Molecular Medicine Ireland was established by the National University of Ireland Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Cork, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin and their associated academic hospitals, as a research partnership to accelerate the translation of biomedical research into improved diagnostics and therapies for patients. It was previously known as the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre, established in 2002.
MMI was formed in response to the need to create a critical mass of excellence in molecular medicine research and education in Ireland and to deploy a clinical research infrastructure to facilitate medicine into better healthcare provision. It was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit company in April 2008 and is funded from a number of sources, including the Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions. What does Molecular Medicine Ireland aim to do?
MMI’s strategic vision is to improve healthcare through the development of diagnostics and therapies from concept to realisation.
MMI’s mission is to mobilise the strengths of the five partner institutions and their associated hospitals to build a sustainable national system to coordinate, support and promote translational and clinical research.
- To connect the key players in health, research and industry
- To attract, train and retain world class researchers
- To work towards the provision of state-of-the-art facilities, bio-resources and harmonised processes
- To represent Ireland in clinical and translational research infrastructures/networks in Europe and internationally
- To build collaborative research initiatives and opportunities.
How does the creation of Molecular Medicine Ireland assist in achieving national, strategic goals for science and technology?
MMI assists in achieving the goals of the Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation by creating greater coherence in medical research strategies, exploiting synergies in clinical and translational research in the member institutions and their associated hospitals and in training and retaining researchers of the highest quality.
MMI, through the Clinician Scientist Fellowship Programme and the Clinical and Translational Scholars programme, is contributing to the doubling of the number of PhDs qualified in Ireland, while ensuring the best possible research training experience. These programmes are producing graduates of the highest calibre for careers in acdemia, health care and industry.
These programmes are also responding to the recommendation of the Science Advisory Council Report - Towards Better Health - that the medical schools collaborate in the development of postgraduate courses to ensure delivery of training to the highest standards.
Through the Irish Clinical Reserch Infrastructure Network (ICRIN), MMI is leading the development of a clinical research infrastructure in Ireland. ICRIN is assiting the MMI partners to translate new knowledge from the member institutions and industry into advances in clinical practice of benefit to patients and for economic benefit to Ireland.
MMMI builds on the success of its predecessor, the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre, in attracting funding for cooperative research and education activities on behalf of its partner institutions. The DMMC and MMI have secured the following funding on behalf of its partner members:
- Higher Education Authority PRTLI Cycle 2 - €26m
- Higher Education Authority PRTLI Cycle 3 - €44.8m for the Programme for Human Genomics
- Health Research Board/Wellcome Trust - €23m for the Dublin Centre for Clinical Research
- Health Research Board/Health Service Executive - €.5m for the preparatory phase of the Irish Clinical Research Infrastructure Network
- Health Research Board/R&D Office - €.1m to develop the feasibility phase of the all-island GeneLibrary
- European Union - €.34m for participation in developing European clinical and biobanking research infrastructure - ECRIN and BBMRI
- Higher Education Authority PRTLI Cycle 4 - €11m for the MMI Clinician Scientist Fellowship Programme and the creation of MMI
- Higher Education Authority PRTLI Cycle 5 - €4.5m for the MMI Clinical and Translational Scholars Programme
- Enterprise Ireland - funding to MMI for the Clinical Trials Liaison Service.
The annual running costs of MMI €1m approx. MMI is funded by contributions from its member institutions and from grants secured from funding agencies such as the Health Research Board, Enterprise Ireland and the European Commission.
- Delivering postgraduate courses across the member institutions and with industry involvement.
- Organising the shared curriculum across the member institutions for the MMI Clinician Scientist Fellowship programme and the 19 Fellows undertaking PhDs
- Recruiting 20 scholars and organising a structured training year across the partner insitutions for the MMI Clinical and Translational Scholars Programme
- Leading on the development of the Irish Clinical Research Infrastructure (ICRIN) to make it easier to conduct multicentre clinical trials
- Representing Ireland as the scientific partner in the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) and the Biobanking and Biomolecualr Resources Infrastructrue (BBMRI) funded under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme
- Supporting Irish researchers access resources for clinical studies in Europe, especially through ECRIN
- Deploying the Dublin Centre for Clinical Research – ensuring that the €23m investment by the Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Board over the next five years in a new clinical research facility in St James’s Hospital and the creation of a research network of the existing clinical research facilities, is delivered on time and within budget
- Assisting the member institutions in applying for funding under national, strategic initiatives in graduate education and research infrastructure that can be better organised on a cross institutional, collaborative basis
- Developing a more strategic approach to biobanking, including the design phase of the all-island GeneLibrary project, standardised guidelines for biobanking and facilitating a common position by the partners on biobanking.
- Facilitating greater knowleger and awareness of biobanking by support for the Irish Biomarker Network.
- Providing information through the MMI Web Portal on technology platforms available for clinical and translational research in acdemic insitutions on the island of Ireland.
- Providing information to start up companies and SMEs on accessing clinical resources and navigating regulatory process to bring products to the market.
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Molecular Medicine Ireland has a staff of 11, organised in the following functions – Education and Training, Clinical and Translational Research and Finance and Operations. The names of the senior staff are as follows:
- Mr Paul Barry, Interim Chief Executive, Company Secretary & Finance & Operations Manager
- Dr Mark Watson, Programme Manager, Education & Training
- Mr Jeremy Towns, Programme Manager, Dublin Centre for Clinical Research