The ACORN network kicked off today with a popular and interactive launch event. Suzanne Costello, CEO of the Public Health Institute of Ireland (itself a cross-border body) chaired the event, which was attended online by more than 60 researchers, policy and community colleagues and other stakeholders. Prof. Joe Barry delivered the first plenary presentation, focused on the background to and structure of the network.
All participants had the opportunity then to attend two of the four breakout sessions, each one focused on an ACORN theme. Colin Angus (University of Sheffield) led the Alcohol Pricing research theme, Prof. Niamh Shortt (University of Edinburgh) led the Alcohol Availability research theme, Dr. Pat Kenny (TU Dublin) led the Alcohol Marketing research theme and Dr. Matt Lesch (University of York) led the alcohol policymaking and politics research theme. Breakouts focused on setting the scene for research on each theme, highlighting the relevant work of ACORN members and lively discussions with those present. The discussions were fed back into the main plenary event by rapporteurs for each theme including Dr. Frank Houghton (Limerick IT), Dr. Nathan Critchlow (University of Stirling), Vania Filipova (TU Dublin) and Dr. Joanna Purdy (Institute of Public Health in Ireland).
In the final session, Prof. Niamh Fitzgerald (Institute for Social Marketing & Health, University of Stirling) presented the next steps for the network.