The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, has launched a new Academy to bring together Ireland's leading medical researchers to promote excellence in biomedical research, with the ultimate aim of improving the health of the population.
The Irish Academy of Medical Sciences (IAMS) will draw on the knowledge of Ireland's top medical scientists to provide an independent resource of expertise on complex issued related to medical science and ethics to ensure a coherent and integrated policy on health research at a national and international level.
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) academics Professor Orla Hardiman, Professor Brian Harvey, Professor Elaine Kay, Professor Gerry McElvaney and Professor Jochen Prehn are among the founding Fellows of the Academy.
Until now, Ireland was one of the few European countries with no established body to represent its medical researchers in this way. IAMS will allow Ireland to actively participate in medical sciences interchanges at the European level. The Academy will partner with state agencies and industry as an independent resource of expertise in medical science and healthcare.
"I welcome the formation of the new Academy, which harnesses the significant expertise that already exists within Irish academic medicine,” said Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn. “Excellence in research ultimately leads to excellent care for patients. The strategic partnerships that will arise from the establishment of the Academy will contribute to building a knowledge-based economy, sustainable employment opportunities for Irish graduates and the overall improvement of Irish society and its healthcare system. I congratulate the founding Council of IAMS for this important initiative, which I am confident will ensure Ireland's position at the forefront of biomedical research into the future."
To coincide with the launch, the Academy published its first position paper on the future direction for biomedical research in Ireland. Among the issues highlighted is the importance of sustainable funding for biomedical research.
"While the level of investment in biomedical research in Ireland increased substantially during the boom years, it is essential that this momentum be maintained,” said Professor Dermot Kelleher, Honorary President, Irish Academy of Medical Sciences. “In terms of developing the key industry relationships for the knowledge economy, it is critical that the infrastructure in our teaching hospitals is seen as a source of real academic strength in terms of expertise and capacity in clinical research."
He continued, "Investing in publicly-funded biomedical research, and in particular clinically-based research, will lead to significant economic benefit, job creation, added value to the knowledge economy and individual and societal gain for Ireland. It will also assure the development and retention of the brightest research capacity and capability in the country."