Minister English launches new initiative to increase public awareness of Ireland’s research achievements

A new initiative to highlight the achievements of Irish researchers was launched today (28.01.16) by Mr. Damien English TD, Minster for Skills, Research and Innovation. #LoveIrishResearch – an initiative of the Irish Research Council – will run throughout 2016 with the aim of increasing public awareness of the important research conducted in higher education institutions throughout the country.

Commenting at today’s launch, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council, said: “Ireland punches significantly above its weight across a range of research disciplines and, historically, we have a hugely impressive record in terms of research discoveries and breakthroughs.

“Eleven Irish researchers are listed among the top one per cent of researchers currently practising worldwide, while – as a country overall – we are in ninth place on the most recent Thomson-Reuters InCites global scientific rankings. In a number of disciplines – including nanoscience, nanotechnology, immunology, computer sciences, and neurosciences and behaviour – we rank in the top five. In relation to the Arts and Humanities, Irish universities rank amongst the top 100 universities in the world.

“For a country of this size, these are major achievements. Add to that the historic accomplishments of researchers such as Robert Boyle, George Boole, John Tyndall and Kathleen Lonsdale, and it is clear that Ireland has a rich legacy of ground-breaking research.”

Low Level of Public Awareness of Ireland’s Research Achievements

“Unfortunately, however, there is a low level of awareness among the general public of these major achievements,” continued Prof. Ohlmeyer. “Research conducted in Ireland has enhanced our understanding of the world and led to the development of new ideas that impact on all our lives, but this is not often celebrated or publicly acknowledged.

“With #LoveIrishResearch, we are aiming to engage members of the public in the amazing work being conducted by Irish researchers and to highlight their achievements across multiple fields.”

Launched by Minister Damien English

#LoveIrishResearch was officially launched at Trinity College Dublin today by the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD. Commenting at the launch, he said: “The Government’s research strategy, ‘Innovation 2020: Excellence, Talent, Impact’, positions Ireland as a global innovation leader, with our research efforts driving a strong sustainable economy and a better society. By 2020, we are committed to seeing public and private investment in research reaching 2.5 per cent of GNP, with 40,000 research personnel working in enterprise.

“Investment in research is essential for strengthening indigenous enterprise, securing foreign direct investment, licensing new technologies, establishing new companies, and providing the highly-educated workforce needed to ensure the continued development of our economy and society. The #LoveIrishResearch initiative has an important role to play in communicating the impact of Irish research to the wider public.”

Programme of Activities

#LoveIrishResearch will be comprised of:

  • Regional and institutional showcase events;
  • Competitions and awards;
  • Engagement with international events being hosted in Ireland;
  • A specific Decade of Centenaries programme;
  • Monthly research themes; and
  • A series of publications. 
     

Higher education institutions throughout Ireland will participate in the #LoveIrishResearch initiative over the course of the coming year. Upcoming events include the launch of a specific Decade of Centenaries programme and a dedicated research zone at the PostgradIreland Fair next month, and a photography competition in March. Further information is available here. 

Pictured: Aaron Kinsella (IRC Scholar), Thomas Earls FitzGerald (IRC Scholar), Professor Jane Ohlmeyer (Chair of the IRC), Damien English TD (Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation), Dr Eucharia Meehan (Director of the IRC), Sabrina Renken (IRC Scholar), Dr Luca Coscieme (IRC Fellow), Lauren McKeown (IRC Scholar) and Lara Cassidy (IRC Scholar).