Irish Research Council announces 100 new awards to support research collaboration and dissemination

 

The Irish Research Council has made awards to 100 researchers of all career stages across 13 higher education institutions. These awards, under the New Foundations 2019 scheme, are valued at nearly €800,000. 

New Foundations supports researchers to pursue research, networking and dissemination activities within and between all disciplines. It provides seed funding for small-scale research actions; the development of networks, consortia and workshops; and creative approaches to the communication of scientific concepts or complex societal challenges for a lay audience.

Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown, commented: “I am delighted to announce another round of awards under the New Foundations programme, a unique scheme that fosters the exchange of knowledge within and beyond academia. By supporting this collaboration, the benefits and impact of research are more widely shared, nationally and internationally. The emphasis on engaging with civil society fosters mutual learning between researchers and practitioners, often leading to longer-term collaborations.  

“The ongoing partnership between the Irish Research Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under this programme is very welcome as it will enable researchers to form connections for future research projects that support enhanced cooperation between the global north and global south. We are delighted to continue to work in partnership with the Department.” 

The 2019 scheme comprises four strands:

Engaging civic society, in partnership with The Wheel and Dóchas, supports collaboration between researchers and a charity, community/voluntary organisation or NGO. 41 awards were made to researchers under this strand.

Knowledge exchange for impact was designed to increase the impact of Irish research through knowledge exchange. 40 awards were made to researchers under this strand.

The STEAM strand aims to bring science (including social science) and art, design and the humanities together to work on new ways of communicating scientific concepts and complex societal challenges for a lay audience. 13 awards were made under this strand. Projects receiving support include:

  • A public exhibition that will showcase the collaborative, trans-disciplinary work of a STEAM initiative with the Samburu tribe in northern Kenya, which will be used to communicate the impact of global warming to a wide audience (Dr Samantha Martin-McAuliffe, University College Dublin).
  • Also from the UCD College of Engineering & Architecture is the project ‘Climate Change Engage’, This project will work with transition year students and their teachers to collaboratively develop a downloadable ‘serious gaming’ instructional pack for secondary schools. It will achieve this by integrating knowledges and approaches from the arts, sciences, engineering and social sciences in communicating concepts and fostering discussion. The instructional pack will facilitate experiential learning regarding sustainable cities and communities in the context of climate change. It will incorporate a spectrum of learning styles to co-produce solutions that enthuse, animate and enhance the agency of students and their teachers to effect change. (Dr. Michael Lennon, University College Dublin)

Finally, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Networking and Collaboration Grants are funding a further 6 awards, providing researchers with an opportunity to carry out networking activities or to form consortia with partner countries.