Mr Harris secured Cabinet approval this week for Ireland to become a member of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, namely the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN). ECRIN supports the conduct of clinical research across countries in Europe and provides its members with a range of supports and services, including facilitating the preparation and implementation of international trials.
Minister Harris said: “Clinical trials are at the heart of improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. For over a decade now the Department of Health, working closely with the Health Research Board, has invested in infrastructure and capacity to support clinical trials in Ireland. While some trials can be conducted on a national level, many trials require access to large populations of patients and collaborations across centres and countries. This will be facilitated by Ireland becoming a member of ECRIN. Today’s decision represents an important development for current and future patients in Ireland. It is a positive development for the health research community and it enhances Ireland’s reputation as a place to conduct industry trials. This will drive change and improve patient outcomes but also advance innovation, productivity and competitiveness.”
Ireland is likely to hold a unique place in the European clinical trial arena as the only mature English-speaking country in Europe post-Brexit. As a member of ECRIN, Ireland would be perfectly positioned to take on the country sponsor role for more pan-European clinical trials.