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2014 Press Releases

New research leaders appointed

10 Jan 2014

Professor Patricia Kearney is one of six new HRB Research Leaders. The investment of €9 million will address strategic gaps and leadership capacity in population health and health services research in Ireland. 

All of the research programmes are specifically focused on delivering relevant and timely evidence that can be used in health care decision-making and are designed in consultation with leading healthcare decision makers.

Working in partnership with the National Clinical Care Programme in Diabetes, Prof Kearney aims to improve patient care and reduce the preventable clinical, financial and societal burden of diabetes.

According to Prof Kearney, ‘Diabetes is a common, disabling and deadly condition. In Ireland it is estimated that nearly one in 10 adults have diabetes, many of whom are undiagnosed. Currently diabetes costs the state almost €580 million per annum and this will rise significantly in coming decades. Given the stated changes to move more care of diabetes into primary care, this programme of work will address specific gaps by determining the real prevalence and incidence of diabetes in Ireland, define the costs of current care models and develop a lifestyle intervention for prevention of diabetes during pregnancy’.

Many of the HRB research programmes are addressing areas which have traditionally been under-funded, but are crucial, such as health economics and biostatistics. All the research leaders will create a solid foundation of expertise and evidence to deliver better health, reduced health care costs and new approaches to care that benefit patients, care providers and the economy.

Teresa Maguire, Head of Population Health and Health Services Research at the HRB says, ‘The HRB Research Leaders Awards are a significant investment to ensure that our health research community in Ireland are in a position to provide strong research and evidence in relation to current, emerging and often complex challenges in healthcare that of concern to decision makers, practitioners and policy makers.

This funding for leaders at a senior level complements other investments made by the HRB in the last four years at early and mid-career level. The awards will also create 22 new research jobs as the HRB Research Leaders grow their existing teams to support the work programmes.

The six new HRB Research Leaders will deliver research programmes which will: 

  • Develop an internationally recognised research group focusing on the design and evaluation of effective behavioural interventions that will improve our health (Dr Molly Byrne, Lecturer and Health Psychologist, NUI, Galway).
  • Focus on the need to maximise prevention and treatment strategies for the increasing numbers living with chronic conditions such as diabetes (Professor Patricia Kearney, Research Professor at University College Cork).
  • Assess the impact of online psychological interventions for people with multiple illnesses including chronic pain (Dr Brian McGuire, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology, NUI, Galway).
  • Improve the national infrastructure to be able to accurately count and compare the costs and cost effectiveness of non-acute health services in Ireland (Prof Ciaran O Neill, Professor of Health Economics at NUI, Galway).
  • Assess the costs and benefits of personalised healthcare interventions to assist decision making in a time of resource constraints (Professor John Forbes, a health economics expert based at University of Limerick).
  • Use mathematical modelling and statistical techniques to integrate large health information datasets to improve decision making in relation to provision of health care interventions (Professor Cathal Walsh, Professor in Statistics at Trinity College Dublin).

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF