Shared Island Projects

An Online Repository

Department of the Taoiseach – Shared Island New Foundations Awards


Boyne Bridge near Drogheda

Online Repository of Projects 

On this page you will find a collated repository for projects funded by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach under the IRC’s New Foundation Scheme.  

The Shared Island unit funded two cycles of projects, in 2021 and 2022. To view the Shared Island Research Page, please click here.

Further details about the projects are detailed below. These projects showcase the eclectic range of diverse projects and their far-reaching and highly impressive impacts to date on the island of Ireland and further afield. These projects demonstrate the impact of discussions and workshops which foster cross-border exchange and future collaboration ideas. The projects also evidence enhanced collaboration and strengthening and deepening of links between the public and private sector and industry.

The clarity, quality and innovativeness of these outputs can be seen through their public dissemination plans and promotional events. There are numerous examples of the development of conferences, workshops or networking and collaboration activities. Projects demonstrated strong engagement and collaboration with project partners and networks which has contributed towards future research funding applications and opportunities.

To read more about their impact, please click here.


Projects Funded in 2022

In 2022, 8 awards were made, as captured in the below table.

These projects served to contribute new knowledge and perspective to inform the Government’s objectives and commitments on a Shared Island, as set out in the Programme for Government and by the Taoiseach, and specifically by examining political, social, economic and cultural considerations underpinning a future in which all traditions are mutually respected.


Awardee: Dr Conor Little
Project Title: Public Policy Agendas on a Shared Island
Project Description: Which policy issues receive political attention, and how does the allocation of attention shape politics and policymaking on the island of Ireland? Public Policy Agendas on a Shared Island (PPASI) aims to generate new knowledge about policymaking and the allocation of attention (“agenda-setting”) to better understand how policy agendas on the island of Ireland have developed over time, and how they relate to one another. Embedded in the international Comparative Agendas Project network, it will systematically examine the development of the agendas of the shared institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, and legislatures and political parties in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 
The Public Policy Agendas on a Shared Island (PPASI) project has developed a durable network of public policy researchers and institutional stakeholders on the island of Ireland and internationally. It has produced codebooks and data sets that are supporting public policy research within that network, and that provide a basis for understanding institutions, public policy and politics on the island of Ireland. Its data and codebooks also support public policy education, and are being made accessible through the PPASI and Comparative Agendas Project websites. The PPASI Workshop took place in Queen’s University Belfast in June 2023.
Awardee: Dr Maebh Harding
Project Title: Doing Feminist Legal Work
Project Description: Doing Feminist Legal Work (DFLW) consists of a network of legal scholars across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain addressing emerging issues of gender and law.
Building on existing, but ad hoc, North/South and East/West collaborations, the aim of DFLW is to generate a sustainable network that will develop and share experience and practice as well as developing substantive research and educational tools necessary to respond swiftly and effectively to societal challenges, to engage directly with policy makers and media, and with the resilience necessary to rapidly address complex issues of law and gender in both the immediate and long term.
Best Practices Guide: Best practice guides – Doing Feminist Legal Work (
The project’s website is a repository of resources for members and acts as a hub for collaboration and mentorship.
Awardee: Dr Michelle Downes
Project Title: An All-Island consortium to foster Educational Neuroscience research and practice
Project Description: Educational neuroscience is a new interdisciplinary field that goes beyond the separate research domains of neuroscience and education. Through the establishment of the first all- island educational neuroscience research network, we will explore collaborative research questions, share ideas, form new collaborations, and disseminate findings on the current management of inattention in the classroom. This project has three objectives: 1) to establish teachers’ and parents’ understanding of inattention in early classroom contexts; 2) to engage with stakeholders to enhance classroom practice and make for a more inclusive start across the island’s classrooms; and 3) to establish an all-island education neuroscience hub of researchers and practitioners. 
The Knowledge Exchange Workshop took place Tuesday 20th of February 2024 at the UCD Club. This research project is ongoing with a Research Day scheduled for Tuesday 4th June, also at the UCD Club. Dr Joe Bathelt from University of Amsterdam is confirmed as key note speaker. As well as research presentations from attendees across the island of Ireland, planning is underway for a panel session with representatives from policy makers, researchers, teachers, and parent voices. 
Awardee: Dr Orlagh Reynolds
Project Title: Towards an Intersectoral All-Island Network for Circular Bioeconomy Entrepreneurship (AINCBE)
Project Description: This project aims to investigate and enhance current understandings of and opportunities for circular bioeconomy entrepreneurship across the island of Ireland. Focusing on the area of willow biomass, Dublin City University, Ulster University and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute will compare entrepreneurship opportunities in the North and South, and how to leverage strengths of both through a collaborative network.
Findings from focus groups and interviews will be shared via a demonstration and networking event to inform the establishment of an intersectoral network and policy recommendations. This project will provide a strong basis for future all-island collaboration on circular bioeconomy entrepreneurship. 
The findings of this research was presented to the DCU Centre for Climate and Society, an interdisciplinary social science research centre.
Report: A 20 page report of key findings, best practice guidelines and policy recommendations
will be completed and shared via the DCU online repository DORAS. 
Awardee: Dr Sheila O’Donohue
Project Title:  Addressing Biodiversity Loss with Sustainable Finance: An All-Island Research Initiative
Project Description:  The aim of this proposal is to establish a research partnership between two universities on the island of Ireland focused on sustainable finance solutions to biodiversity loss. In May 2019 Dail Eireann declared a National Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, calling on the Citizens’ Assembly to examine how the State can improve its response to this issue. Sustainable finance is increasingly being viewed as a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and it is clear that finance-based solutions are needed. This partnership will work at the intersection of these two disciplines to make policy recommendations while strengthening North-South research links. 
The objective of this project was to facilitate the establishment of a research partnership between SETU and QUB. The project team presented key findings at the Environ 2024 Harvest to Harbour: Research from Soil to Sea Conference in March 2024.
Awardee: Dr Gerry McKenna
Project Title:  Strengthening the regional impact of higher education: a comparative scoping study of regional higher education strategies, policies and provision in the North-West of the island of Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Project Description:  Educational migration at third level in the north-west of the island of Ireland poses a challenge to common regional policy goals to keep and attract talented people, enhance skills, and attract inward investment.
This study will explore how an integrated approach to regional and higher education policy could support stronger regional outcomes and will a) look at regional approaches to higher education policy and provision across the North-West of Ireland, Scotland and Wales; b) explore the potential for, and impact of, place-based collaborative approaches to educational provision; and c) examine trends in educational migration for third level education in the north-west. 
This project hosted virtual roundtables with the Learned Society of Wales and Royal Society of Edinburgh and a background paper has been prepared contextualising the policy background to the project in Northern Ireland. This project allowed the Academy to continue with a key strand of policy work that had been identified by the RIA HE Futures Taskforce in 2021. It allowed the organisation to continue exploring policy solutions to the development issues faced by the North-West and also allowed the Academy to continue to collaborate on these issues with the Hume Foundation, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Learned Society of Wales.

