The NI Clinical Research Network (NICRN) undertakes Gastrointestinal (GI) research throughout Northern Ireland. The NICRN is part of a UK-wide initiative to provide opportunities for patients and clinicians to participate in high-quality clinical research.

The NICRN aims to:

  • Promote GI research within Northern Ireland;
  • Attract clinical trials in GI disease to Northern Ireland;
  • Conduct clinical trials across Northern Ireland to the highest standards of quality and safety;
  • Provide infrastructure to facilitate the start-up of new trials in GI;
  • Improve access for GI patients to new cutting-edge treatments.


Areas of interest include the following:

  • Providing access to novel therapies through partnership with the commercial sector.
  • Evaluation of novel diagnostic tools in GI medicine.

Dr Patrick Allen

Gastrointestinal – Clinical Lead

I am a Consultant Gastroenterologist working at Ulster Hospital, South Eastern trust and have been a consultant since 2010.  I previously trained at St Vincent’s Melbourne (tertiary referral centre), in therapeutic endoscopy and IBD and was involved in over 15 clinical trials during my fellowship.

I lead a GI research team in Gastroenterology- where we deliver phase 2/3 trials as well as being NI lead for multicentre studies such as ELEVATE UC, PREDICT and ICARE. I have also been the Chief Investigator for a UK and Ireland Real World Evaluation of a new oral drug for Ulcerative Colitis and took on the role of Chief Investigator for the UK in a global Phase 2 Ulcerative Colitis trial.

I have actively participated in clinical research and  have been overseeing and recruiting to over 10 current projects in our GI department. I am a member of various societies including BSG, ISG, ECCO and AGA. I was previously elected chair for the 4 Nations at the BSG and am on the BSG IBD committee. I have been chair (formerly co-chair) of the NI GI research network since 2016.

Contact email:


Gastrointestinal – Clinical Lead