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Steering Group

Janice Bailie

Janice Bailie completed a PhD in Biochemistry at Queen's University in 1990, and post-doctoral research in Ophthalmology at Queen’s, and in the Radiation Science Group, Ulster University.  From 1998-2005, she was Divisional R&D Manager in Molecular Biology at Randox Laboratories Ltd. 

She joined the HSC R&D Office as Programme Manager in January 2005, and has since managed a programme of infrastructure initiatives and funding awards such as the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Networks, the Northern Ireland Clinical Trials Unit, the Clinical Research Facility and the Northern Ireland Biobank.  Janice was appointed to the role of Assistant Director of HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency, in June 2013.

Jennifer Brennan

Dr. Jennifer Brennan is Director of Research, Development and Innovation at the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA). Prior to joining THEA, Jennifer was Ireland’s National Contact Point for the European the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) funding programme. She represents Ireland’s interests in the MSCA programme as National Delegate to the MSCA Programme Committee. Jennifer has a background in research and has worked in academia in the UK, USA and Ireland. She is particularly interested in researcher career development, gender in research, and responsible research & innovation and is the Deputy Chair of the National Forum on Research Integrity.

Anne Cody

Anne has a background in cell biology and spent 10 years as a researcher in Germany and Ireland. She has been working with the Health Research Board in a variety of roles over the last 15 years. She is currently responsible for the Pre-Award side of research funding, ensuring implementation of the strategy within a changing environment through funding calls and other activities. She has been deeply involved in building up clinical research infrastructure and capacity in Ireland over the last 13 years.

Claire Collins

Claire CollinsPhD (Public Health Medicine & Epidemiology), MSocSc, BSocSc, Dip Stats.  Director of Research, Irish College of General Practitioners

Claire has over 25 years of experience conducting and teaching qualitative and quantitative research in the academic, statutory and private sectors and has been the ICGP Director of Research since 2004 with the responsibility for the promotion, development and implementation of research in general practice. She is a member of the Executive Board of the European General Practice Research Network (EGPRN) and is the current Chair of its Research Strategy Committee.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.

Eamon Coyne

Eamon has worked in ICT with the national Health Service Executive in Ireland for the past 15 years.
Involved in the successful delivery of various regional projects and national projects, he now works on international projects.
A patient centred focus is of paramount importance, with a vested interest in the delivery of a robust eHealth architecture utilising interoperability standards.
Current focus is on developing the next generation 'To Be' architectural blueprint and also the Irish delivery of the the EU eHealth Digital Services Infrastructure Open NCP Cross Border project and the implementing of this eHealth architecture utilising the National Test Harness.

Maggie Cruickshank

Maggie Cruickshank is a Professor/Honorary Clinical Consultant of Gynaecology at the University of Aberdeen and Director of Research & Development for NHS Grampian. She is also Co-interim Director of the Aberdeen Centre for women’s health Research.

Her programme of research focuses on HPV and pre-invasive disease of the lower genital tract,clinical research trials and molecular studies with Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee, Manchester, Nottingham and Strathclydeand NHS Scotland.  

Maggie is chief investigator for a CSO Health Services Programme Grant to investigate the impact of HPV immunisation on cervical screening and the role of HPV testing as a primary screening tool.

Alan Ferret

Alan Ferrett is a Business Studies graduate and an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).  He was previously a Director in a Health and Social Services Trust and has also served as a School Governor in an integrated primary school in Belfast.

Alan is a strong advocate for Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) and is currently involved in a number of PPI projects in healthcare including being involved as a work stream member taking forward the recommendations of the Hyponatraemia related deaths inquiry. 

His research interests are wide ranging from mental health issues including psychology research and the use of different therapies, issues around emergency services in health care, use of technology in the delivery of health and social care, as well as healthy living issues including the benefits of exercise and issues around obesity.

Alan and has an interest in conditions concerned with ageing and is a member of the steering group which is responsible for the Nicola project (a longitudinal study of ageing). He is also a panel member for appraising Enabling Research Awards and appraising Knowledge Transfer Requests.

Susan Hamer

Dr Susan Hamer is Director of Nursing, Learning and Organisational Development for the NIHR Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN).The NIHR CRN provides the infrastructure that enables high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS, so that patients can benefit from new and better treatments.