policy-report-fnding-common-ground_0.pdf (

Awardee: Dr Suja Somanadhan
Project Title: All Ireland Rare Disease Inter-Disciplinary Research Network (RAiN) to Identify, and Understand Functional Status and Quality of Life and Family Management Measure for  Children and Young People Living with Rare Diseases
Project Description: Rare disease is a collective term for disorders with a broad diversity of signs and symptoms. The impact of rare diseases is diverse and includes loss of physical function, cognitive and communication impairments and social isolation.
This project will explore the challenges of children/ young people and their families living with rare diseases across the Island of Ireland. This project includes a collaborative effort between rare disease interdisciplinary researchers and community groups. The purpose is to establish an interdisciplinary research network for the exchange and synthesis of strategies to address this population’s needs. 
The project website and logo, and other social media communications were developed – Rare Disease All-Ireland Interdisciplinary Research Network (
The project launched the All-Ireland Rare Disease Interdisciplinary Research Network (RAiN) Cross border network launches to bring hope to families affected by rare diseases | UCD Research. It brings together interdisciplinary researchers, practitioners and policymakers in the island of Ireland to form an interdisciplinary research network to improve awareness of and participation in rare diseases research.
Through ongoing efforts, the awardee is preparing peer-reviewed publications to disseminate research findings to a broader audience. Additionally, they have issued press releases via UCD and QUB to raise awareness of their research activities and achievements. 
Awardee: Dr Steven Hadley 
Project Title: Audience Data for Cultural Policy: A Shared Island Approach to the Creative Industries
Project Description: Limited statistical data currently exists on audiences for cultural events on the island of Ireland. Survey work shows that people participate in a variety of activities, but this data is not linked to actual attendance (e.g., ticket purchase) or geography and is not suited to the development of policy which promotes cultural connections and understanding on a shared island basis.
This project brings together academics, cultural data specialists and arts sector organisations from England, Ireland and Northern Ireland to develop a data system which will revolutionize our understanding of cultural engagement and impact on policy, tourism and creative industries development. 
This project is ongoing with initial findings showing that there is very significant potential in further investment to develop an island-wide data architecture for the cultural industries and a shared island approach to data and policy development in the cultural industries.
A robust, all-island empirical base must be in place for both future policy development and the urgent need to promote better understanding” between communities north and south
The PI presented an academic paper at the Nordic Conference on Cultural Policy Research at the University of Copenhagen, 23-25 August 2023.


