The Irish Network for Children’s Clinical Trials – In4kids – was conceived more than a decade ago with two key objectives which remain true today – increase the quality and quantity of children’s research in Ireland, and put the lived experience of children and their families at the centre of research design.  As a c4c national hub, this vision became a reality, enabling the network to flourish and grow. We continue to attract new collaborators and add new hospital sites to our portfolio which helps us further support and advocate for children’s clinical trials in Ireland.

In 2021, the Irish Health Research Board, recognising the importance of this network, awarded national core funding to the network, helping to ensure our sustainability.

Our national hub is hosted by University College Cork and is led by Geraldine Boylan, Professor in Neonatal Physiology and co-led by Eleanor Molloy, Professor of Paediatrics at Trinity College Dublin. 
Melissa Walsh, c4c Programme Manager, and Teresa Berkery, In4kids Network Manager, lead the operations and day to day management of the national hub.

The c4c Academy is a fantastic resource and has proven very popular with over 100 course registrations to date across our 12 clinical sites. Popular choices are the c4c Advanced Course in Paediatric Clinical Trials and Trainings for the Proof of Viability Clinical Trials.

There has also been significant interest in the short course on ‘Involving Children, Young Patients and Families in Designing Clinical Research’. This is no surprise as Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in clinical trials is a key focus of our network. We recognise the importance of including the voices of those most affected by the research. In4kids are currently working to establish a national young person’s advisory group. We will also develop PPI tools to aid researchers in research design and implementation.

Ensuring Ireland is recognised internationally as a prime location for industry and academia alike to host their clinical trials is of utmost importance to the network. Development of our national database of Principal Investigators underpins this objective and aids us in managing site feasibility requests. In4kids is currently active in numerous clinical trials, including the c4c TREOCAPA neonatal clinical trial.

The In4kids network was offically launched in January 2023 marking an exciting time for children’s research in Ireland. For this, a short film by Irish school children was commissioned, showcasing children’s ability not only to understand clinical trials but to run their own their randomised control trials (RCTs). This underpins the importance of our plans to include both children and their families in the network.
As emphasised by our expert panel discussion on the day, there are challenges but more importantly, great opportunities for clinical trials in Ireland.

In4kids will capitalise on these opportunities as we continue to work towards ensuring children have the same access to evidence based health care as adults.