Ireland must implement structures to strengthen links between researchers and policymakers, report finds

Posted: 15 September, 2021

  •  RIA and IRC launch joint report on how research can inform public policy for common good
  • -Stakeholders including SFI, HRB, IUA and THEA have issued a Statement of Support for the report findings

 The Royal Irish Academy and Irish Research Council have today launched a report outlining how research can best inform public policy. ‘Research for Public Policy: An Outline Roadmap’ is the culmination of a webinar series that the organisations ran earlier this year, exploring the importance of evidence-based policy and how to harness the diverse expertise of Ireland’s researchers for the benefit of society. A group of stakeholders in the higher education and research sector have also joined together to issue a Statement of Support for the messages contained in the paper including Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Universities Association, Campus Engage, Irish Humanities Alliance, the Health Research Board and the Technological Higher Education Association.

The report outlines the findings and insights from the webinar series and identifies pathways that could be explored to strengthen the engagement between researchers and policymakers. These include:

  • Establishing a national policy challenge platform. This two-way structure would enable research-performing organisations to upload summaries of research projects/papers that have policy significance and also enable government departments to indicate areas of interest.
  • Adapting the European Science Advice Mechanism (SAM) to an Irish context. The SAM is a service created by the European Commission that provides independent, high-quality scientific advice directly to European Commissioners to inform their decision-making on policy issues.

Commenting on the launch of the report today, Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy said: “The Academy believes that connecting researchers and policymakers to ensure that public policy initiatives are based on the most up-to-date available research is imperative, particularly as we rebuild our society post-pandemic. This report is an important roadmap for government and stakeholders to progress work in this area. The statement of support, signed by so many stakeholders in the sector, shows that we are willing to work together to assist Government in creating an established network of connections between researchers and policymakers”.

 Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council added: “From the discussion series, it was evident that all stakeholders were in agreement that ensuring dialogue between policymakers and the best possible scientific and scholarly knowledge is a vital agenda for Ireland.”

“The reality in this country is that, although multiple sources of valuable policy advice exist, the pathway for contributing to policy development remains relatively narrow. We know there is no one single solution but, for the proposals in this report to be successful, we will need the Government, our research institutions and research funders to play their part.”

Read the full report here

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