There is a clear governance structure in place at the HRB Centre for Diet and Health Research. Work is coordinated by the Principal Investigator, Professor Ivan Perry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, Cork. Prof. Perry is the Chair of the Project Executive Steering Group which is composed of the PIs and Co-PIs participating in the project. The Scientific Advisory Group, Chaired by Professor Harry Rutter of the National Obesity Observatory in the UK, is composed of leading experts in Public Health. The project, co-funded by the HRB and the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, as part of the Food Research Health Initiative (FHRI), maintains close links with the FHRI Steering Group, chaired by Professor Albert Flynn, UCC. The project activities and outputs are relevant to a wide range of national and international stakeholders. The Administrative Coordinator for the project is Ms. Karen Mulcahy, UCC.
There are 5 Research Clusters within the project and each one is led by Co-Principal Investigators at University College Cork, University College Dublin, and the Institute for Public Health, as follows:
- Cluster 1 on Population Health Modelling is led by Prof. Ivan Perry (UCC) and Prof. Kevin Balanda (IPH).
- Cluster 2 on Diet, Obesity and Health in Pregnancy and Childhood is led by Prof. Cecily Kelleher (UCD) and Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe (UCD and NMH).
- Cluster 3 on Diet, Obesity and Health in Adults is led by Prof. Ivan Perry and Dr. Catherine Philips (UCC).
- Cluster 4 on Management of Morbid Obesity is led by Dr. Donal O’Shea (UCD and St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown) and Prof. Cecily Kelleher (UCD).
- Cluster 5 on Consumer Cognitive Response to Food is led by Dr. Mary McCarthy (UCC) and Prof. Patrick Wall (UCD).
The project has a 60-month Work Programme.
The Executive Steering Group is chaired by the Principal Investigator (Prof. Ivan Perry, UCC) and is composed of the PI and Co-PI for each of the research Clusters. UCC has the overall contractual responsibility for the project. The role of the Executive Steering Group is to coordinate the research activities across the project and ensure excellence in the scientific and technical work. At operational level, the Cluster Leaders (Co-PIs) ensure the scientific monitoring and coordination of their research group and collaborators.
Scientific Advisory Group Members include:
- Professor Harry Rutter, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group
- Ms Catherine Murphy, Assistant National Director, Health Promotion, HSE
- Professor Ivan Perry, Principal Investigator
- Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe, UCD
- Dr Kevin Balanda, Institute of Public Health
- Dr Mary McCarthy, UCC
- Dr Kenneth McKenzie, UCD
- Ms Karen Mulcahy, UCC, Centre Co-ordinator
- Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Safefood
The project maintains close links with the National Steering Group (FHRI). The Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) and the Health Research Board (HRB), in collaboration with the Department of Health and Children, funded five research projects under the Food for Health Research Initiative (FHRI) in 2007. This significant initiative supports a comprehensive research programme on: development of nationally representative food consumption databases; monitoring and surveillance of food safety, in particular chemical and microbial contaminants; development of a national nutrition phenotype database; a study on the relationship between diet, gut bacteria and health status in the elderly; and (in the case of the HRB project) the provision of an evidence base for public policy, health promotion and clinical practice on the prevention and management of obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders. A National Steering Group (FHRI) was established in January 2008 to ensure that the projects are aligned with national strategic plans for food and health research and to maximise the overall impact of the programme. Members include a representative of each of the five FHRI projects, and a representative from DAFF and HRB. These projects share data, harmonise methodologies and analyses, implement joint dissemination and training activities, and optimise interaction with key stakeholders.