Ireland’s Five Medical Schools Join Up to the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN)

Posted on: 18 October 2006

The Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre (DMMC) a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD), in partnership with the Medical Schools of University College Cork (UCC) and the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)  has announced that the recently formed Irish Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ICRIN) has formally joined the  European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) at a meeting in London on October 12 last. The ECRIN Consortium is a European not-for-profit platform for the support of trans-European clinical research projects.

ICRIN involves all five medical schools in Ireland (TCD, UCD, RCSI, UCC and NUIG) in association with their affiliated teaching hospitals in a unique collaboration. ICRIN will create and maintain a harmonised and coordinated clinical research infrastructure in Ireland which will allow more Irish patients to benefit from cutting edge treatments for many diseases and will attract the pharmaceutical industry to perform clinical research in this country.

The Irish network has complied with stringent entry criteria for ECRIN and is recognised by the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG), as the only trans-disease clinical research infrastructure network in Ireland.

“ECRIN will be a key infrastructure platform supported by the EU 7th Framework Programme for research. Joining ECRIN now is essential to ensure Ireland qualifies to develop collaborative programmes in clinical research within FP7”, commented Dr. Pierre Meulien, CEO of the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre. “The Innovative Medicines Initiative alone will have a budget in excess of € 3 Billion over seven years and ICRIN will put Irish medical research in a strong position to fully participate”.

Ireland joins ECRIN at the same time as Hungary and the UK and thus joins existing founding members; France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
 Supplementary Information

About the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre
The Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre is a joint venture partnership between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD).  The DMMC was established by funding from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) through its Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI).  The DMMC conducts investigations into Cancer, Vascular Biology, Neuroscience, Inflammation and Infectious Disease and has established modern research facilities across the city.  Hence the DMMC creates a critical mass in biomedical science that combines the strengths and resources of the TCD – Institute of Molecular Medicine , the UCD – Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research  and the RCSI – Research Institute.  Allied to these academic centres are clinician scientists based at the affiliated teaching hospitals of Adelaide & Meath incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (Tallaght), Beaumont Hospital, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, St James’s Hospital,  and St Vincent’s University Hospital.
The ECRIN Consortium is a European not-for-profit platform for the support of trans-European clinical research projects. ECRIN is not directed towards a specific speciality or disease category, but will foster transfer of best research practice from speciality to speciality all over Europe. Its aims include the development of an infrastructure for clinical research that allows for the bottom-up harmonisation of support, training, ethical issues, SOPs, data management, quality control procedures, adaptation to national legislation and Good Clinical Practice along with communication with investigators, patients, and citizens.

ECRIN currently includes 12 networks of clinical research centres (CRC) and clinical trial units (CTU), acting in any medical field. These networks cover 9 EU countries representing 350 million citizens. Therefore they reach the critical mass both at their country level and at the EU level. No equivalent infrastructure exists in Europe. In addition, the Canadian participant (UBC-GEREC) extends the capacity of ECRIN to perform clinical studies on the North American continent, using data management tools compatible with FDA requirements.

Closely associated with scientific associations and investigators, interacting with disease-specific networks of practitioners, these centres have the capacity to enrol patients in a wide range of clinical studies, particularly in rare diseases, orphan drugs, paediatrics, biotherapy.