Projects Funded in 2021

In 2021, 11 awards were made, as captured in the below table.

These projects served to contribute new knowledge and perspective to inform the Government’s objectives and commitments on a Shared Island, as set out in the Programme for Government and by the Taoiseach, and specifically by examining political, social, economic and cultural considerations underpinning a future in which all traditions are mutually respected.

Research themes under this strand were focused 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, and key themes from the Shared Island Dialogue series 2 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. 

Awardee: Dr William Gallagher, University College Dublin
Project Title: Exploring the Economic, Political, Societal and Health Benefits of an All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI): Strengthening Collaboration in Cancer Research Throughout the Island of Ireland
Project Description: One in two people living on the island of Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime. The Covid pandemic led to an increased cancer burden and many lost lives. In addition to adverse impacts on the health of the population, significant economic and societal impacts will also ensue. There is an urgent need for greater collaboration in cancer research throughout the island, facilitated by establishment of an All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI). We will explore how AICRI can deepen North/South collaboration, enhance cancer outcomes, and help to strengthen social, economic, and political links on the island.
In order to achieve the project objectives, the project team hosted four workshops;
1) AICRI/PVCR Patient Stakeholder Workshop (30th March 2022)
2) Cancer Charity Workshop (30th June 2022)
3) Governance and Operating Models workshop (1st September 2022)
4) AICRI Showcase: Vision and Progress workshop (28th September 2022)
Project Spotlight: All Island Cancer Research Institute | #LoveIrishResearch | Irish Research Council
YouTube channel: AICRI YouTube Channel 
Project Website: All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRIThe main purpose of the website is to provide information on AICRI’s activities and more detailed information on the scope of our work and the people involved.
On 20th July 2022, the team presented the AICRI vision at a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Precision Medicine: Fast-Tracking Innovation’, at the British Ambassador’s Private Residence, Glencairn, Dublin. On 29th July 2022, there was also a very productive meeting on future US-facing engagement and collaboration with the US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin, US Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin.
Both of these high-profile events were successful in disseminating progress to date.
In March 2022, AICRI was awarded €4 million in funding from the Shared Island Fund as a Strand III (Partnerships of Scale) award under the HEA North-South Research.
Awardee: Dr Steve Campbell, University College Dublin
Project Title: Éire strategy for QUantum Information and TechnologY
Project Description: Quantum enhanced devices, such as quantum computers, sensors, and crypto-systems, hold immense promise and are at the centre of a global push to harness and utilise quantum phenomena. Ireland is well positioned to make significant contributions in this rapidly developing arena. In this context over its 9-month duration the partnership entailed by EQUITY aims to: provide a map of the expertise in quantum science in Ireland, develop a national cluster to enhance all-island impact in this emerging arena, and engage at all levels to demonstrate benefits of quantum science and a quantum literate society
Paper: Ireland is gearing up for the next generation of quantum technologies
Quantum 2030: A National Quantum Technologies Strategy for Ireland (Pillar 5)
Awardee: Dr Oran Doyle, Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: North-South Legal Mapping Project
Project Description: Legal systems, legal knowledge and legal networks have diverged between Ireland and Northern Ireland for a century. Lawyers in each jurisdiction know surprisingly little about the law in the other. As our common EU membership ends and as debates about future North- South and East-West relationships increase, gaps in knowledge and mutual understanding become more significant.
NSLMap will comprise legal experts from North and South who will identify and analyse legal convergences and divergences between North and South. This application concerns a pilot phase focusing on seven topics, leading to sustained engagement on broader legal themes over the coming years.
Impact: Final report: Legal Convergence and Divergence on the Island of Ireland
Awardee: Dr Victoria Durrer
Project Title: Building Capacity for the Cultural Industries: Towards a Shared-Island Approach
Project Description: CI Develop responds to the precarity of the Irish cultural industries recently underlined by Brexit and the global pandemic through championing and strengthening the shared island ecology of the professional performing arts industry.
Collaborating to foster shared approaches to recovery and regional development, industry associated researchers, professionals, and policymakers will meet to share and critically discuss data regarding existing shared island operations and learn from other sectors currently engaging in all-island practices (e.g. museums, education, tourism). Industry-specific actions for capacity building, dissemination of recommendations to policymakers, and links with international partners to scope future collaboration for learning will be established.
Final report: Building Capacity for Cultural Industries: Towards a Shared-Island Approach for Dance and Theatre Workshop 1
Workshop 1 Discussion Paper: Establishing Common Ground, 28 February 2022, University College Dublin
Workshop 2 Discussion Paper: Understanding Cross-Island Working, 9 May 2022, Queen’s University  Belfast
UCD Research Impact Recognition: Video
Awardee: Dr Amanda Haynes, University of Limerick
Project Title: Towards A Fair and Prosperous Island: An All-Island Network to Combat Hate
Project Description: The long-term goal of the All-Island Network to Combat Hate (AINCH) is to create a space for the conduct of policy-focused research on understanding and combating inter-group hate, and bridging societal cleavages grounded in and sustained by prejudice.
This project will be the flagship project of AINCH. It will generate baseline data on how people on the island of Ireland understand hate crime, as well as their attitudes to minority communities. The project will bring together those working in the sector north and south to leverage the findings of the research to map priorities and strategies for the future.
