Irish and US universities sign cancer research agreement

28 Aug 2023

From left: Prof Michael Kerin, Saolta-University of Galway Cancer Network and Prof M Sharon Stack, University of Notre Dame Harper Cancer Research Institute. Image: Martina Regan Photography

The collaboration will see University of Galway and University of Notre Dame work together on cancer research and strengthen links between both institutions.

Researchers at University of Galway have signed a memorandum of understanding with researchers at University of Notre Dame to collaborate on cancer research.

Part of the agreement is the Biseach Initiative, a strategic research collaboration that aims to build on the resources of both universities for global cancer impact.

The agreement was signed by Prof M Sharon Stack, director of Notre Dame’s Harper Cancer Research Institute, and Prof Michael Kerin, director of the Saolta-University of Galway Cancer Centre.

The Biseach Initiative began in 2019 when a delegation from the Harper Cancer Research Institute visited University of Galway. Students and academics from both universities have visited each other to develop the collaboration. In 2021, both universities hosted online research symposia, and this was followed up by a cancer research retreat at the Kylemore Global Centre in 2022.

The memorandum will strengthen links between both institutions through student and faculty exchange programmes, virtual symposia, joint publications and patents and in-person conferences and seminars.

Stack said there is “a wealth of scientific and clinical research expertise” between the two institutions. “The Biseach Initiative, enabled by the Notre Dame Kylemore Global Centre, harnesses the appetite for collaboration, to further translational cancer research and provide educational and development opportunities for our students and research leaders.”

Kerin said: “The west and northwest of Ireland have some of the worst outcomes from cancer nationally. We aim to change this by developing a comprehensive, research-led cancer centre for our region. This research collaboration with the University of Notre Dame will allow us to make a real difference to cancer outcomes.”

Ireland and the US have had long-running research partnerships over the years, the most well-known of which is the US-Ireland R&D programme inspired by the Good Friday Agreement. This year’s funding boost was one of the highest awards in the programme’s history.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic