Trinity College Dublin: HRB investment announced for the Trinity Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility

The CRF at St James’s is one of five clinical research facilities to receive several million of the €22 million funding announced, which aims to keep Ireland at the forefront of clinical research and trials and increase opportunities for patients to participate in them and benefit from them. It also increases the supports available to investigators to drive more investigator-led clinical trials.

The purpose of the funding is to accelerate experimental medicine research to provide access to and adoption of drugs, devices and diagnostic tests to ensure inclusivity across diverse patient populations, perform at a level comparable with the best international centres.

The Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility at St James’s Hospital is jointly governed by St James’s Hospital and Trinity College. It is funded by the Health Research Board, St James’s Hospital and Trinity. It is fully embedded in St James’s Hospital and is central to the clinical research activity taking place on campus. Located at the heart of the hospital, it supports and conducts a wide range of studies from observational studies to complex clinical trials.

The mission of the Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility is to improve health outcomes by leading and enabling high quality, innovative patient focused clinical research.

Professor Martina Hennessy, Director of the Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility said:

This funding has allowed us to undertake early phase complex clinical studies and trials that have led directly to patients being able to safely access ground-breaking new drugs and novel therapies that will shape the future of medical practice.

HRB investment In the sector over the last decade has been a significant driver of improved practice and brought about profound change and improvement in Ireland’s capacity to undertake academic and commercial clinical trials.

The HRB investment is significant and importantly is matched by commitments from our hospital (St James’ Hospital) and university partners ( Trinity’s School of Medicine). This’ whole system approach’ paves the way for the development of the academic health science campus of the future where integrated missions In teaching research and clinical service are focussed on creating impact for patients and families.

This new funding announced today will build on significant achievements made through previous HRB investment in the area of clinical research infrastructure and focus firmly on supporting regulated and non-regulated clinical trials. The €22 million aims to:

Increase accessibility to trials for patients and healthy volunteers
Improve the supports available to investigators to drive an increase in investigator-led clinical trials
Further integrate clinical trials infrastructure and capability within the health system so they are delivered as part of usual care
Upgrade national CRF/Cs to international standing
Dr Teresa Maguire, Director of Research Strategy & Funding at the HRB, said:

Since 2010, the Health Research Board (HRB) has strategically invested in the development of clinical trials and their enabling infrastructure. The need for, and benefit of this investment was never more evident than in Ireland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It enabled us to react quickly and robustly to the crisis and participate in major international clinical trials to find effective treatments for COVID-19, such as the WHO’s Solidarity trial and the REMAP-CAP trial.

This new round of HRB investment in CRF/Cs will build on these achievements. It will further prepare us for any future healthcare emergencies, and more generally drive a step change in the quality, capacity and accessibility of clinical trial infrastructure across Ireland, which will lead to improved patient care and outcomes.

This open and competitive call involved an extensive application and international peer review process, and the five CRF/C’s approved for funding are: UCD Clinical Research Centre, Clinical Research Facility (UCC), Clinical Research Facility Galway (NUIG), Children’s Health Ireland Clinical Research Facility (RCSI) and the Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility (Trinity College Dublin).