The SPHeRE Network forms part of the SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Programme (formerly the HRB Scholars Programme), which is an exciting and innovative HRB-funded programme in population health and health services research (PHHSR). Unlike the SPHeRE Programme, which is run by three founding institutions (the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Cork (UCC) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), the Network is hosted solely by University College Cork.

The SPHeRE Network is an emerging national network connecting research, policy and practice in health services and population health. The network strives to bring together those who produce and use research and welcomes members who are interested in developing dialogue between research and health action. The network aims to inform policy through events hosted by SPHeRE, such as policy dialogues and dissemination seminars. Although the network is in the early stages of formation, we are embarking on a process of actively seeking to connect the various stakeholders in population health and health service research in Ireland. The network will create opportunities for developing research, which supports the information needs of those involved in policy and service provision.

Staff at the NHSRI will assist with the development of this research network, by working closely with the SPHeRE team, specifically in liaison with the SPHeRE Assistant Director for Networks and Knowledge Translation. The SPHeRE Programme received funding to provide education and training for five cohorts of PhD scholars annually (2013-2017). Staff at the NHSRI will also be responsible for contributing to the long-term sustainability of the SPHeRE Network to ensure that the network can flourish as a viable, stand-alone entity should the funding for the PhD programme expire after the 2017 cohort.

The NHSRI collaborates with public health agencies in Cork and with colleagues in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin City University (DCU), University College Dublin (UCD), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). The NHSRI builds on the successful inter-institutional collaboration and partnership that has developed and sustained the SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Programme (formerly the HRB Scholars Programme). The Department of Health has prepared a national public health strategy “Your Health is Your Wealth: a Policy Framework for a Healthier Ireland 2012 – 2020”. We will continue to work with our partners in UCC, in statutory and community agencies in Cork and with colleagues at national and international level to contribute to the success of this strategy.

In due course, the National Health Services Research Institute (NHSRI) will also provide an agency function for the national research community in certain shared areas of interest in research. These interests include:

  • research funding
  • grant applications
  • governance of health research and research projects
  • research prioritisation 

The NHSRI is in the process of creating an invaluable collation of health services research, health systems research and health policy research being conducted in University College Cork. This collation will include research interests, current projects, funding and grant information for each relevant Department, School or College in the University pertaining to health services research.

Once we have collated the information, it will be shared across the university and with other relevant organisations and institutes in order to enhance collaborative opportunities.

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