Annual Research Conference

The REF hosts our Annual Multidisciplinary Research Conference at the end of November every year, featuring keynote talks by invited speakers and presentations of research conducted in the region.

  • The conference is a unique opportunity for local researchers in the HSE North West area to present their recently undertaken health research projects to a wide audience
  • The event provides a showcase for research carried out at SUH and in collaboration with our partner institutions. The REF continues to build on past successes in providing support for education, training and research to people engaged in healthcare provision in the North West

The 21st Annual Multidisciplinary Research Conference takes place on
27th November 2020, Sligo University Hospital / IT Sligo

This year, given the unusual circumstances, the Conference will be run via Proximate / Remote Attendance. It will be an all-day event at the Aurivo auditorium at IT Sligo and streamed to 3 venues with Sligo University Hospital. There will be a mix of online and proximate presentations which allows us to attract a very high calibre of speakers.

The focus will be mainly, but not exclusively, on the Covid-19 pandemic – the experiences, responses and learning from the clinical / scientific / industry / community perspectives

To include:

  • Keynote speakers – International / National experts
  • NW Ireland – Industry / Community / IT Sligo / Public Health representatives
  • SUH Management and Clinical perspectives
  • Projects selected from local researcher submissions for oral presentation


  • 4 Poster prizes
  • €10,000 worth of seed grants up to a maximum of €2500 per awardee

Deadlines: (late applications will not be considered)

  • Grants – 19th October 2020
  • Abstracts – 2nd November 2020


The 20th Annual Multidisciplinary Conference took place on the 29th of November 2019 at SUH and was a tremendous success – attended by over 180 people from across the health care professions, academia and industry representatives form Sligo and surrounds. Our Keynote speakers were:

Prof. Francis Finucane, Consultant Endocrinologist, Galway University Hospital / Honorary Professor in Medicine, NUIG. During higher medical training in endocrinology and general internal medicine, he was awarded an MD from Trinity College Dublin for research on the mechanistic basis for type-2 diabetes in young people. He then completed an MRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, UK, where he studied the effects of structured lifestyle modification on metabolic risk in older people – the first trial to show that exercise reduces liver fat content in humans. He conceptualised and validated a novel method to quantify insulin resistance (“leptin: adiponectin ratio”) and also contributed to important discoveries about the genetics of insulin resistance. Since returning to Ireland in 2010, he has established a regional bariatric service for patients with severe and complicated obesity, and was the clinical lead for endocrinology at Galway University Hospitals and Saolta from 2014-18. He was elected to Council at RCPI in 2017 and has served on various policy groups and the examinations board, as well as representing RCPI on the board of the National Office for Clinical Audit. He is a member of several international scientific organisations and peer reviews for several high impact medical journals. He is on the editorial board of the journal Obesity Surgery. He received the inaugural Clinical research Career Development Award from Saolta this year.

Prof. Niall Moyna, Professor of Clinical Exercise Physiology, DCU. He undertook his undergraduate degree at University of Limerick, and completed his graduate studies at Purdue University and the University of Pittsburgh, USA. He completed a three-year National Institute of Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in immunology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. He was Director of the Clinical Exercise Research Laboratory in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre and later moved to Connecticut to take a position as a Senior Research Scientist in Nuclear and Preventive Cardiology at Hartford Hospital. Prof Moyna has published over 170 research papers. His research examines the role of exercise in the prevention and treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases and on understanding how gene polymorphisms help to explain inter-individual variability in biological responses to exercise. Niall is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and the Faculty of Public Health Medicine Ireland. He is a regular contributor to TV and radio on issues related to lifestyle and health and has a keen interest in sport.

Both talks were very well received by a packed auditorium.