Academic Study Coordinator at UCC Cancer Trials Group, Dr Erin Crowley. Photo: Andres Poveda

Cancer society honour researchers

People involved in ground-breaking research projects around the country including Cork have been honoured for their work in cancer research.

The recent Irish Cancer Society Research Awards hosted by patient advocate and healthcare campaigner, Kay McKeon, celebrated some of the amazing work in cancer research being carried out by nominees around Ireland, funded by the Irish Cancer Society.

In 2023, the Irish Cancer Society funded more than 30 new research projects and more than 100 cancer researchers all across the country

Among those to claim top honours were Senior Researcher of the Year Award Winner, Dr Luke Jones, as well as Dr Erin Crowley, who scooped the Support Staff of the Year Award title. The prize of PhD Researcher of the Year went to Chowdhury Arif Jahangir.

Welcoming her Support Staff of the Year award, recognising her work as Academic Study Coordinator at UCC Cancer Trials Group, Dr Erin Crowley, from Clonakilty, said: “Although I’m a pharmacist, I have really relished the experience to delve into the cancer research space, bringing unique insights and perspectives from my former roles.

“My position is shared across the UCC Cancer Trials Group and the HRB Clinical Research Facility-UCC, which are both HRB funded. This has really allowed me to strengthen collaboration between the two infrastructures. Seeing the impact this has had in the last 2 years has been incredibly rewarding and makes me so optimistic in our ability to give our patients opportunities to participate in academic clinical research in the future.”

The event also celebrated the central contribution of patients and survivors to innovative research projects that help to improve the lives of those impacted by cancer. This was reflected in the category of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Achievement of the Year Award, which went to a group of PPI members and researchers from University College Dublin.

Also on the night, the Irish Cancer Society announced the creation of the Sonya Lynch, PPI Award 2024. This award will provide funding to drive forward PPI activities, specifically in metastatic breast cancer research. The award was created in honour of Sonya Lynch, who used her experience with cancer to help others and was a founding team member of the LYSA study in Cork as part of the Irish Cancer Society Women’s Health Initiative.

Dr Claire Kilty, Irish Cancer Society Head of Research, said: “Cancer research in Ireland has a huge impact on the lives of people affected by cancer. It is a driving force in improving not only treatments and outcomes, but in quality of life beyond cancer. It was fantastic to get an appreciation of the amazing cancer research projects currently happening right across the country.

“We are proud to be the largest voluntary funded of cancer research in Ireland. However, none of the vital research we fund would be possible without the support of the public, especially on days like Daffodil Day. We would encourage everyone to please get out there and support Daffodil Day in whatever way you can on 22 March.”