Public perceptions of biomedical research: a survey of the general population in Ireland

In Ireland, in the context of an increasingly knowledge-focused society, financial support for health-related research has increased exponentially in the last decade. Yet little is known about the views of the public, in Ireland and elsewhere, on developments in science, medicine and technology which affect their lives. The aim of the present study was to provide the first nationally representative profile regarding public perceptions on use of human tissue in medical research in Ireland. Specifically, the research aimed to provide nationally representative data on: public willingness to donate a tissue sample for medical research; public preferences for informed consent procedures in relation to the use and storage of human tissue for medical research; public preferences for tissue storage (linked or unlinked model of storage); level of feedback on research findings considered desirable by the public; public awareness of, and attitudes towards, the recent organ retention controversy