Clinical FeaturesOncology

Establishing a National Cancer Mission Hub

The NCCP Collaborates with the All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI) to establish a National Cancer Mission Hub in Ireland

Establishing of Cancer Mission

Hubs: Networks and Synergies (ECHoS) is a new three-year European consortium supported by the EU Mission on Cancer and brings together from 58 organisations from governmental, healthcare, research, academic and non-profit sectors distributed across 28 countries (¤6 million funding 2023-2026).

National Cancer Mission Hubs (NCMHs) will be created in 28 countries (25 Member States, 3 Associated Countries). Ireland is represented within the ECHoS project by the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP: services/list/5/cancer/) as the primary national lead and the AllIsland Cancer Research Institute (AICRI: as co-participant. Both the NCCP and AICRI will collaborate closely with the consortium coordinators and leading experts across Europe, to establish a National Cancer Mission Hub (NCMH) in Ireland. In terms of project leadership, Prof. Donal Brennan is the National Clinical Lead for Cancer Research and chairs the NCCP Cancer Research Group. Prof. William Gallagher is a cancer biologist based in University College Dublin and co-lead of AICRI. Both the NCCP and AICRI will collaborate closely to establish a NCMH in Ireland. This combined effort will coordinate research and innovation and healthcare actions on cancer, moving policy-making processes towards people-centric healthcare and research systems in ways that cannot be achieved through individual efforts and fragmented initiatives.

The NCMHs will encourage participation from stakeholders and citizens in cancer-related policy dialogues at EU, national, regional and local levels. It will help to advance better integration of cancer research and policy. Further information on the hubs is available on the ECHoS website (

Bridging cancer care, cancer policy and research

This establishment of a NCMH in Ireland aligns with Ireland’s National Cancer Strategy 2017-26, which has a particular focus on involving patients in their own cancer care and further developing the role of research to improve cancer services, as well as aligning with the principles of Sláintecare and the involvement of citizens in how Ireland shapes its health services. It is a key step towards strengthening the voice of national stakeholders in cancer policies in Europe. It will foster national and international collaboration, promote inclusivity, and drive innovation in cancer care. It will also help to accelerate cancer research in Ireland. The NCMH is an opportunity to tailor our cancer landscape to the precise needs of our patients and society and it is expected to develop some guidelines and tools that can help other organisations to implement relevant, impact-driven, research and policy dialogues in meaningful areas of health and beyond.

Time to Act

Cancer represents a global health challenge and the fight against cancer can no longer be an isolated endeavour. Currently, research, innovation and healthcare initiatives are largely siloed within specific communities and the engagement of citizens is either poor or non-existent. Supported by the European Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Mission on Cancer, cancer occupies a central place within the European political agenda. Europe’s political leaders are now championing a pan-European cooperation towards a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach, and a data-informed, citizen-focused, research-driven agenda. The time to act is now.

AICRI, in collaboration with the NCCP, is organising an EU Cancer Mission DAy – Irelnad in Dublin on the 26th September 2023. This event will provide a platform for academic researchers, clinician scientists and other healthcare professionals, charity partners and policymakers, as well as those with a lived experience of cancer, to come together and share their insights, knowledge and experiences to explore innovative approaches to address cancer challenges. Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, TD, will provide a keynote address at this event. There will be five main sessions as follows:

Session 1: Ireland’s Participation in EU Cancer Mission Projects

Session 2: How Can We All Benefit from Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan?

Session 3: The Lived Experience at the Heart of National and European Cancer Initiatives

Session 4: Co-ordination of Cancer Research at National and European Levels

Session 5: Engagement with Ireland’s National Cancer Mission Hub going forward

Attendance in-person at this event is now sold out, however, if you are most welcome to join the event online by registering on Eventbrite ( and to view the agenda.

Contact: Dr Ozlem McDonnell, NCCP ECHoS Project Coordinator (

Dr Rosemarie Gannon, AICRI Project Manager (

Written by Professor Donal Brennan (NCCP), Professor William Gallagher (AICRI), Dr Rosemarie Gannon (AICRI) and Dr Ozlem McDonnell (NCCP)

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