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Medical Research Council of Ireland annual report for the year ended 31st December 1977
Medical Research Council of Ireland
The Council is fully aware of a considerable medical research potential in our community and of the frustrations aroused by its ineffective expression. As a granting agency it is limited by its slender appropriation in several ways. Most significantly it cannot fruitfully anticipate emerging trends worthy of development or concentrate on objectives with special relevance to the disease patterns in our community (both activities are reliable means for profitable utilisation of available research talent). At best the Council must depend on investigator-initiated projects to achieve its objectives by allowing some measure of priority to such projects. In the context of our terms of reference this is highly unsatisfactory, because it requires displacement of support rather than the appropriate development and expansion needed to meet the contingencies of new research. In several fields of research, including Cancer Research and Cardiovascular Research, voluntary organisations have to some extent ameliorated the difficulty. They too are faced with the identical problems. With these considerations uppermost the Council has sought means by which it could redress the balance and assure more effective contribution from the research potential. In this regard the role of the Medical Research Council was broadly discussed in June by the Council's officers with officials of the Department of Health. An important topic concerned the programme presented to the Minister by the Council in 1974, which referred to establishment of an Institute, setting up of research units and to more comprehensively designed research projects. These might be of national interest and relate to problems which require more than three years of study. While these proposals have been under consideration since 1974 the Council has continued to discharge its responsibilities as best it can under financial stress and within obsolescent guidelines. Pressures on its policies have evolved mainly from mounting demands on its resources by investigator-initiated research projects. Currently the Council cannot financially satisfy all requests submitted to it by many acceptable applicants whom it considers worthy of support. Some, which had been highly recommended by the special Committees, have had to be rejected. This situation is likely to introduce an unhealthy spirit of competition for its finances between scientists (and their institutions), which must be detrimental to research, especially that initiated by competent young investigators. So far the Council has managed to avoid this by a peer review system whereby the special Committees conduct interviews with all new applicants. The solution is obvious, to increase the grant as indicated by the Council to the Minister. This necessary expenditure would comprise a miniscule of our GNP and still leave the support of Medical Research in Ireland the lowest among the nations of the European Community, including those of comparable population. It should be recalled that the Council's grant at present represents 1 part in I ,400 of the GNP (0.07 %).
Publication Date:
Type: Report
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Lenus
Publisher(s): Medical Research Council of Ireland
First Indexed: 2014-04-02 06:20:06 Last Updated: 2017-04-26 07:44:52