In News

On Wednesday, 11 January over 80 early career researchers came together in the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin for the Health Research Board (HRB) Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Conference 2017: Career Pathways for Early Stage Researchers. The conference was supported by the HRB in conjunction with the SPHERE (Structured Population and Health-services Research Education) Network 3rd Annual Conference.

Dr Annalisa Montesanti, HRB Programme Manager, opened the event with a presentation on the HRB’s Health Research Career Framework. This was followed by two keynotes. In the first, Professor Patricia Kearney, HRB Research Leader UCC, spoke about “transitioning to leadership”, drawing on reflections of her own career trajectory. Dr Eibhlin Hudson, Real World Data Analytics Lead at Novartis, then outlined an alternative, industrial pathway. Four short presentations followed. Dr Leonard Browne, ICE Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCC, provided an overview of the HRB ICE Awards. Dr Sandra Galvin, Coordinator HRB-TMRN, and QUESTS Steering Group member, spoke about alternative routes post PhD. Dr Sheena McHugh, CARDI Research Fellow UCC, then provided insights into how to get funded. Finally, Dr Jenny McSharry, Assistant Director/Postdoctoral Researcher Health Behaviour Change Research Group, outlined a proposal for the development of a population health and health services research post-doc network. During the final hour, delegates participated in a vibrant networking session in which they had the opportunity to discuss career-related questions with more experienced researchers during facilitated discussions.

Many thanks to the conference committee – Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, Dr Elaine Toomey (QUESTS Educaton Working Group Member), Dr Leonard Browne, Dr Michelle Queally and Dr Aimee Fox – for organising this event and for providing thought-provoking presentations and excellent networking opportunities.

For more information about this event, or for copies of the slides, please contact:

  • Dr Elaine Toomey, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway.                      E:  or T: +353 (0)91 49 4458
  • Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork                  E: or T: +353 (0)21 4903000


Pictured at the conference, L-R: Dr Eibhlin Hudson, Prof Patricia Kearney, Dr Annalisa Montesanti, Dr Sandra Galvin, Dr Jenny McSharry, and Dr Sheena McHugh.