Academic Development (including Research)

This domain has the following key components some of which have are in development (highlighted below);

  • Integration and development of THI research, education and training programmes. Important in this area is the proposal to establish a Women's Health Research Institute at the Coombe Women and Infant's University Hospital. 
  • A detailed research strategy is at an advanced stage of preparation integrating directly with the service configurations in the areas of population health, translational medicine and integrative medical sciences (including IT, robotic technology and Bioengineering). The research strategy is described in more detail under Research
  • Developments of integration pathways between academic programmes and clinical programmes
  • Development of joint research management systems across both sites - a formal joint process for research governance has been drafted to ensure safe, ethical, patient-focused research delivery within THI
  • Creation of structure for academic leadership programme / "Leadership Academy"
  • Generation of cross-institutional training pathways in medicine and allied health professionals - mapping of scope
  • Development of interdisciplinary training modules - mapping of scope

Expansion of suite of masters programmes for health care professionals - mapping of scope. This has commenced with the planning of an MSc in Implementation Sciences

  • Trinity Institute of Population Health at the AMNCH/Tallaght site (The establishment of Trinity Institute of Population Health has been recently TCD Board approved and planning for the Institute is currently underway)
  • Wellcome Trust, HRB Clinical Research Centre built at the St James's hospital site (Construction is underway)
  • Biomedical Sciences Building links (the development of links to Bioengineering, Medical Physics, Medical Devices is underway)
  • Identification of key and necessary academic appointments for success of the overall system ( a number of key Professorial posts have been identified for progression in the THI system)
  • Identification of new and emerging research-led disciplines through close academic liaisons. Such disciplines could include for example regenerative, orthobionics and advanced molecular imaging

Research

Research within THI will be based on a set of guiding principles:

  • Research will be tightly aligned to the strategic plan for Trinity College which identifies key focussed research areas linking to human health. These areas include neuroscience, infection and immunity, cancer and genetics with an up and coming focus on bioengineering and emerging areas in nutrigenomics. There is considerable overlap between the areas identified in health and other areas such as nanotechnology and information technology.
  • The research should strive towards excellence as befitting a premier international University Medical School.
  • Research should be conducted according to the highest ethical principles and according to the principles of appropriate research governance for clinical research.
  • It is crucially recognised that research depends on funding. Externally derived research funding is crucial for the success of the research policy. Externally derived research funding is critically based on the principle of funding excellence. Where internal funding becomes available, it will be expected to be utilised to develop areas of excellence to maintain the strategic focus of THI
  • Research in health sciences currently depends on maintenance of national and international collaboration. THI will maintain such a national and international collaboration as required for the development and maintenance of research excellence.
  • Strategic research areas may emerge which are not specifically designated in pre-existing research strategy. Where there is a compelling case for THI to be actively involved in such research activities, these may be integrated into the research strategy where there is a critical mass or a champion involved who can drive the development of such a new area.
  • The development of technology platforms will be as appropriate to the development of the research strategy but will not take precedence over hypothesis driven research.
  • Strategic appointments will be made in conjunction with the college's strategic plan and in association with the specifically divined strategic requirements of individual research sites.

Structure of the Proposed Research Strategy

The research strategy is super-imposed on the TCD's research strategy and currently can be illustrated as in Diagram 1; 

Overall Structure of the THI Research Strategy

The research strategy will be based on the principle of three nodes of engagement:
Node 1: Population Health encompassing disciplines of biostatistics, epidemiology, population based research, genetic epidemiology and genetics to be based at the Tallaght site. Bioengineering to be also included at the Tallaght site.
Node 2: Translational research incorporating genomics, genetics, regenerative medicine and advanced imaging incorporating nanotechnology to be based on the St. James's Hospital site. Node 3: Discovery science incorporating pathway analysis, structural biology, medicinal chemistry and integrated biology and bio-engineering to be developed at TCD main campus.

Diagram 1 :  Research Strategy Driving THI

Diagram 1: Research Strategy Driving THHI

Diagram 2 The Translational Paradigm

Diagram 2 The Translational Paradigm

The major themes of cancer, neuroscience, immunology and genetics will be cross-cutting themes across all of these three nodes. In addition enabling technologies such as nanotechnology, imaging and genomic technologies should be in place across all the three nodes.

Figure 3: THI Research Strategy Mapping to Disease Thematic Areas

Figure 3: THI Research Strategy Mapping to Disease Thematic Areas