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March 12, 2015
National Research Strategy Must Benefit All Elements of Society – Irish Research Council


 Thursday, 12th March 2015

 National Research Strategy Must Benefit All Elements of Society – IRC

 – Minister Jan O’Sullivan launches Irish Research Council partnership with The Wheel – 

The new national strategy for research and innovation must reflect and benefit all elements of society.  That’s according to the Irish Research Council (IRC), which today (12.03.15) announced a partnership with The Wheel aimed at engaging community and voluntary organisations in academic research.

Under the partnership, the IRC is awarding almost €400,000 to support collaborative projects between community and voluntary groups and researchers.

Commenting today, Dr. Eucharia Meehan, Director of the IRC, said: “The Government is developing a new national strategy for research, and it is important that this promotes and reflects research across all disciplines and sectors.

“Research can add value to all of society, benefiting all sectors, whether enterprise, government or civic, and ultimately benefits all citizens. We also need to ensure high-quality research is helping socially excluded and marginalised groups and contributing to social innovation.

“The partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel is a new departure for the research sector.  It provides a targeted research funding mechanism which includes community and voluntary groups. The research findings from these projects will not only benefit grassroots communities, and inspire the work of researchers, but will also inform national policymaking for civic society.”

Official Launch by Minister Jan O’Sullivan

The partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel was officially launched by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD.

Commenting at today’s launch, Minister O’Sullivan said: ““Effective engagement between higher education and the community and voluntary sector is a key objective of the National Strategy for Higher Education.

“This partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel will facilitate researchers to exchange knowledge and spread their work beyond academia.  At the same time, it will allow community and voluntary groups to access leading research expertise and to collaborate on cutting-edge research projects.  Ultimately, this will increase awareness of the benefit of research on society, and on our quality of life. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the projects funded under this initiative.”

Input from The Wheel

Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel, also spoke at today’s launch. “Projects receiving funding under this initiative are focused on very topical and important issues, such as mental health, social housing and homelessness, direct provision, homophobic and transphobic bullying, healthy ageing and children’s rights,” she said.

“Typically, community and voluntary organisations work with limited resources and many do not have in-house capacity to conduct research.  At the same time, they are working at the coalface in tackling some of the most pressing societal issues.

“This partnership will allow researchers and community and voluntary groups to benefit from their respective areas of expertise.  It will also give researchers invaluable access to the grassroots networks and years of practice-based knowledge that has been developed in the community and voluntary sector.”

Under the new initiative, researchers from higher education institutions throughout Ireland are collaborating with community and voluntary organisations such as Trócaire, Pieta House, GLEN, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and the ISPCA.

For more information, visit www.research.ie.


 Contact: Martina Quinn / Sarah Harte, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-6522033 / 087-9858259

 Notes for Editors:

 Full details of the Partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel

  • 41 research projects are receiving a total of €395,261 in funding under the IRC’s ‘Engaging Civic Society’ initiative, which encompasses the partnership with The Wheel.
  • The ‘Engaging Civic Society’ initiative is a strand within the IRC’s New Foundations programme. Full details on all awardees under this programme can be found at www.research.ie.

In addition to providing funding for research collaborations with community and voluntary groups, the partnership between the IRC and The Wheel will include the following elements:

  • Engagement with Horizon 2020 and other European research funding mechanisms for the benefit of the research, community and voluntary sectors in Ireland.
  • Support for academic researchers and the community and voluntary sector to develop strong European collaborative research links.
  • Developing and advising on ways to enhance knowledge-exchange and collaborative research between the academic and community and voluntary sectors.
  • Support for academic researchers and the community and voluntary sector to develop strong collaborative research networks.

About the Irish Research Council

The Irish Research Council was established in 2012. Its mission is to enable excellent research and, by recognising creative individuals with innovative ideas, support a vibrant research community which will enrich Irish research, the economy and society.  To that end, it uniquely provides funding across all disciplines – from Art to Zoology.  It is an agency of the Department of Education and Skills, and operates under the aegis of the Higher Education Authority.

About The Wheel

The Wheel is a support and representative body connecting community and voluntary organisations and charities across Ireland.  Established in 1989, it has over 1,000 members and has evolved to become a resource centre and forum for the community and voluntary sector.

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