Child Health

The NI Clinical Research Network (NICRN) serves as a platform for conducting clinical research in Child Health throughout Northern Ireland.

The NICRN aims to:

  • Provide links between National Trials recruiting within the paediatric population and Northern Irish paediatricians and patients
  • Facilitates communication between pan European Connect 4 Children Trials and well as trials supported through the UK Children’s Medicines Research Group and the National Institute for Health Research
  • Provide support for local clinicians who would like to become Principal Investigators for trials involving their patients, to allow equality of access to innovative research throughout the UK and Ireland.


Areas of interest include the following:

  • Paediatric Oncology
  • New-born respiratory care trials
  • The evolution of neonatal bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Cleft lip and/or palate
  • Other Perinatal Research

Dr David Sweet – BHSCT

Child Health Clinical Lead

David Sweet MD MRCP(Ire) FRCPCH

David Sweet graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1990 and trained in Paediatrics and Neonatal Medicine in Northern Ireland and Western Australia. 

Appointed as a consultant Neonatologist in the Regional Neonatal Unit in the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast in 2003 and Honorary Clinical Lecturer for the Dept. of Child Health, Queen’s University in 2007.  35 peer reviewed publications and review articles to date, mostly related to new-born respiratory care and the evolution of neonatal bronchopulmonary dysplasia.  

David is the Northern Ireland Co-ordinator of several multicentre trials and maintains an active interest in Perinatal Research and Evidence-based medicine. He is first author of all 5 editions of the European Guidelines on the Management of RDS. – 2007 – 2019.

David is a co-PI and clinical lead for Child Health for the NI Clinical Research Network.

Contact email:

Dr Anthony McCarthy – BHSCT

Child Health Clinical Lead

Dr McCarthy works as a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.  He was appointed in April 2000 and since then has taken the lead in the management of all children diagnosed with solid tumours under the age of 16 years.  He has a strong interest in the follow-up of adolescents and adults who are long-term survivors of childhood cancer and has been actively involved in qualitative research specifically looking at this group of patients.

He has held senior education roles in NIMDTA and RCPCH and as a result has been able to promote education and training of junior doctors in the UK and Ireland. He has acted as Principle Investigator in over 30+ national and International clinical trials in childhood cancer over the past 20 years. He brings that experience of clinical trials in Paediatric Oncology across to General Paediatrics and Neonatology.

Anthony has been a PI and co-clinical lead for Child Health for the NI Clinical Research Network for several years and continues to play an active role in promoting Paediatric research in Northern Ireland

Contact email: