NUI Galway Awarded Fellowships at National Launch

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Third level colleges in Dublin, Cork and Galway join forces to strengthen Ireland s profile in health research and announce fellowship programme to train clinician scientists.

NUI Galway has been awarded five fellowships through the newly launched company, Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI) which will coordinate health research activities in Ireland. The company will strengthen Ireland s profile in health research by combining and building on the biomedical research strengths of institutions involved: NUI Galway, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College and Royal College of Surgeons.

MMI will accelerate the translation of recent rapid advances in science into new ways of understanding disease and new diagnostics, drugs and devices to treat illness and protect the health of people in Ireland. Each of the newly appointed fellows will undertake a PhD in one of the five member institutions, the first 19 Fellows were recently selected through a rigorous process led by Molecular Medicine Ireland and will begin their studies next July.

Dr. Ruth Barrington, Chief Executive of Molecular Medicine Ireland said that Molecular Medicine Ireland had taken the initiative, with its member institutions, to train tomorrow s leaders in health research. With funding of €10m awarded by the Higher Education Authority, Molecular Medicine Ireland has put a fellowship programme in place to train medical graduates as clinician scientists. Clinician scientists are trained in both the clinical care of patients and in the biological sciences that are revolutionising the practice of medicine.

Professor of Medicine and Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, Professor Tim O Brien, said, "The establishment of MMI with funding from the HEA will allow Galway to play a major role in developing the next cadre of clinician scientists. We are developing a patient centred academic medical centre as a partnership between NUI Galway and the HSE and training clinician scientists who will have protected time for research is a key part of that strategy. The HSE and the HRB have already funded a clinical research facility in Galway which will play a major role in training these clinicians. The Galway facility is part of a network of such facilities in Ireland which has formed the Irish clinical research infrastructure network which will allow new treatments to be developed and ultimately enhance patient care in this country.

We are enthusiastic about the structured research education for clinician scientists to be provided through MMI, and in partnership with other medical schools MMI will work towards the development of a unified programme in translational medicine for the benefit of the nation's health."

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Education and Science launched Molecular Medicine Ireland recently in Dublin. Welcoming the formation of Molecular Medicine Ireland, Minister Hanafin praised the foresight of the heads of the five institutions in taking this important step towards developing a world-class system in health research in Ireland. "Molecular Medicine Ireland will assist the institutions build a sustainable system of world class teams in biomedical research, which is a key goal of Government science and technology policy," said Minister Hanafin.

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Terry Smith, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway, said, "The MMI-coordinated clinician scientist fellowship programme is an exciting new development which will significantly enhance NUI Galway's Biomedical Science and Engineering research programme. This initiative promises to train clinician scientists of the highest international calibre, and to contribute to the development of innovative therapeutic solutions to current medical challenges. I have no doubt that through MMI, novel insights will be gained in our understanding of the underlying basis of disease including, cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, reproductive disorders, and neuro-degenerative diseases."

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