Irish Research Council opens applications for new Shared Island research projects

Posted: 12 May, 2022

€200,000 available for up to 10 projects

The Irish Research Council, in partnership with the Department of the Taoiseach, has opened a new call for funding under the New Foundations programme.

€200,000 in funding is being provided by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach for up to 10 projects which contribute new knowledge or perspectives to the programme of research being undertaken as part of the Government’s Shared Island initiative.

This strand of the New Foundations programme will fund research, networking and collaboration projects which can help to take forward commitments and objectives on a shared island.

Research work will be focused on the Shared Island priorities set by Government as part of the revised National Development Plan (2021-2030) and key issues from the Shared Island Dialogue series convened by the Government to foster inclusive civic dialogue on a shared future on the island, across two themes:

Theme 1: Political, policy and economic cooperation on the island
Theme 2: Civic, social and cultural connections and understanding on the island

Projects may run for a maximum of 9 months.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said, “I am delighted that this partnership between the Irish Research Council and the Department of the Taoiseach’s Shared Island unit is entering into its second year. All-island collaboration is a priority for my Department. This continuing support through the New Foundations programme forms part of our valuable wider strategic partnership with the Shared Island unit to cultivate cross-border research relationships.

“We look forward to the important research that will be undertaken on foot of this call and to further advancing this important agenda under the forthcoming national research and innovation strategy.”

Irish Research Council Assistant Director Dr. Gráinne Walshe added, “The Irish Research Council is delighted to partner with the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach. A central focus of the Irish Research Council is to foster connections between researchers and wider stakeholders to co-create new evidence and knowledge that benefits society, harnessing and enhancing the multifaceted aspects of our shared, diverse society and traditions on the island of Ireland.

“The Council’s programmes continue to provide excellent opportunities for research partnerships with government departments and agencies, civil society and enterprise, thereby bringing new insights and perspectives to the key challenges and opportunities facing the island. We are delighted to be leveraging the expertise of the research community across different disciplines in the important project that is Shared Island.”

The call for applications for the New Foundations programme launched 11 May 2022 and will remain open for six weeks. Full details are available here.

Further details on the Shared Island strand

Up to ten awards, with a maximum value of €20,000 each, will be made under the New Foundations programme and will be funded by the Shared Island unit of the Department of the Taoiseach.

This funding call marks the second year of the research partnership between the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach and the Irish Research Council as part of the New Foundations programme.

11 projects are under way from the first call in areas extending across culture, science, education, law, equality and community relations, which will publish findings in the second half of this year.

While proposals may be submitted by a Principal Investigator within an eligible HEI/RPO, applicants should reference research partnerships, either North/South on the island of Ireland, East/West across these islands, or through an international collaboration with direct or comparative relevance for the island of Ireland and the Peace Process founded on the Good Friday Agreement.

Areas for research

Proposals for research and related networking and collaboration must contribute new knowledge or perspective to inform implementation of the Government’s commitments and objectives on Shared Island.

For 2022, research themes under this strand are focussed in particular on:

  • Shared Island priorities set by Government as part of the revised National Development Plan (2021-2030) to work through all-island partnerships to invest for a more connected, sustainable and prosperous island for all; and,
  • Key themes from the Shared Island Dialogue series convened by the Government to foster inclusive civic dialogue on working in practical ways for a shared future on the island, which has engaged over 1,300 civic representatives to date.

Research proposals should refer specifically to one or more of the following areas:

Theme 1: Political, policy and economic cooperation on the island:

  • Opportunities for enhanced healthcare cooperation, including on specialist health services, digital and e-health innovation for physical and mental health care.
  • More all-island education connections, including opportunities to share experience and resources in early years, special needs, and tackling educational underachievement.
  • Building on collaboration in higher education and further education, including to enhance accessibility, learning options and student mobility.
  • Deepening cooperation or interaction on the diverse heritage, arts, culture and sports of the island.
  • Cross-border and all-island approaches on renewable energy.
  • Cross-border and all-island climate action interventions and partnerships.
  • All-island approaches to biodiversity protection.
  • Preservation of the island’s marine and coastal environment.
  • Development of the circular economy on an island-wide basis.
  • Promoting cross-border enterprise development, including to enhance clustering, innovation diffusion, and collaboration.
  • Cross-border approaches to attract investment, including through regional cooperation.
  • All-island opportunities to promote sustainable development of the agrifood sector.
  • Supporting the sustainable growth of tourism on the island.

Theme 2: Civic, social and cultural connections and understanding on the island:

  • Better acknowledging, accommodating and celebrating cultural diversity on the island, including through artistic and cultural interaction and exchange.
  • Developing new all-island civic, cultural or sporting links and networks, with North/South and/or East/West dimensions.
  • Shared Island approaches to help address inequality or discrimination including in respect of race, ethnicity, gender, ability or income.
  • Improving statistical and data systems relevant for policy analysis and cooperation.
  • Enhancing representation of women, ethnic minorities, young people and those with disabilities in public life on the island.
  • Addressing barriers to mutual trust, understanding and reconciliation across different communities and political traditions on the island, including through education, arts, culture and civil society interactions.


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