Senator Grace O’Sullivan hosts Waterford researcher in Leinster House

Posted: 13 December, 2018

Waterford-based Green Party Senator, Grace O’Sullivan is the latest member of the Oireachtas to participate in a new ‘shadowing’ scheme organised by the Irish Research Council.

The scheme sees some of Ireland’s most promising researchers ‘shadowing’ members of the Oireachtas in Leinster House. It is aimed at strengthening academics’ and politicians’ understanding of the role research plays in public policy formation.

Participating in the scheme, researcher Dr Ray Griffin was hosted at Leinster House by Senator O’Sullivan. Dr Griffin is a lecturer in strategic management at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Dr Griffin – who is from Tramore, County Waterford – said: “I was delighted to be paired with Senator O’Sullivan as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing’ scheme. This was a great opportunity to brief her not only on my own research into the labour market and regional economic development, but also on the challenges and opportunities facing the wider research sector.”

Senator O’Sullivan said: “The Irish Research Council funds excellent research across a whole variety of issues, which have significant impact on our work here in Leinster House and in the formation of public policy. This is a great opportunity for knowledge transfer between policy-makers and researchers.

“We have some of the best researchers in the world working here in Ireland and, as members of the Oireachtas, it is our duty and privilege to draw on the expertise of Ireland’s research sector to enhance the legislative process.

“I am delighted to have participated in this scheme, which is a great way for members of the Oireachtas to understand how we can harness the knowledge, skills, and innovative capacity of Ireland’s research sector, to enhance our society and economy.”

Dr Eavan O’Brien, Assistant Director of the Irish Research Council, said the scheme is aimed at bridging the divide between politics, policy-making and research: “Every year, the Irish Research Council makes new awards to hundreds of talented researchers, working on topics ranging from climate change and housing to conflict resolution and health,” she said.

“The excellent research underway in Ireland can make an important contribution to public policy formation and the legislative process.

“Some members of the Oireachtas may not be aware of the full breadth and potential of Ireland’s research sector. At the same time, some researchers may not see an immediate link between their work and the impact that it has on the development of new policies and laws.

“We have therefore developed this ‘shadowing’ scheme with the view to bridging the divide between policy-making and research – and to ensure that our elected representatives are supported to tap into publicly-funded research.”

Senator O’Sullivan is the fourth member of the Oireachtas to take part in the scheme, with Hildegard Naughton TD hosting Galway researcher, Morag Taite, in July; Senator Maria Byrne hosting Limerick researcher, Dr Maura Adshead, in October; Dublin and Dublin mid-West TD Eoin Ó Broin hosting Maynooth-based researcher, Grace Halpin, in December

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