How did we get here?

In the late 1990s, Dr Alexander Tournier, then studying theoretical physics at Cambridge University, became intrigued by the interesting results coming from the field of homeopathy research, especially basic science experiments using infinitesimal doses and exploring previously unknown properties of water. Startling results were being reported, such as the ‘memory of water’ effect first brought to light by Professor Jacques Benveniste in the 1980’s.

Seeing the potential and importance of research in this relatively new field, but concerned by the lack of quality of the studies being carried out, Dr Tournier decided to create an organisation whose primary role would be to promote high quality research in homeopathy.

Thanks to early support from several established leaders in homeopathy research, such as Dr Peter Fisher, Dr Elizabeth Thompson, Dr Clare Relton and Prof Kate Thomas, plus invaluable help from many more individuals  along the way, HRI was able to put down the firm foundations needed to create a new Institute.

In 2010 Rachel Roberts joined HRI, bringing the benefits of over a decade working as a clinician and lecturer in homeopathy, combined with expertise in communicating the research evidence base and representing the UK homeopathic profession, gained during her years as Research Consultant for the Society of Homeopaths.

Together, Dr Alex Tournier and Rachel Roberts form the HRI Management Team. They are responsible for overseeing the activities of the HRI team and Scientific Advisory Committee who make the Homeopathy Research Institute the thriving charity it is today.

Evolution of the Charity

2007-9

Laying the Foundations | Creating the HRI

The Homeopathy Research Institute was incorporated in 2007 and awarded charitable status by the Charities Commission in 2009. From these beginnings, the Institute has expanded both in terms of personnel and impact. Recruitment over recent years has strengthened the organisation by increasing the range of expertise within all departments, including the Board of Trustees, Scientific Advisory Committee and Staff.

2010

First Steps | HRI begins funding research

Through the generous support of our patrons, the Institute was able to begin funding our first research project ‘Physico-chemical properties of ultra-high dilutions’ by Dr Steven Cartwright.

2011

Going Public | HRI Launches at House of Commons Reception

On 17 May 2011, HRI hosted a reception at the House of Commons in London, attended by  over 150 guests including academics, scientists, peers and members of Parliament, as well as representatives from across the homeopathic industry and NHS healthcare providers. This unprecedented event, which attracted research experts from across Europe and the US, focused on placing homeopathy research on the national agenda as a valid and necessary scientific field of inquiry. HRI also took this opportunity to launch the HRI fundraising appeal. Our host, David Tredinnick MP opened the event and introduced thought-provoking presentations from Prof Kate Thomas and Dr Alexander Tournier.

Developing an International Profile | HRI Presents Evidence to Decision-makers Overseas

In 2011 we were delighted to accept two invitations to present evidence for homeopathy at an international level, firstly at the 1st International Conference on Homeopathy in Malaysia (as part of an appraisal of homeopathy conducted by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, which subsequently led to it being regulated fully by the Malaysian government) and secondly at the 66th Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis conference in Delhi (the largest homeopathy conference in the global calendar, with over 2,000 delegates in attendance).

2012

Training researchers of the future | First HRI PhD Studentship awarded

In line with HRI’s Research Strategy and Priorities, our first PhD Studentship was  awarded to a researcher investigating the potential role of homeopathy for an ‘effectiveness gap condition’ i.e. a medical condition for which existing conventional treatment options fail to achieve satisfactory results for patients. In this case HRI awarded the studentship to Philippa Fibert at the University of Sheffield, to fund a randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of homeopathy for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), expected to reach completion in 2016.

Researching new audiences | Disseminating Research and Raising Awareness of HRI

From 2012 onwards, Alexander Tournier and Rachel Roberts have presented at multiple Conferences around the world including events in Paris, Cambridge, Lisbon, Bristol, Bern, Gothenburg, Athens and Berlin, bringing the latest research findings to new audiences.

2013

Establishing a global presence | Inaugural HRI Conference

HRI’s 1st International Research Conference, ‘Cutting Edge Research in Homeopathy’, took place in Barcelona in May-June 2013. With a programme dedicated solely to high-end, robust scientific research, Barcelona 2013 was the first gathering of its kind in a decade. The best homeopathy researchers in the world were brought together under one roof to share their latest findings and create new international collaborations.The high scientific quality of presentations was evident throughout the intensive programme, which included talks by five Professors and 40 Doctors (PhDs and medics), from institutions as far afield as Universidade Paulista (Sao Paolo, Brazil), University of Verona (Italy), University of Berne (Switzerland) and the Finlay Institute (Havana, Cuba).

2014

And beyond…

The 2014 landscape was dominated by the Australian Report. One of the most in-depth yet in the end disappointingly flawed investigations into the efficacy of homeopathy, it required significant deconstruction, evaluation and response.

Later in the year HRI was privileged to be a part of the opening of the 2014 LIGA conference in Paris. Dr Alex Tournier once again spoke on the emerging field of quantum coherence domains. But in the main, the year was about consolidation and logistics, bedding down systems, attending to our magnificent donors, honing the communications message and pushing forward innumerable research projects.

And above all, the exciting prospect of the 2015 HRI conference to be held in Rome. With the continued support of the homeopathic and scientific communities, the team at HRI is looking forward to continuing our work in promoting high quality research. HRI’s dedication to professionalism and innovation will continue to be a hallmark of all that we do over the coming year, and years to come. Please give generously!

“HRI is essential to the future of homeopathy research both in the UK and worldwide. It is wonderful to see the Institute thriving.”

Dr Elizabeth Thompson – Lead Clinician and Academic Director,
Bristol Homeopathic Hospital

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Dr Clare Relton – creation of HRI as a unique organisation its field

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