Northern Ireland injects millions into healthcare research and development

Country becomes full partner in the National Institute for Health Research with £2.6m cash boost

An investment of £2.6m into healthcare research by the Government in Northern Ireland will boost UK industry by more than £10m in total, it was claimed this week.

The country’s Health Minister, Edwin Poots, revealed the Government was giving the money to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), a UK-wide body that commissions and funds healthcare research.

He made the announcement as he launched a new report - The Evaluation of the Impact of Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D) Funding in Northern Ireland . It revealed that for key areas of research, every £1 invested in research and development has generated £4.14 income in the form of further grants or clinical trials.

Our researchers now have access to an annual funding pot of more than £75m and will be able to compete on an equal footing with researchers from other UK countries

The report, commissioned by the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), evaluated the benefits to the health and social care system and the wider economy of research and development.

It recommended that Northern Ireland becomes a full partner in the NIHR, which would open new funding sources to researchers based in the country.

He said: "This investment is very good news for Northern Ireland’s health and social care system, but it will also provide a timely boost for our economy as well. This new report has concluded that, based on past performance, our contribution of £2.6m has the potential to generate more than £10m.

"However, there are many more benefits to be derived from taking this path. Our researchers now have access to an annual funding pot of more than £75m and will be able to compete on an equal footing with researchers from other UK countries. They will also gain the opportunity to join research partnerships, which could draw down larger amounts of money from other sources.”

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