Researchers, community organisations and Government bodies to collaborate on 67 New Foundations projects
By Brenda Blake
Posted: 14 February, 2023
New Foundations awards help civic society organisations and Government departments to devise evidence-based strategies and policies. The Irish Research Council (IRC) is delighted to announce funding for 67 New Foundations projects that will reach communities across the country and beyond, focusing on diverse societal challenges and government policy issues.
Today’s announcement represents a total investment of almost €875,000, inclusive of the Department of An Taoiseach Shared Island awards announced in December 2022, which form part of the New Foundations programme.
43 projects are funded by the IRC to enhance research partnerships with civic society organisations. Through these partnerships with researchers, diverse community organisations will attain new evidence and insights to enhance their services and their impact.
In addition, a further 20 projects are funded by government departments and agencies addressing global development and global citizenship education, north-south reconciliation, our shared island, the National Volunteering Strategy for Ireland, and child protection and welfare policy. Four awards on climate change and biodiversity are funded by Sunflower Charitable Foundation.
Among the new research projects that will be funded with civic society partners are:
- Professor Anne MacFarlane (University of Limerick), Public and Patient Involvement Ignite Network includes refugees and other migrants in health research. Developed in partnership with Doras, this project will design more inclusive research strategies for engaging refugees and migrants as meaningful and more active partners in health research.
- Professor Cathal O’Connell (University College Cork), Combatting and eliminating long term homelessness in Cork. The project team will work with Cork Simon to identify groups of homeless people in Cork who are not covered by welfare measures such as Housing First and to devise more inclusive strategies for the fight against homelessness in the city.
- Dr Kevin Credit (Maynooth University), Dublin 8 Health + Environment Data Dashboard. Developed in partnership with the Robert Emmet Community Development Project, this project will engage in citizen science research to create a community-focused, interactive, and open-source data dashboard that will help inform local planning, decision-making, and investment with respect to health and environmental issues.
This year, the New Foundations programme features five strands run in partnership with Government Departments and agencies, thereby strengthening the connections between Government and the public research system.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid) is funding four awards under the ‘A Better World’ strand, aiming to support consortia for global north-south research partnerships, including:
- Dr Ashish Vashishtha (South East Technological University), Techno-economic, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of Waste to Synthetic Fuel Technologies in Circular Economy. This project will establish collaborations between Ireland and Vietnam to devise sustainable strategies of implementation of biofuels and foster circular economy pathways.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid) and the Department of Education are co-funding five awards, to support implementation of the Irish Aid Global Citizenship Education Strategy and the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development, including:
- Dr Edana Richardson (Maynooth University), Sustainability from the Classroom to the Corporate Agenda: Setting the foundations for investor activism through education. The project brings together these two research strands –the intersectionality of law and finance, focusing on sustainability, and the development of student learning, skills, and pedagogy to provide an opportunity to engage with pressing global sustainability issues, and to devise methods for communicating this research to educators and students.
The Department of Rural and Community Development is funding two projects related to the National Volunteering Strategy for Ireland, including:
- Professor Fred Powell (University College Cork), Youth Volunteering: building capacity for the future. Developed in consultation with the National Youth Council of Ireland and the Cork Volunteer Centre, this project will deliver a toolkit that will help volunteer organisations create volunteer programmes for young people.
Tusla Child and Family Agency is funding one project related to utilising evidence for child protection and welfare policy needs:
- Dr Susan Flynn (Trinity College Dublin, Towards better outcomes for children and families: A research review of the Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme. This project will test outcome measurement tools in child and family services included in the Area Based Childhood Programme to improve the implementation of outcomes frameworks across Tusla.
This year also featured a strand funded by the Sunflower Charitable Foundation through the Community Foundation Ireland, who are funding four awards on climate change and biodiversity, including:
- Dr Jolanta Burke (RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences), Bee Well: The impact of the Let it Bee biodiversity project on the community’s wellbeing. This project will assess the impact of the ‘Let It Bee’ biodiversity project in 2020 which trained farmers as beekeepers and created awareness of the damage that pesticides do to local water sources and biodiversity. By interviewing the farmers, this project aims to produce critical knowledge that will assess the impact on their personal, family and community wellbeing while also helping to expand these activities to a national scale and further foster biodiversity and water awareness.
Commenting today on the funding announcement, Director of the Irish Research Council, Dr Louise Callinan said: “We are delighted to renew and extend our ongoing partnerships with Government departments and agencies who are funding 20 New Foundations projects, in addition to the 43 collaborative projects funded by the IRC with civic society partners, and the 4 funded by a charitable foundation. The collaboration between researchers and policymakers represented in these awards aligns with the ambitions of Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy to strengthen evidence-based policymaking and deliver enhanced outcomes for citizens and society. While New Foundations awards are relatively modest in value, they play a vital role in supporting and nurturing our research talent, providing an important step on the funding ladder to further awards nationally and internationally”.
Further information about the New Foundations scheme is available here.
For a full list of New Foundations 2022 awards, see the below attachment: