The Royal Irish Academy and Irish Research Council launch new webinar series on Research for Public Policy

Posted: 25 January, 2021

The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and Irish Research Council (IRC) are partnering to host a series of webinars, beginning this Wednesday (27 January), on the topic of Research for Public Policy. The series aims to ignite important conversations about why evidence-based policy matters and how to harness the diverse expertise of Ireland’s researchers for the common good.

The creation of a new Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the foundational role of public health expert advice in managing the COVID-19 crisis make this the ideal moment to reimagine and strengthen the connections between research and public policy in Ireland. The seminars will bring together stakeholders from higher education and research, Government, and associated agencies to discuss the opportunities and means by which to build and implement a highly effective national framework for integrating relevant and cutting-edge research into policy development across Government.

The first webinar, “Research for Public Policy: Opportunities for Ireland”, will take place on Wednesday 27 January, 4-5pm, via Zoom. We are pleased to announce that Minister Harris will be speaking on this important topic, followed by Professor Jane Grimson, former Chair of the Health Research Board, and Professor Peter Clinch, Chair of Science Foundation Ireland. Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy, will open the webinar, and it will be moderated by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council. Professor Grimson is a former Chair of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, a precursor to the current IRC. Between them, they all have extensive experience of bringing research expertise to bear on issues of public policy development in Ireland and internationally. This seminar opens the series by outlining both the need and the exciting opportunities to better integrate the worlds of research and policy for the greater good.

Places are free but booking is essential. Full details and registration for the webinars on 10 February and 24 February will be available soon on the RIA website.

All registrants will be invited to share their views by completing a short consultation survey. The survey results and key recommendations arising from the webinars will feed into a final report and white paper that will set out a roadmap for action.

To initiate the process of dialogue, Ms Mary Doyle, a former senior civil servant in the Departments of the Taoiseach, Health and Children, and Education and Skills and currently Public Policy Fellow in the Trinity Long Room Hub, has written a discussion paper, “Research for Public Policy and Society: Building a Stronger Architecture for Ireland”. This is available for download below.

Announcing the webinar series, Dr Canning stated: “As Ireland’s leading body of experts in the Sciences and Humanities, the Royal Irish Academy is delighted to partner with the Irish Research Council on the Research for Public Policy initiative and to welcome all speakers and stakeholders to this important – even historic – discussion. Policy engagement is an important part of our mandate. Through its members and executive, the RIA is well placed to advise Government on a wide range of policy issues, from climate change to cultural heritage, and to help coordinate national efforts in the research for policy space. We are looking forward to the fruitful discussions that will take place within and beyond the webinar series.”

Professor Ohlmeyer added: “The world-class research talent being supported and developed in the Irish higher education and research system has a fundamental role to play in advancing knowledge and society and addressing current and future national and global challenges. For this to work, we need to ensure that expertise is supported across the range of disciplines and career stages and that it feeds into relevant policy areas in a systematic way. The lineup of speakers for the Research for Public Policy series are well placed to comment on the potential for strengthening the research-policy connection from a whole-of-system perspective. We are excited about this initiative and future developments.”

M. Doyle, Research for Public Policy and Society discussion paper

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