the advancement of human health, we are pleased to be invited to become an active member of this new research alliance for Northern Ireland.

“Almac is passionate in its pursuit of improvements to health and wellbeing, no more so than here at the home of our Global HQ. I believe that the combined knowledge, skill and passion of the NI health Alliance will be a significant force in driving improvement in the health and wellbeing of our people here in Northern Ireland. 

I look forward to working on this vital programme.”