Driving forward the Vision of an All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI): Creation of an Overarching Framework for Cancer Research on the Island of Ireland
The vision for an All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI) is to bring together the combined strengths of cancer researchers across the island of Ireland to create an overarching framework for cancer research. Over the past two years, AICRI has brought together ten academic institutions (UCD, TCD, RCSI, TU Dublin, DCU, QUB, UU, UoG, UL and UCC) and multiple other stakeholders from the healthcare sector, cancer patients, cancer charities, industry partners and government agencies. It has a broad research programme from cancer prevention to cancer diagnosis and treatment to survivorship and quality of life.
Significant Funding Successes
AICRI receives its funding success in December 2021
In December 2021, AICRI received a New Foundations Award from the Irish Research Council. This €20,000 award from the Shared Island Fund allowed AICRI to hold a series of key stakeholder workshops in 2022 and to develop a dedicated website (www.aicri.org).
AICRI receives its foundation stone funding in March 2022
In March 2022, AICRI was awarded €4 million in funding from the Shared Island Fund as a Strand III (Partnerships of Scale) Award under the HEA North-South Research Programme. This award allows for the creation of an All-Island Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Research Training Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine (AICRIstart) over a four-year period. To date, ten AICRIstart PhD students have been recruited and many are working on their projects since September 2022. We are currently in the process of identifying the areas that the AICRIstart postdoctoral researchers will work on, with planned recruitment before the end of 2023.
Key Events Organised to Date
Several successful AICRI-linked research and networking events were organised over the past 18 months. These events (listed below) highlight the value of collaboration on an all-island basis:
- Living With and Beyond Cancer Online Workshop (26th November 2021)
- Immuno-Oncology and the Microbiome Online Workshop (24th March 2022)
- AICRI/PVCR Patient Stakeholder Hybrid Workshop (30th March 2022)
- Digital Health in Cancer Hybrid Workshop (27th April 2022)
- Functional Cancer Genomics and Precision Oncology Online Workshop (26th May 2022)
- Cancer Charities Online Workshop (30th June 2022)
- AICRI Governance and Operating Models in-person Workshop (1st September 2022)
AICRI Showcase: Vision and Progress workshop (28th September 2022)
We organised the ‘AICRI Showcase: Vision and Progress workshop’ to provide an opportunity for AICRI to showcase its achievements to date and roadmap future activities. The event, held on 28th September 2022, was very successful and attended by over 130 people in the Herbert Park Hotel Dublin. We were privileged to have the then Taoiseach Micheál Martin provide the opening address and it can be viewed here. All of the presentations can be viewed here. A short summary overview of the showcase event can be viewed here.
Future of AICRI
AICRI hopes to become an important and vital focal point for cancer research on the island of Ireland. To achieve its goals, AICRI needs sustained support and additional large-scale funding that will support the institute in the long-term. This could be, for example, in the form of an Ireland/UK Co-Centre for Cancer Research and Innovation. This year, AICRI will partner with the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) to establish a National Cancer Mission Hub in Ireland. Funding has been acquired for this activity under the Horizon Europe project "Establishing of Cancer Mission Hubs: Networks and Synergies” (ECHoS).
To find out more about the AICRI project please visit our website www.aicri.org and subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @AICRIproject