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Research is At The Heart of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

18 Jan 2022
Chs 7763

Investing in high-quality, ground-breaking local research is at the heart of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS). Since the first grant in 1958 (£35 to Dr Knox to research Chronic Bronchitis), they have devoted themselves to funding treatments, medications, therapies, rehabilitation programmes and cures.

Each year, NICHS invites researchers from local universities and hospitals to apply to their Scientific Research Grants programme and annually award approximately £400,000 to research projects that meet a rigorous set of criteria. Through this programme successful applicants are funded to carry out high quality research that delivers real benefits to people living with chest, heart, and stroke conditions.

The Scientific Research Committee at NICHS meets this week to review applications and this year it welcomes a new Chairman Professor Martin McKee, CBE.

Professor Martin McKee says “I’m very excited and honoured to be the new Chair of the Scientific Research Committee. It’s a privilege to work with Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke. I’ve long admired the work of the charity but, now that I’ve seen at close hand what they do, I’m even more impressed. The quality of the research they support here in Northern Ireland is outstanding and is making a real difference to our ability to save lives here and further afield.”

“We’ve seen tremendous improvements in the health of the people of Northern Ireland since I started work as a junior doctor in the Belfast City Hospital in 1979 and much of that is due to advances in research. But there is so much more that we can do. We’ve all been focused intensely on the COVID pandemic, and this is entirely appropriate. But we must not forget that there are other threats to health and the research that Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke supports is making a major contribution to tackling some of the greatest killers.”

“Through the NICHS research programme some innovative pieces of research have been conducted. For example, in 2015 Professor Tara Moore from University of Ulster, with a team of professors and cardiologists was awarded £250,000. Their project was to see if blood vessels in the eye can be used to detect heart disease using a smartphone-based eye test. This is an exciting project and findings from the research will be released soon”

“We look forward to announcing some new exciting research projects soon and we wish the successful applicants good luck with their projects.”

Declan Cunnane, CEO at NICHS says “We are honoured and delighted to welcome Professor Martin McKee to our Scientific Research Committee. He brings to the committee an extraordinary amount of experience. Martin is Professor of European Public Health at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He has made major contributions to our understanding of health in times of rapid social change and works closely with the WHO and other international bodies. So, we are very grateful that he has chosen to work with us at Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke.

Fidelma Carter Head of Research at NICHS says “I’m delighted to welcome the renowned Professor Martin McKee as the new Chair of our Scientific Research Committee with responsibility for leading and overseeing our research programme and the awarding of research funding. Like all charities we faced some major challenges in response to COVID. However, in our 75th anniversary year we continue to prioritise funding for our research that delivers real improvements and maximum benefits for people living with, or at risk of chest, heart and stroke illness and that demonstrates the greatest impact for the care and prevention of chest, heart and stroke illnesses”

“Since 1994, we have invested almost £8 million into local research, funding a total of 101 projects in our local universities and hospitals fully funded through the kind donations received from the public, partners and donors”

“I am excited about growing and developing our research programme under the direction and leadership of Professor McKee who brings a wealth of experience to our Scientific Research Committee which consists of up to 15 members including researchers, clinicians and two new patient representatives who also join the SRC this January”

Find out more about NICHS research projects, past and present, at