Impact: This report “Public Understandings of Hate Crime: North and South (PUHC)” is the first output of the project. The report provides baseline data regarding the public’s understanding of the construct of hate crime, its dimensions, and its distinguishing features on both sides of the border. 
Journal: Critical Perspectives on Hate Crime: Contributions from the Island of Ireland DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-52667-0_25
Awardee: Dr Michael Morris, Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: Providing a multi- disciplinary expert network to promote and support implementation of a circular economy on the island of Ireland, AICEG (All-Island Circular Economy Group)
Project Description: The circular economy is an economic model focused on the continual re-use of resources avoiding waste. It is a disruptive alternative to the ‘take-make-use-dispose’ linear model developed since the industrial revolution. This proposal will create a network of experts across academia, Government and industry to assess the research needed, the barriers to implementing circular economic practices and the impacts of change on the island of Ireland. We will build on existing links between interested parties so promoting development of strategy to implement circular practices. The network will enable sustainability goals through positive contribution to socio-economic and technological change. 
Identification of key centers, expertise and researchers on the island of Ireland in the area of the circular economy. Online Directory:
Circular Economy Report: Circular Economy Report – Amber Centre
Awardee: Dr Isobel Cunningham, Atlantic Technological University
Project Title: Appraise Curriculum Content for Entrepreneurship in Secondary Schools
Project Description: Traditional education systems inhibit, and may in fact have prevented, the development of nascent entrepreneurs because it teaches young people to obey, reproduce information and seek employment once completing school. It is suggested that current teaching practice confines the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and behavior to the delivery of business-related subjects such as economics and accounting.
This research will aim to contribute both at a theoretical and practical level. The research aims to provide a better understanding of entrepreneurship education in the North West City Region (Derry, Tyrone & Donegal) and if similarities or differences exist across the two education systems. 
The key findings were disseminated at ATU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference on 5 December 2022. Furthermore, a cross-border workshop was facilitated to share best practice and to discuss challenges and the importance of Entrepreneurship Education (EntEd).
Upcoming Events: Dr Isobel Cunningham will present this research on the stream titled, ‘Beyond the classroom: entrepreneurial intention and decision making; Entrepreneurship, future of talent’, at the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) in May 2024, which is the largest global event dedicated to university-industry interaction, entrepreneurial and engaged univerisites and the future of higher education. 
Awardee: Dr Padraic Whyte, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Project Title: Reading Rooms: Fostering constructive & inclusive dialogue between communities
Project Description: This inter-disciplinary project will investigate and advance the potential of shared reading groups to promote higher levels of empathy between communities by stimulating purposeful cross-community dialogue among Northern Ireland interface communities.
Trinity College Dublin will partner with Verbal, a voluntary organisation with nearly 30 years’ experience working to improve cross-community relations in Northern Ireland. The partners will design a new framework and identify suitable literary texts for cross-community groups; conduct a pilot shared reading group; seek feedback from participants on group processes in relation to health and well-being, literary texts, and shared futures; and present findings in a report. 
The project team created a report which has been made available through TARA, Trinity’s open access repository:
Final report: Reading Rooms: Fostering Constructive and Inclusive Dialogue Between Communities
Awardee: Dr Jennifer Todd, University College Dublin
Project Title: Negotiating difference on a shared island: agonism, commonality, or critical-constitutionalism.
Project Description: Dialogue about a ‘shared island’ is necessary whatever the future political and constitutional developments. It is therefore crucial to understand how such dialogue relates to a range of contentious political issues, including those outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.
With Scottish and international partners, we investigate how ‘shared island’ discussions proceed in focus groups with community partners (including National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks, and Fermanagh Women’s Voices).
The project explores how diverse groups and networks negotiate contentious political issues critically and agonistically. It has direct policy relevance, substantively and procedurally in increasing the policy impact of grass- roots organizations.
Report, July – September 2023: Mapping Diversity, Negotiating Differences: Constitutional Discussions on a Shared Island
Report: Presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement
Paper: Scaling up from everyday concerns to territorial politics and constitutional debate: deliberation among women in the Irish border area
Social media accounts:
PIR Department twitter account
Instagram: arins_ria_kniis
Arins twitter account: @arinsproject
Awardee: Dr Deiric Ó Broin, Dublin City University
Project Title: Assisting the Irish churches and religious communities to develop values-based common positions on current European issues and to engage with European counterparts.
Project Description: DCU, Irish Council of Churches and Dublin City Inter-Faith Forum aim to build on the churches’ existing cooperation in support of the Good Friday Agreement by working together to develop values-based common positions on current European issues and to engage with European counterparts.
This project is significant in terms of (i) the Government’s shared island agenda and (ii) current efforts at the European level to encourage a stronger voice for civil society on post–COVID challenges. Between November 2021 and May 2022, we aim to achieve sufficient common ground in selected policy areas to issue a report. 
The key output of the project was a detailed report agreed by consensus on a range of challenges facing the European Union – Centre for Religion, Human Values, and International Relations | Dublin City University | religion and human values (