Susan is passionate about purposeful change and in particular the development of the healthcare workforce. As lead nurse Susan works with colleagues to ensure that the clinical leadership culture is vibrant and integrated across the large managed network which is the NIHR CRN.

A previous role as national leader in the Department of Health Informatics Directorate persuaded Susan about the possibilities for technology to enhance practice and to support innovation in the development of patient led services. She sees the development of digital confidence and accessible information as crucial to this.

Bernie Hannigan

Professor Bernie Hannigan is Director of Research, Translation and Innovation in Public Health England, overseeing research in collaboration with universities and other institutions, funded by UK or global organisations. Previously (2008 – 2014) Bernie was Director of R&D for Health and Social Care (Northern Ireland), preceded by academia / academic leadership (Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation) - the University of Ulster. Contributions to science and society included national and international boards, committees and other bodies. 

Bernie was educated at Trinity College Dublin (Natural Sciences) with PhD from the National University of Ireland (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Immunology). Bernie has led or been part of research teams that authored over 100 academic papers and 2 textbooks, supervised20 PhD students and attracted significant competitive funding.

Trevor Lyttle

Trevor Lyttle is a member of Public Interest Enhancing Research (PIER) and sits on the Northern Health and Social Care Trust Research Governance Committee.   He had worked in the field of libraries and Information Technology, at one time providing services to students, staff, practitioners and researchers in the health and social care community throughout Northern Ireland.  He has a particular and personal interest in Social Services in the area of adoption and fostering. In addition to his interest in research, Trevor is a strong supporter of service quality improvement and acts as a Lay Assessor with RQIA.

Gráinne McVeigh

Gráinne McVeigh is Director  of Life Sciences and Scaling, at Invest NI, Northern Ireland’s economic development agency, responsible for promoting and developing companies in the these sectors to compete internationally and encouraging  new investment.

Previously Grainne was Director of Northern Irish Connections, anot-for-profit organisation, which provides a structured approach for engagement with the Northern Irish Diaspora.

In her career at Invest NI, Gráinne held the position of Headof International Sales and Marketing where she ledInvest NI’s international sales and marketing effort with the overall objective of identifying and cultivating inward investment leads in overseas markets.

Before joining Invest Northern Ireland, Gráinne worked for SkillSoft Corporation, an online learning company where she managed global accounts. This involved working with SkillSoft’s largest customers, providing online learning solutions to Fortune 500 companies.She was responsible for selling eLearning solutions in a high technology environment, client management and project management, involving the management of client relationships during complex implementations. 

Before working with SkillSoft, Gráinne worked for IDB and was the VP Business Development in Chicago responsible for selling Northern Ireland as an investment location. 

Gráinne has a degree in French from Lancaster University and an MBA in International Business from Ulster University. Gráinne also holds a Diploma in Marketing and a Diploma in Personnel Management. 

Derick Mitchell

Dr. Derick Mitchell is the Chief Executive of IPPOSI. Derick has over ten years experience of working in patient involvement, multi-stakeholder management, scientific communications and advocacy at both the national and European level, and has a strong interest in the area of patient and public involvement in research.  Derick leads IPPOSI’s participation in the European Patients Academy (EUPATI), an initiative which is training patients to become involved in the medicines R&D process, and has spread the IPPOSI public-private partnership model to over 20 countries. Derick is a member of a number of national and international boards including the EHealth Ireland committee; the oversight committee for the National Rare Disease Plan; the Medical and Life Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, the International Advisory Board of the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network; the HIQA Research Ethics & HTA Advisory Boards, among others.  Derick graduated with a BSc. (Hons) in Biotechnology from NUI Galway (2000) followed by a PhD in Molecular Medicine from University College Dublin (2004). Outside of IPPOSI, Derick spends his free time attempting to influence his two young daughters.

Edel O'Docherty

Edel O’Doherty has worked in the area of planning, development and implementation of cross border collaboration in health and social care for over 13 years.  She has a wide range of interests and expertise including tackling health inequalities, mental health, promoting health improvement, primary care and community development. 

Edel is the Executive lead on behalf of CAWT on the EU INTERREG VA Innovation Recovery and mPower (PCOP).  She is also supporting the CAWT Interoperability Group which seeks to align cross border transfer of patient information with the EU Interoperability Framework.  Edel holds an MA in Marketing Management, a Post Grad Diploma in Health Promotion, Diploma in Workplace Health and Prince2 Practitioner Diploma. 

Mairéad O'Driscoll

Mairéad O’Driscoll is currently the Director of Research Strategy and Funding at the Health Research Board (HRB) with overall responsibility for all the HRB’s extramural funding programmes. Before that, she was Head of Policy, Evaluation and External Relations at the HRB.

She worked as a researcher in academia and industry before moving into policy research, first with the Royal Society in London and then with the Wellcome Trust.  She also spent time in South Africa where she worked on the development of a national research and technology foresight study.

She is a member of several national and international groups including the Oversight Group for the National Health Innovation Hub in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland’s Industrial Research and Commercialisation Committee, and the European Research Infrastructure Working Group for Food and Health. She also chairs IC-PerMed, the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine.

She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of London.

Maurice O'Kane

Dr Maurice O’Kane graduated in medicine at Edinburgh University and has been a consultant chemical pathologist in Altnagelvin Hospital since 1996. He is currently Director of the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network and also Clinical Director of the Centre for Personalised Medicine: Clinical Decision Making and Patient Safety [funded by Interreg]. Previous roles have included Director of Research at the Western Health and Social Care Trust and Chief Executive of the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre [C-TRIC]. 

John O'Kelly

Dr O’Kelly qualified from Queens University Belfast in 1984 and became a partner in Aberfoyle Medical Practice, Londonderry in 1995.

He has chaired the Western Area Respiratory Group, been a member of the Northern Ireland Regional Respiratory Forum, project member in the development of the Respiratory Health and Wellbeing Framework and worked with various respiratory voluntary groups in Northern Ireland.

He is a former member of the Primary Care Clinical Management Group, Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network and has Chaired the Quality Committee for RCGP Northern Ireland. Between 2013 and 2016 he was Chair of RCGP NI.

Roger O'Sullivan

Professor Roger O’Sullivan is Interim Chief Executive of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH). He is also Director of the Ageing Research and Development Division within IPH. In 2016 he was made visiting Professor at Ulster University. Between  2007 – 2015 Roger was Director of The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland.

Peter Sharpe

Dr Peter Sharpe has been a Consultant Chemical Pathologist in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust for the past 19 years. His main clinical interests are lipids, nutrition and diabetes.  Dr Sharpe is Chair of the Trust’s Point of Care Testing Committee and has been the Trust’s Associate Medical Director for Research and Development since July 2008. Dr Sharpe provides Pathology advice to the Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health NI.

Eileen Wright

My background is mainly in Finance and Education.  I have been a company director for 25 years and am a former member of the Institute of Directors.   Since then I have held a number of appointments in Education including: membership of the Southern Education and Library Board and Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee, 17 years as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Banbridge Academy, member of the Board of Governors of  Ballydown Primary School in Banbridge, and am a member of the Governing Body of the Southern Regional College.

I have served as a Lay Reviewer with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and was part of the training process.  I am also a member of the Board of Directors of Banbridge District Enterprises.

I was appointed as a member of the Southern Health & Social Services Council in September 2003 and was serving as Chairman when it was subsumed into the PCC.  I was a member of the Project Board for the new organisation. 

I am a lay member of the R&D Governance Committee of the Southern Trust and also of the regional body.

I am the Lay Member of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care Governance Committee.

I am committed to representing the view and involvement of users of services in all aspects of health and social care, and in educations and am a volunteer in Craigavon Area Hospital and Southern Area Hospice.

Ian Young

Ian Young is currently Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health and Director of Research and Development for Health and Social Care.  In addition, he is Professor of Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, where he was also Director of the Centre for Public Health from 2008-2014, and Deputy Medical Director and Consultant Chemical Pathologist at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.  Professor Young’s main clinical and research interests are in biochemical aspects of nutrition, particularly in relation to disease prevention.  He is an author of over 350 published research papers and has obtained over £30 million in research income. He is Chair of the Scientific Division of the International Federation for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, the world’s leading laboratory medicine organization, and Associate Editor of Clinical Chemistry, the journal of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. He is a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Institute of Biological Standards and Controls.

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