Record number of IRC research awards to support Irish communities

7 Apr 2021

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The Irish Research Council has given 76 awards to projects that will bring researchers and community or voluntary organisations together.

The Irish Research Council (IRC) is giving funding to 76 projects under the New Foundations scheme, which brings researchers and community and voluntary organisations together for knowledge sharing and societal impact.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, said this is the “highest ever number of funding awards” made by the IRC to support these research collaborations.

Projects are targeting a variety of societal issues, including those affecting carers, young people, senior citizens and the LGBTQ and migrant communities. Major focus areas will be the impact of the pandemic on wellbeing in these communities as well as the delivery of services.

The New Foundations scheme for 2020 had a number of strands, including funding from Creative Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and Dóchas.

Some of the funded research projects are:

  • A telehealth project led by NUI Galway’s Dr Haroon Zafar and heart and stroke charity Croí on the remote management of heart failure during Covid-19
  • An examination of care delivery in the home by Dundalk Institute of Technology’s Suzanne Smith and Drogheda Community Services Trust
  • A research collaboration between University College Cork’s Dr Siobhan O’ Sullivan and Bere Island Projects Group focusing on island housing and sustainable communities

“These research collaborations are helping with some very important community and voluntary sector projects,” Harris added. “This vibrant sector plays such an important role in supporting different groups in society, including the more vulnerable or marginalised.

“Through partnerships with researchers, such as the projects being announced today, diverse community organisations can bring new evidence and insights to enhance their services and impact for those that need them.”

IRC director Peter Brown commented: “As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, the expertise of researchers across diverse disciplines is a valuable resource for policy.”

The IRC has supported more than 200 community, voluntary and charity organisations since 2015, during which time it has funded 278 projects with a total investment of €6.5m. You can view the full list of 2020 New Foundations awardees here and find information on the 2021 scheme here.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021