The Medical Research Council. is primarily
concerned with the excellence and veracity of investigative programmes.
The role of medical research is one which is frequently raised by the
lay person. It is a commonly stated opinion that medical research is
really a function of developed and rich societies in which poorer societies,
like our own, should not become involved. Reference, in fact, to our
deficiency of research experience was made in the foreword to the last
annual report of the Council, with particular reference to the failure of
Irish scientists to contribute to our fullest capability and capacity to the
solution of European orientated research projects.
It is very important to remember that medical research has many roles
in addition to the important role of solving specific medical problems.
It enables us to foster in our community an enthusiasm for clinical and
basic investigation, and also to foster a more critical and analytical
approach to current clinical practising procedures. There is no doubt
but that the practice of medicine in those areas in which there is an active
research orientation has a level of excellence which is an example to
the community and an ideal to which young graduates aspire.
Promotion of medical research enables us to be associated with scientific
investigations going on in other countries and thus very importantly
enables us to apply the results of such investigations to our community
as soon as such knowledge becomes available. Indeed the needs of the
community for medical research are perhaps not adequately appreciated.
As mentioned in the foreword of last year's report, the Council hopes
to establish special research unit projects which will be particularly related
to our local needs, and the selection of criteria for the choice of such
research priorities occupied a considerable percentage of the Council's
time during the year. The future aspirations of the Medical Research
Council involve therefore not only the continued support of research
projects as in previous years, but also the promotion of research into
areas which the Council consider would be of particular value to the
Irish community either in terms of primary health care or of the particular
facilities and expertise available.