Eight researchers get Government funding to boost all-island cooperation

1 Dec 2022

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The projects will bring researchers together from across the island of Ireland to support cooperation, while trying to improve social and cultural understanding.

A total of €150,000 is going to eight research projects that will contribute to the Government initiative to boost cooperation on the island of Ireland.

The projects will bring researchers together to inform the development of political, policy and economic cooperation, while trying to improve social and cultural understanding across the island.

The funding is coming from the Shared Island strand of the Irish Research Council (IRC) New Foundations programme.

It announced today (1 December) by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

Martin said the Shared Island initiative looks to the future of the island of Ireland “in an inclusive, practical way”.

“These research projects will help light the way on how we deepen beneficial cooperation and connections between people and communities in culture, science, education, law and on equality concerns,” Martin added.

“I look forward to the evidence and insights that these research projects will bring forward as they are completed next year.”

The researchers being funded include University of Limerick’s Dr Conor Little, who will lead a project examining the development of the policy agendas of the shared institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. This project will identify what policy issues receive political attention, and how agenda-setting shapes politics and policymaking on the island of Ireland.

Dr Maebh Harding of University College Dublin will bring together a network of legal scholars across Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK to address emerging and complex issues of gender and law.

Prof Sheila O’Donohoe of South East Technological University plans to establish a research partnership between two universities on the island of Ireland, focused on sustainable finance options to tackle biodiversity loss.

A project by Trinity College Dublin’s Dr Steven Hadley will bring together academics, cultural data specialists and arts sector organisations to develop a data system for enhancing how cultural engagement is understood. This has the end goal of supporting the development of policy, tourism and creative industries.

“Research can play a significant role in building links between communities by finding solutions to common problems,” Harris said. “My department is proud to support this initiative.”

Eleven projects were funded under the first call of the Shared Island New Foundations awards last year.

The Shared Island Fund was established in Budget 2021 to bolster communication, cooperation and investment between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Last year, a new research programme was allocated €40m in funding to help deepen the links between higher education institutions and researchers across the island of Ireland. Earlier this year, plans were also announced for establishing virtual collaborative research centres.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic