Dr Jennifer Ralph James is Head of the National Office for Research Ethics Committees, established in 2020 as an independent office hosted by the Health Research Board. The National Office has a statutory role in the regulation of particular health research remits by facilitating National Research Ethics Committees to return nationally applicable research ethics decisions following robust and independent review.
Jennifer’s international career has spanned both public and private sectors, leading on health-related initiatives with national reach including programmes for patient support and medical education, health and research policy, research funding programmes, and research investment decisions. She has held leadership roles managing the medical affairs for novel therapies in Ireland and Australia, most recently as Associate Director at MSD. Across a diverse patient treatment environment including immuno-oncology, rheumatology, and dermatology, Jennifer’s remit has been to retain patient safety, dignity and well-being at the centre of organisational decision-making.
Prior to her career in the pharmaceutical industry, Jennifer was a Programme Manager at Science Foundation Ireland following post-doctoral research as an Endeavour-Australia Europe Fellow in a leading translational rheumatology laboratory at Monash University, Melbourne. She is passionate about research ethics and integrity as the foundation on which healthcare improvements are developed from ‘bench to bedside’.
Jennifer holds a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and a PhD on the neuroendocrine basis of rheumatic disease from University College Dublin. Having completed a Higher Diploma in Psychotherapy Studies at The School of Psychotherapy at St Vincent’s University Hospital, her interests have expanded to how psychoanalysis can aid understanding of mental and physical health challenges in modern society.