Research Collaborative in Quality and Patient Safety

‘Quality and patient safety are a key priority for health service delivery. This partnership approach helps ensure we ask the right research questions to develop evidence informed solutions to real health system challenges that improve people’s health and health care delivery’.

Dr Darrin Morrissey

Chief Executive at the Health Research Board

The Research Collaborative in Quality and Patient Safety (RCQPS) is a unique collaboration between the Health Research Board (HRB), the National Quality Improvement Team of the Health Service Executive (HSE NQI Team) and RCPI.

The RCQPS was established in 2013. This award scheme is co-funded by the HRB and the HSE NQI Team. RCPI manage the application and peer review process and the HRB manage funded projects.

Doctor with nursing student

Our Focus: Quality and Patient Safety

We identify the most pressing issues affecting healthcare quality and patient safety in Ireland and allocate funding for research into these issues, knowing we can help drive improvements in quality and patient safety throughout the entire health system.

Our Vision

We want to drive improvements in healthcare quality and patient safety through research. We are working towards this by: 

  • developing an Irish research network focused on quality in healthcare and patient safety
  • bringing researchers and individuals involved in healthcare improvement, health policy and/or the delivery of services together to identify specific research questions that will improve patient care
  • prioritising research questions and allocating funding accordingly.


It has been reported that on average it takes 17 years for health research to translate into clinical practice1. Translation of research into patient benefit more rapidly is a policy priority of the Irish healthcare system. In order to aid this process of knowledge translation the RCQPS issue calls for research proposals from a team comprising experienced researchers and those at the forefront of healthcare services and policy-making (termed knowledge users) to address nationally relevant research in the area of quality and patient safety.  This collaborative model has been proposed as the most likely to ensure that research findings are relevant and responsive and can influence decision making in the health and social care system2, 3.


After evaluation of the RCQPS process in 2018, we have listened to your feedback and have made changes to the RCQPS process. This new and improved step-by-step RCQPS application process is aimed at supporting the development of research proposals. 

RCQPS has for the first time introduced themes of national priority in the area of quality and patient safety under which applicants should focus their proposed research. The theme for the 2019 funding cycle is Quality Improvement. The HSE’s Framework for Improving Quality, defines Quality Improvement as the combined and unceasing efforts of everyone – healthcare professionals, patients and their families, researchers, commissioners, providers and educators – to make the changes that will lead to:

  • Better patient outcomes
  • Better experience of care
  • Continued development and supporting of staff in delivering quality of care

Research proposals for the 2019 funding cycle are invited under two themes:

  1. Effective Quality Improvement

Proposals are invited that address one or more of the following:

  • Building evidence of novel approaches which increase effective Quality Improvement
  • Implementing Quality Improvement
  • Sustaining improvements in quality of care
  • Spreading effective Quality Improvement across healthcare sites
  1. Building and Supporting a Culture of Quality Improvement

Proposals are invited that address one or more of the following:

  • Leadership for Quality Improvement
  • Teamwork for Quality Improvement across disciplines
  • Effective communication for Quality Improvement
  • Building Quality Improvement Capacity and Capability
  • Exploring how high performing services foster a culture of Quality Improvement

Funding available

RCQPS awards provide funding up to a maximum award value of €280,000 (inclusive of overheads) for projects of up to 24 months. Quality permitting 2 awards will be funded each year, with calls expected in early 2020 and 2021.



1Morris et al. (2011). The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. J R Soc Med: 104: 510-520.

2Sibbald et al. (2014). Research funder required partnerships: a qualitative inquiry. Implementation Science, 9:176.

3Rycroft-Malone et al. (2015). Collective action for knowledge mobilisation: a realtistic evaluation of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), Health Services and Delivery Research, Vol 3; No 44. 

How are Applications Prioritised?

We owe it to patients to allocate funding responsibly and ensure the maximum positive health impact. Each research application is carefully assessed and scored.

We consider:

  • Does this project address a quality and patient safety priority in Ireland?
  • Will the research design and methodology answer the research question?
  • Is there evidence that the collaborators have developed a genuine partnership to deliver on the proposed project?
  • Is there real potential for translation of the findings into policy and/or practice?


Flowchart and Timeframe of RCQPS Award Process 2019

Flowchart and Timeframe of RCQPS Award Process 2019

“This is a huge opportunity to immediately improve the quality of patient care.”

Dr Philip Crowley

Director of National Quality Improvement Team, Health Service Executive

RCQPS Approved Projects 2013 – 2018

Since the RCQPS Scheme was introduced in 2013, 9 projects have been awarded funding. For more information on individual awards please click here to access the HRB RCQPS Webpage. 

Project title Principal investigator Award value
How can a multi-disciplinary prescribing strategy support appropriate prescribing of oral nutritional supplements (ONS) by Irish general practitioners (GPs)? Professor Clare Corish €276, 334
How can mental health services and primary care best collaborate to enhance physical health outcomes among patients presenting with first episode of psychosis? A mixed methods study Professor Walter Cullen €276,539
OPTI-MEND: Optimising early assessment and intervention by health and social care professionals in the emergency department (ED) Dr Rose Galvin €277,166
Development of a multi-faceted approach to reducing and mitigating the risk of foreign object retention (FOR) Professor Sam Crombie €279,988
Supporting prescribing in Irish primary care: a non-randomised pilot study of a GP practice-based pharmacist medicines optimisation programme Professor Susan Smith €259,443
Making the patient a member of the healthcare team in chronic disease management: An ethnographic and participant action research analysis of living with epilepsy in Ireland (E-PIC: Epilepsy Partnership in Care) Ms Mary Fitzsimons €279,498
What are the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different models of community specialist palliative care (CSPC) provision in Ireland? Professor Charles Normand €280,000
Can implementation of an emergency department monitoring and escalation protocol of adult patients in a large teaching hospital reduce the number of critical incidents and improve timely intervention in patients requiring a high level of care and improve Dr Conor Deasy €248,745
Supporting work participation through early intervention in patients with regional MSK pain Dr Deirdre Desmond €272,952

Contact Us

For further details on the RCQPS please contact us:


General Enquiries


Tel: +353 1 8639 610

Dr Stephanie Whelan

RCQPS Research Coordinator

Tel: 01 8639 610