The Irish Universities Association (IUA) is carrying out a feasibility study on developing a national research website where all publicly funded research projects and information could be found in one place.
It would mean that, for the first time, Irish research would be freely available worldwide and users wouldn’t have to browse individual websites to find out what R&D is being undertaken here.
As part of the project, the IUA held a research information systems conference yesterday, examining EU best practice in this area.
The website expertiseireland.com has already made progress in mining the research information systems of the higher education institutions and creating, in a single web-based location, more than 5,700 profiles of knowledge experts and licensing from this sector.
Data from expertiseireland.com will provide the cornerstone for the new National Research Platform.
“Expertiseireland.com is a fantastic resource but is a bit limited in its focus. We need joined-up thinking on Ireland’s national research effort,” said IUA project manager, Dr Celia Gallagher.
“As part of this project, we’re looking at who all the major stakeholders are – higher education institutions, government agencies, industry, the media and the general public – and who they define as users and what their needs are.”
At the conference, six European speakers revealed how they manage their national research effort.
“The aim of the conference was to assess what we can learn from other countries so we can promote the best research we have internationally. For example, Geert van Grootel from the Flanders Research Information Space said the Flemish Government has found that a highly effective data environment, in which researchers spend 1pc less time on paperwork, saves €5m per €1bn of publicly-funded R&D money. This is for a population of 22,000 researchers in the region.
“We also heard at the conference that the Slovenian research agency publishes a calendar of funding calls for an entire year, which helps researchers to plan proposals and resources,” said Gallagher.
In his speech at the conference, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins TD said the National Research Platform would provide a one-stop-shop to showcase and disseminate Irish publicly funded research to national and global audiences.
“Trinity College Dublin has already made its research output available on expertiseireland.com and the remainder of the higher education sector is in the process of doing the same,” he said.
“The National Research Platform will ensure that the strong research message emerging from the island of Ireland is coherent, innovative and forward looking.”
By Sorcha Corcoran
Pictured (from left): Dr Conor O’Carroll, head of research IUA; Dr Jimmy Devins TD, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation; Dr John Hegarty, provost, Trinity College Dublin; and Dr Celia Gallagher, project manager IUA