Lord James O’Shaughnessy visits Belfast to meet with key members of the Health Care Research and Development Community in Northern Ireland

December 21, 2023


Lord James O’Shaughnessy joined the Research and Development community at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast on Wednesday 13th December 2023. The event focused on; R&D strategy in NI; HSC Infrastructure in NI; leading clinical research in NI; and the life and health sciences environment in NI.


Lord O’Shaughnessy spoke to the recommendations listed in the Commercial clinical trials in the UK: the Lord O’Shaughnessy review. This was commissioned to offer recommendations on how commercial clinical trials can help the life sciences sector unlock UK health, growth and investment opportunities.


Extensive engagement with leaders from industry, medical research charities, academia, the NHS, regulators and other partners in clinical trials has highlighted a high degree of consensus about both the areas of UK success, and where action is needed to further competitiveness. Discussion regarding how the recommendations relate best to Northern Ireland was most informative. The commissioned review offers 27 recommendations set out in the full report here.


Lord James O’Shaughnessy said:

“There have been a number of positive changes since my report was launched. The MHRA is performing much better, there is significant progress towards a national approach to contracting and costing, and most importantly the number of – and patients recruited to – industry-sponsored trials in the UK is growing again.


Professor Ian Young, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Health Northern Ireland, said:

“In Northern Ireland, we are committed to delivering on a UK-wide vision within Health and Social Care Research & Development. Working with partners, we are progressing both UK-wide and local actions to support the recommendations, helping NI to continue to grow clinical research, which is ultimately benefitting our patients, researchers and the wider population.”


The NI Clinical Research Network will also be holding an event to discuss the findings, and the 27 recommendations in the O’Shaughnessy Report, at local level in January 2024. This will provide an opportunity for NI Primary Investigators, Clinical Leads, HSC R&D and R&D Directors, across all Trusts, to get together to develop and agree on the strategic future of commercial clinical research in Northern Ireland. The event will be run in partnership with APBI.


By Emma Byrne


Photograph :(L – R) Dr Frances Burns, Lead for NI Trusted Research Environment, Department of Health, Dr Aaron Peace, Consultant Cardiologist, Director of R&D and CEO of C-TRIC WHSCT,  Dr Melanie Morris Operational Director NI Cancer Trials and Belfast Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, Dr Paul Biagioni Senior Manager NI Clinical Research Network, Professor Jonathan Jackson, Director NI Clinical Research Network, Professor Ian Young Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of R&D for HSCNI, Lord James O’Shaughnessy Former Health Minister and Senior Partner at Newmarket Strategy, Professor Sir Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, Department of health NI, Mr Bernard McGuigan Life Sciences Lead and Client Manager for Invest NI, Dr Janice Baillie Assistant Director HSC R&D Division NI, Professor Judy Bradley Director of Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, NICRF and Director of iREACH Health and Professor Danny McAuley Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, QUB and Programme Director MRC/NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme and NIHR Scientific Director for Research programmes.



Commercial clinical trials in the UK: the Lord O’Shaughnessy review – final report – GOV.UK (