Irish public gives more than 18,000 ideas to shape the future of science

3 Dec 2021

Image: © Gajus/

The ideas from Creating Our Future will be analysed by an expert group and go on to inform Ireland’s future strategy for research and science.

The Irish Government’s Creating Our Future campaign, which launched in July, has received more than 18,000 submissions from the public.

The initiative sought ideas in a ‘national brainstorm’ on the future of science and research in Ireland. The campaign ran from July to November, featuring a number of events and workshops around the country.

The initial aim was to collect 10,000 ideas from the public, however, Minister for Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, revealed this week that nearly twice that amount had been submitted. The ideas will now be considered by a panel of experts.

The campaign was overseen by an advisory forum led by Julie Byrne, head of external collaboration programmes at Nokia Bell Labs. Byrne has almost 30 years’ experience in engineering, tech and research, and her current job at Nokia Bell Labs involves bringing together researchers to collaborate on innovations.

Public ambassadors for the campaign also included Prof Luke O’Neill, Emer O’Neill, Shane O’Donnell and Prof Emilie Pine. Creating Our Future also played a significant role in Science Week 2021, which ran during November.

“I want to genuinely thank each and every person who engaged with this campaign,” Harris said. “Your ideas, your priorities will help us shape our priorities for research and science going forward.

“Over the coming years, Ireland will need to find solutions to the biggest challenges facing our society,” he added. “The experience of Covid-19 teaches us that we need to work together to solve large challenges to our society, with researchers and the general public contributing to government policies and decision-making.”

Once analysed, the submitted ideas will be published in a report by the end of 2021, which will inform Ireland’s next strategy for research, innovation, science and technology.

An expert committee chaired by Prof Linda Hogan of Trinity College Dublin has been set up to “ensure that the findings reflect the public’s voice” and “recommendations are developed to inspire research in Ireland,” Harris said.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic