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The Health Research Board recently announced an all-island investment of €2 million to improve ways of gathering and combining evidence and using it effectively to inform health and health care decisions.

This new initiative, Evidence Synthesis Ireland, will be funded for three years by the Health Research Board (€1.5 m) and the Research & Development Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland (€0.5 m) and will be led by Professor Declan Devane, Professor of Midwifery at NUI Galway and Director of the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN).

The primary aim of the new evidence synthesis capacity building initiative is to build a critical mass of experts in a range of evidence synthesis methodologies. This needs to address the training and support needs for evidence informed decision making in policy and practice for the island of Ireland. The secondary aim is to generate knowledge around methods of and efficiencies in evidence syntheses. This will be achieved through a focus on three high-level activities relating to evidence synthesis (i) support (ii) training and education and (iii) research and innovation. Importantly, this initiative also re-establishes Cochrane Ireland and its associated activities.

QUESTS Research Advisors Dr Linda Biesty (NUI Galway) and Dr Pauline Meskell (University of Limerick) will have a pivotal role in the evidence synthesis activity within Evidence Synthesis Ireland.