Deiric-O-Broin-Report.pptx (

Awardee: Dr Jenny Roth, University of Limerick
Project Title: Brexit at the Border: Intergroup Relations on the Shared Island
Project Description: The Northern Irish conflict has been amongst the most intense in Europe. The EU context helped in providing a superordinate, inclusive identity to people of different communities. Now that Brexit has turned into reality, intergroup harmony is at risk.
This project will investigate the effects of Brexit on people’s identity and intergroup relations. It will add a third data point to an ongoing longitudinal study, two experiments testing whether focusing on shared goals improves intergroup relations, and an interdisciplinary networking meeting. The project will highlight psychological processes that contribute to intergroup conflict and provide means to foster cooperation. 
Link to Article: Election results can decrease intergroup threat and through that positively affect intergroup relations: Election results can decrease intergroup threat and through that positively affect intergroup relations – Roth – Political Psychology – Wiley Online Library
In August 2022, the project team hosted an interdisciplinary expert meeting with 14 international researchers including researchers from the US, UK, Israel, Mexico, Northern Ireland, and Limerick (August 24th to 26th, 2022).
A symposium titled “When Social Identities Face Contemporary Challenges: Implications for Intergroup Relations” was held at the meeting of the British Social Psychology Section Annual Conference in Greenwich, London (September 5th to 7th 2022). This symposium included speakers from the University of Limerick, Ulster University, and Tel Aviv University. 


Strand 8: Department of the Taoiseach Shared Island New Foundations Awards

New Foundations information graphic

The Programme for Government sets out the Government’s commitments on a Shared Island and to working with all communities and traditions on the island to build consensus around a shared future, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement. The Taoiseach launched the initiative in October 2020, with a speech setting out the Government’s vision and approach.

In December 2021, the Taoiseach reviewed progress and set out Government priorities in a keynote address to the Shared Island Forum. As part of the initiative, a Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach was established in September 2020 to examine the political, social, economic and cultural considerations underpinning a future in which all traditions are mutually respected. Operationally, the unit focused its work in three areas: commissioning research, fostering dialogue, and building a Shared Island agenda, including delivery of the commitments in the Programme for Government.  

The Department of the Taoiseach funded Strand 8 under the New Foundations 2020 and 2021 scheme. This strand provided researchers with an opportunity to conduct research and engage in related networking and collaboration, for the purpose of informing and supporting the implementation and development of the Shared Island initiative. Projects funded under Strand 8 also supported the building of a pipeline of further research proposals and collaborations related to the Shared Island initiative, which may be relevant for future research calls. 

The research themes under this strand are focused 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[1] 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.

For further information on the research themes, please click on the below links.

List of Projects


Shared Island 2021 Themes

Shared Island 2022 Themes

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