Press Release

Tánaiste announces €10 million capital funding for Health Research Board

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D. today (Monday 30 May) announced the allocation of €10 million capital for 2005 to the Health Research Board. This is the highest level of capital funding ever provided to the HRB in one year.

Speaking at the HRB Clinician Scientists Awards in Dublin, the Tánaiste said : “The increases in funding in recent years for the HRB – of over 300% in revenue funding alone between 1999 and 2005 – is testimony to Government’s recognition of the importance of research to both health and the wider economy. The HRB has a revenue budget this year of over €27million.”

The Tánaiste said this level of investment by the Government supports the recommendations of the key report “Making Knowledge Work for Health – A Strategy for Health Research” published in 2001.

“In that document the Government recognised the importance of research as a key factor in promoting health, combating disease, reducing disability and improving quality of care and increasing effectiveness and efficiency in the Health service. Today’s health research is tomorrow’s health service.”

The Clinician Scientists Awards are designed to tap the research potential in hospitals by giving consultants ‘time out’ to carry out high-level international research, which is of strategic benefit to the hospitals and will translate into improved care for patients.

The awards this year are to:

Dr Joseph Keane, St James’s Hospital for research related to development of new treatment and vaccine strategies for Tuberculosis

Dr Mary Cannon, Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin for research related to early detection and prevention of schizophrenia.

The value of the clinician awards is €3 million euro.

This is the first occasion protected time has been offered to leading medical researchers to focus their expertise and experience on research. It is a critical step in supporting the translation of research at the bench into treatment that is of benefit to patients.

The appointment of world-class, medically qualified researchers is critical to making Ireland internationally competitive in health research and strengthening links between the universities, research hospitals and the healthcare industry.