HRCI 2024 Position Paper
A recently released report by Health Research Charities Ireland (HRCI), a national umbrella organisation of over 45 charities in Ireland, has provided some excellent guidelines and recommendations for how we can all work to improve health research in Ireland. These 3 recommendations are based on the views of the HCRI board and members, results gathered from forum events, and engagement with many key stakeholders.
Recommendation 1: Increase capital expenditure in health research
Ireland’s level of Government-investment in research and development currently stands at just 0.29% GDP, putting us 5th from the bottom amongst OECD countries. HRCI are calling for a significant expansion in State funding to vital organisations like the Health Research Board (HRB) as well as research infrastructure in areas including digital health, clinical research infrastructure, research ethics committees, biobanks, patient registries and PPI supports.
Recommendation 2: Progress health research legislative reform
Updated legislation is required in a number of key areas which are currently hindering healthcare research in Ireland.
In matters of research ethics, where under-resourcing is leading to significant delays in research, the National Research Ethics Committees Bill would significantly reform the research ethics framework for health research in Ireland. Despite this promise, progress has stalled on this bill.
Similarly, the current legislation regarding research biobanks in Ireland is inadequate and hindering their development as a vital resource healthcare research. Many European countries have already updated their own legislation in this regard and could serve as a model for our own consideration.
Recommendation 3: Include health research charities and wider civil society in national research decision-making
The need to embed research within the healthcare system as well as increase public participation and engagement is well documented. Whilst there has been progress in this area recently, with the likes of the PPI Ignite Network continuing to improve links between researchers and the public, this progress is not reflected in all areas.
In addition to further public involvement, integration of charity group perspectives into matters of healthcare research is also key to widening research participation. The role of charities within healthcare research is substantial and stretches beyond simple provision of funding but also public communication of findings and advocating for community representation and relevancy.
The full report can be found here and we would encourage anyone with an interest in the area to give appropriate consideration to how you can help implement these recommendations.