The new academic health science centre at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) will drive paediatric research and innovation across the island of Ireland, according to its Director.
CHI Director of Research and Innovation Prof Paul McNally told the Medical Independent that the centre would enable Ireland to compete more effectively on an international basis in the field of children’s health research, as it links research institutions north and south of the border.
Prof McNally’s role as Director involves “driving strategy and progress in research and innovation for the new children’s hospital”, which is expected to open in 2025.
He explained that the centre would facilitate further progress in paediatric research, which would help to improve outcomes for sick children.
“This centre will be the cornerstone of driving research and innovation in CHI and all of Ireland,” said Prof McNally, Associate Professor of Paediatrics at the RCSI and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at CHI.
“The goal is to integrate paediatric research and innovation across the island of Ireland, including the north. It is in its infancy at the moment, but the idea is we won’t compete internationally unless we collaborate on a national basis.”
The centre has four university partners – Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the RCSI. A full-time chief academic officer will start at the centre next year.
Commenting on the controversy surrounding the cost of the hospital and delays to its completion, Prof McNally said that almost all major State developments “go over budget and over time”.
“We shouldn’t distract ourselves from remembering that there has basically been no investment in paediatric health for the last 70-to-80 years and the only investments made were done by private foundations and fundraising,” he said.
“This is our big opportunity for now and the next 100 years. No matter what it costs, it’s worthwhile.” See news interview, p10.