Ireland and France mark 25 years of research collaboration

Posted: 8 December, 2021

The Irish Research Council and the French Embassy in Ireland are celebrating 25 years of research collaboration today (08.12.21), with the renewed launch of the Ulysses research scheme.

Now in its 25th year, the Ulysses scheme provides funding to facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas and approaches between researchers working in Ireland and France. The call for new projects across all disciplines is now open.

Named after James Joyce’s famous novel to celebrate the Joycean links between Ireland and France, the scheme has funded over 700 awardees since it began. Projects have covered a wide range of research areas including investigation into the potential for renewable energy extraction from volcanoes, the wellbeing of adolescents in the context of COVID-19 and the link between vitamin D and bovine infections.

Pictured left to right: Damien Henehan, IRC Programme Manager; Dr Marie-Luce Paris, Ulysses scheme awardee; French Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Mr. Vincent Guérend

Commenting on the opening of the call for projects, the French Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Vincent Guérend, said, “I’m delighted to see that this historical research scheme between France and Ireland is stronger than ever, even after almost two years of little mobility of researchers between France and Ireland. This program is now fully integrated into the French-Irish research landscape and highlights the special relationship between our two countries as France is now Ireland’s closest EU neighbour. This program has and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our researchers, building links with the private sector and pointing to priority areas such as climate, health or renewable energy.”

Also commenting, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, said: “The Ulysses scheme plays a long-standing role in the Council’s international engagement programme, and we are delighted to launch the call for projects today. Promoting international partnerships is an integral part of the Council’s mission and contributes significantly to the development of Ireland’s research system as a whole. The research collaboration between the Irish and French research systems fuels new knowledge, skills and experience which can have a huge impact on our respective societies.

“Now in its 25th year, this scheme has given over 700 Irish- and French-based researchers the opportunity to foster new collaborations and establish lasting professional networks of researchers and institutions.”

Ulysses Awardee: Case Study

Dr Marie-Luce Paris was awarded the Ulysses grant in 2020 and was the first ever law-related project to receive Ulysses funding. Dr Paris is working on a research project entitled ‘DECIDE2’ (Democracy in Crisis: Exploring the Citizen Challenge of Deliberative Democracy, in light of the French and Irish Constitutional Experiments) in collaboration with Aurélie Duffy-Meunier from Aix Marseille Université.


The aim of the collaboration is to compare the Irish and French use of participatory democracy tools, such as citizens’ assemblies and deliberative polls, particularly in constitutional decision-making. The comparison will help to provide an understanding of how political authorities can best address citizens’ expectations of increased democratic participation through the use of new technologies.

The Ulysses scheme is supported by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, RTE-France, EirGrid, Inserm, HRB, Ademe and SEAI.

The Ulysses call for research projects is now open, with the expected outcome to be announced in June 2022, which also marks the centenary of the publication of the famous novel. Further details can be found here.

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