Cochrane UK and Ireland Symposium 2019


Cochrane Inspires in Oxford


Elaine Toomey, Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland, gives an overview of what we got up to at our joint Cochrane UK and Cochrane Ireland symposium in Oxford last week.

The joint Cochrane UK and Cochrane Ireland symposium (#CochraneInspires) took place in the beautiful settings of Oxford in March 2019. This event included the official re-launch of Cochrane Ireland within the new Evidence Synthesis Ireland initiative (funded by Health Research Board/Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland), as well as a host of capacity-building workshops and knowledge exchange between the Cochrane community.

Cochrane Ireland is re-launched!

Martin Burton

Cochrane UK Director Martin Burton kicks off the symposium

Day 1 kicked off with a sincere welcome from Cochrane UK Director Martin Burton, who outlined the schedule of events for the two days. First up was Cochrane Ireland Director Declan Devane and Associate Director Elaine Toomey who presented on the new initiative and plans for the year ahead. This included outlining our plan of training workshops and webinars, as well as our upcoming fellowship and studentship models. The presentation was received warmly with some engaging questions from the audience – keeping us motivated and on the ball!

Declan Devane

Cochrane Ireland Director Declan Devane launches Cochrane Ireland


Kit Byatt

Dr Kit Byatt asking tough questions!


Elaine Toomey and Martin Burton

Cochrane Ireland Associate Director Elaine Toomey answering the tough questions!


Sharing ideas and experiences

The rest of the morning sessions on Day 1 were a fantastic eye-opener into a multitude of different activities and innovations, from making us question our sustainability and ‘carbon footprint’ within health research, to tips for knowledge translation and dealing with Twitterstorms and involving patients and members of the public in systematic reviews. After a healthy lunch (practicing what we preach!), a series of workshops on a variety of topics including network meta-analyses, assessing risk of bias, the Cochrane Register of Studies and meaningful consumer involvement.

Workshops – working hard!

The next morning dawned bright and early, after our night of being wined and dined in style in the picturesque and historic Trinity College (depicted at the top of the blog). In addition to a number of workshops covering PICO, Revman Web and review overviews, our own Cochrane Ireland trainers Dr Linda Biesty and Dr Pauline Meskell delivered a riveting workshop to a packed room on qualitative evidence synthesis with Dr. Andrew Booth from University of Sheffield. The workshop also gave us a taste of what’s to come, with our next qualitative evidence synthesis workshop with Andrew planned for September, as part of our year’s training programme! The afternoon finished with more workshops looking at common issues in Cochrane reviews, the upcoming Screen4Me tool for identifying studies (wow!) and words of wisdom on knowledge translation strategies and top tips for all of us to communicate our work!

Dr Linda Biesty and Dr Pauline Meskell

Cochrane Ireland trainers Dr Linda Biesty (National University of Ireland Galway) and Dr Pauline Meskell (University of Limerick)


Martin Burton and Declan Devane with David Tovey

Martin Burton and Declan Devane with David Tovey, Editor-in-Chief of the Cochrane Library

A great experience!

In summary, our first joint symposium with Cochrane UK within our new initiative was a fantastic experience, and a wonderful chance to meet old friends, make new ones and develop and strengthen our networks and collaborations with Cochrane community both in Ireland, the UK and beyond. In particular, we were delighted to award three well-deserved sponsored places to Dr Catherine Waldron, Ms Ciara Ni Laighin and Ms Claire Sweeney, who are featured here on our website. We’d like to say a massive thank you to the Cochrane UK team who supported and facilitated this joint symposium. They have gone above and beyond in helping us make the relaunch of Cochrane Ireland the success it is. We look forward to continued engagement and friendship – watch this space for the next joint symposium in April 2020 in Dublin!

Members of Cochrane Ireland

Members of Cochrane Ireland present at the symposium (from L-R: Dr Pauline Meskell, Ms Elaine Finucane, Mr Bernard McCarthy, Dr Linda Biesty, Prof Declan Devane, Dr Patricia Healy, Dr Elaine Toomey)

Join in the conversation Twitter with @ElaineToomey1 @CochraneIreland @CochraneUK or leave a comment on the blog.



Elaine ToomeyDr Elaine Toomey is Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland and Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, National Unviersity of Ireland Galway. She is also a Health Research Board (HRB) Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement post-doctoral research fellow with the Health Behaviour Change Research Group in the School of Psychology, where she is currently also working on the development of a complex intervention to enhance infant feeding practices with a goal of improving childhood obesity outcomes, specifically focusing on process and implementation outcomes.

Cochrane Inspires in Oxford! by Elaine Toomey

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