Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. and Minister Simon Harris T.D. announce funding for new research projects to contribute to the Government’s Shared Island initiative

Posted: 1 December, 2022

Projects will bring researchers together to inform development of political, policy and economic cooperation, as well as deepening social and cultural understandings on the island of Ireland.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D., have announced funding for eight new research projects under the Shared Island strand of the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations programme.

The projects bring researchers North and South together to examine political, economic, civic and social cooperation and connection on the island of Ireland, and are funded by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach.

The awards, totalling €150,000, focus 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

The Shared Island strand of the New Foundations programme sees researchers develop partnerships either North/South on the island of Ireland, East/West between Ireland and Britain, or through an international collaboration relevant to the island of Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement.

This is the second funding announcement under the Shared Island unit and Irish Research Council partnership.

Among the research projects being funded are:
Dr. Conor Little, University of Limerick who will lead a project examining the development of the policy agendas of the shared institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, and legislatures and political parties in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This project will identify what policy issues receive political attention, and how agenda-setting shapes politics and policymaking on the island of Ireland.
Dr. Maebh Harding, University College Dublin project will bring together a network of legal scholars across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain to address emerging and complex issues of gender and law in both the immediate and long term.
Professor Sheila O’Donohoe, South East Technological University is to establish a research partnership between two universities on the island of Ireland focused on sustainable finance solutions to tackle biodiversity loss. This partnership will work at the intersection of these two disciplines to make policy recommendations while strengthening North-South research links.
Dr Steven Hadley, Trinity College Dublin is bringing together academics, cultural data specialists and arts sector organisations from England, Ireland and Northern Ireland to develop a data system for enhancing how cultural engagement is understood, which aims to impact on the development of policy, tourism and creative industries.

Shared Island New Foundations Programme to date:
11 projects were funded under the first call of Shared Island New Foundations awards in 2021, and these reports are now being finalised and published. These include the North-South Legal Mapping Project led by Professor Oran Doyle of Trinity College Dublin which brought together legal experts from North and South to benchmark and assess divergence and convergence across legal systems, legal knowledge and legal networks across the two jurisdictions.

The project published a report in October 2022, identifying high-level trends of legal convergence and divergence. Since its launch, the report has been discussed at the Irish Association of Law Teachers conference in Belfast (12 November 2022) and is also due to be discussed at a conference hosted by the Bar Council of Ireland. Eight detailed papers are also expected to be published as part of the continuation of the project in 2023.

Commenting today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, said:
“I am pleased to announce eight new projects funded by the Government’s Shared Island initiative and the Irish Research Council. This is part of a wide-ranging research programme under Shared Island, which looks to the future of this island in an inclusive, practical way, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement. These research projects will help light the way on how we deepen beneficial cooperation and connections between people and communities in culture, science, education, law and on equality concerns. I look forward to the evidence and insights that these research projects will bring forward as they are completed next year.”

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD added: “Research can play a significant role in building links between communities by finding solutions to common problems. The Irish Research Council’s New Foundations Programme will tap into the expertise and talent in the research systems of this island – north and south – for the benefit of Shared Island goals. The funded projects will see researchers examine issues including the circular economy, cancer treatment, and post-pandemic recovery in the performing arts industry. My Department is proud to support this initiative.”

Director of the Irish Research Council, Dr Louise Callinan, added: “The Irish Research Council is delighted to partner for the second time with the Shared Island unit of the Department of the Taoiseach. The North South Legal Mapping Project led by Professor Oran Doyle, previously funded through this scheme, is one such project which highlights how the Department of the Taoiseach’s Shared Island New Foundations Awards are already contributing to the Shared Island Initiative.”

The eight projects selected for the 2022 Shared Island New Foundations Awards were funded by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach under strand 8 of the IRC New Foundations Programme. Full details of each project can be found here on the IRC website.

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