NI Clinical Research Network: Research and Engagement Event at Titanic Belfast with our Partners ABPI

February 5, 2024

Pictured (L-R) Prof Frank Kee, Mr Oliver Buckley-Mellor, Prof Mike Clarke, Prof Jonathan Jackson, Mrs Marion Laverty and Professor Ian Young

On Friday 26th January 2024, we had the pleasure of welcoming over 50 research leaders from across Northern Ireland to our Research and Engagement Event at the iconic Titanic Hotel, Belfast. The aim of the day was to engage, discuss and agree the way forward for our research strategy in NI. One of the main focus’s of the day was the Lord James O’Shaughnessy Review of Clinical Trials in the UK and the implications for NI.



Clinical Research Director Professor Jonathan Jackson opened the event and welcomed all attendees including HSC Research Directors, Consultants, Clinical Leads and Primary Investigators, Senior leaders from the Public Health Agency and Department of Heath as well as research colleagues from Queens University, Ulster university and Centre for Public Health.


Professor Ian Young, Chief Scientific Advisor for NI (Department of Health) presented on the Priorities for Research in NI and the advantages of the new Department of Health research strategy currently being developed for NI.


Mr Oliver Buckley Mellor, Innovation and Research Policy Manager for ABPI presented on the short to medium term priorities for implementing the UK wide vision for clinical research and the O’Shaughnessy review. Highlighting the overall decline in clinical research trials in the UK and what NI can do to recover as part of the UK Life Sciences Vision.


Professor Frank Kee, Director Centre for Public Health in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queens University, Belfast presented on Multi-Morbidity and the need to work together to improve care through collaborative clinical research. Highlighting how specific disease areas whether mental or physical are linked and how important having a research strategy is, so NI can target these areas.


Our Director Professor Jackson then introduced a Breakout Discussion Session, focusing on collaborative ways of working together including a research cluster model for all clinical research speciality groups and a five trust approach in NI for research trials and clinical research data management.



The final presentation of the day from Professor Mike Clarke, Director MRC Methodology Hub, (School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queens University Belfast) centred on Methodology in Clinical Research and Trial Design. Highlighting the importance of targeting our strengths in specific areas in Northern Ireland to achieve success.

A fantastic day, bringing together the research community in NI, celebrating what we do well and planning our next steps for the future. A theme of the day was, Research is not an add-on to clinical care, it is not a privilege, our patients in NI deserve access to cutting edge treatment and we will work tirelessly to ensure this for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.