News and Views

UCC clinical research facility receives over €11m to fund new treatment discoveries

11 Oct 2021
  • Commitment of €11.2m from Health Research Board, UCC, Mercy University Hospital and South/Southwest Hospital Group to Clinical Research Facility UCC.
  • Clinical Research Facility UCC has supported 154 clinical trials in the past five years
  • Studies have led to market authorisation of 11 new medications including new  treatments for asthma, cystic fibrosis, food allergies and renal disease.

A UCC-based clinical research facility which has paved the way for new medicines to treat cystic fibrosis, asthma, allergies, and other ailments has secured over €11m in funding to continue its groundbreaking work for the next five years.

The Health Research Board (HRB) has today (Monday October 11) announced that it is to provide €5.3m in funding to the Clinical Research Facility UCC, a HRB centre supporting clinical trials to improve health and care. This allocation has been matched with a further €5.9m from University College Cork (UCC) and partners in the South/Southwest Hospital Group (SSWHG).

Located at the Mercy Hospital and Cork University Hospital, led by Professor Joe Eustace, and hosted by University College Cork, the Clinical Research Facility UCC was founded in 2010 and has conducted 154 clinical trials in its latest five-year funding cycle alone.

These trials have supported studies that have directly led to market authorisation and licencing for eleven new drugs including treatments for asthma, cystic fibrosis, allergies and renal disease.

Sitting at the interface between UCC, the SSWHG, and affiliated hospitalso such as the BonSecours Cork, the Clinical Research Facility UCC supports 70 investigators who conduct patient-focussed clinical research.

Studies at the Clinical Research Facility UCC during the latest funding cycle have led to the publication of seven papers in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, and a total of six of UCC’s 20 most cited publications from 2018 were supported by the Clinical Research Facility UCC.

Embedded within UCC’s College of Medicine and Health and chaired by Head of College Prof Helen Whelton, Clinical Research Facility UCC is currently conducting three national-leading research projects on Covid-19.

The HRB’s funding comes following a stringent international review process which assessed Clinical Research Facility UCC’s work to date.

Welcoming the funding announcement Prof Joe Eustace, Director of Clinical Research Facility UCC said:

“The renewed funding of the Clinical Research Facility UCC, announced by the HRB today,  will allow us to continue to integrate the expertise and resources of the University and its affiliated hospitals in order to conduct impactful clinical trials across diverse disease areas, including in the treatment of Covid-19.  One of our core goals over the next 5 years of funding will be  develop direct patient involvement at all levels in the planning and conduct of our research.”

Professor Helen Whelton, Head of the College of Medicine and Health and Chief Academic Officer for the SSWHG expressed her appreciation of the commitment and dedication of Professor Eustace and the CRF team.

"The funding for the facility is particularly good news for patients in the region, given that health systems underpinned by a vibrant research culture enjoy better outcomes of care. The award recognises the excellence of the team of Clinical Research Facility UCC research scientists led by Prof Eustace. This team works hand in hand with clinicians and scientists locally, nationally and internationally to support the growing engagement in patient focused research in our hospitals and wider health service. UCC and the SSWHG are actively developing integrated support systems for research. Clinical Research Facility UCC is an essential component of this support and of our plans for the SSWHG as an Academic Health Science System," she said.

In congratulating Prof. Eustace & the Clinical Research Facility team, Prof John Cryan Vice President for Research & Innovation highlighted “the importance of this investment in further accelerating patient-facing clinical research building on a very strong foundation in terms of publications, innovation development and patient care.”

Clinical Research Facility UCC’s success was revealed as part of a wider announcement from the HRB which today committed a total of €22m in funding to a total of five Clinical Research Facilities/Centres.

The funding aims to: 

  • Increase accessibility to trials for patients and healthy volunteers
  • Improve the supports available to investigators to drive an increase in investigator-led clinical trials
  • Further integrate clinical trials infrastructure and capability within the health system so they are delivered as part of usual care
  • Upgrade national Clinical Research Facilities/Centres to international standing.


University College Cork

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