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Ten UCD projects among record number of Irish Research Council awards to support communities

Posted 7 April, 2021

Ten researchers at University College Dublin have been awarded funding from the Irish Research Council to help better connect academic research with community-led issues and programmes.

A record number of 76 projects addressing a range of diverse issues, including those affecting carers, senior citizens, young people, migrant communities, and the LGBT+ community, will receive funding under the New Foundations scheme.

Among the research projects that will be funded are ten led by faculty at UCD, and include:

  • Professor Eilis Hennessy, UCD School of Psychology, who is exploring inclusion and engagement of children of Muslim background in creative activities in Ireland.
  • Associate Professor Marie Keenan, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, who is partnered with the National Women’s Council.
  • Associate Professor Niamh Moore-Cherry, UCD School of Geography, who is partnered with the Robert Emmet Community Development Project, which is based in Dublin's South West Inner City.
  • Associate Professor Declan Redmond, UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, who will be partnering with the Irish Council for Social Housing.
  • Dr Fredrick Ajwang, UCD School of Politics and International Relations, who is working with the Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Dr Tom Burke, UCD School of Psychology, who is partnering with KARE, an organisation that promotes inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Dr Amanda Drury, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, who will be working alongside Age & Opportunity - an organisation improving the quality of life of people aged 50 to 100.
  • Dr Karen Smith, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, who will be partnering with Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre.
  • Dr Silvia Gagliardi, UCD Centre for Constitutional Studies, who will be working with the Gaisce's Programme on the impact of its "The President's Award" on Irish youth in custody.
  • Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, who will work with the Irish Refugee Council.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of different groups in Irish society and on the delivery of services will be a significant theme within the research projects.

Announcing the funding for the New Foundations projects, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said each of the research collaborations would be helping “some very important community and voluntary sector projects.”

“This vibrant sector plays such an important role in supporting different groups in society, including the more vulnerable or marginalised. “Through partnerships with researchers, such as the projects being announced today, diverse community organisations can bring new evidence and insights to enhance their services and impact for those that need them.”

In total, four government departments and agencies have funded research projects under the New Foundations Scheme.

Commenting on the funding partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown said: “The ongoing partnership between the Irish Research Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs under this programme is very welcome and continues to build a pipeline of research collaborations for future projects that support enhanced cooperation between the global north and global south, focusing on innovative responses to global challenges within the framework of the 2030 agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Extending partnerships with government departments and agencies is a key action under the Irish Research Council’s Strategic Plan 2020-2024. As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, the expertise of researchers across diverse disciplines is a valuable resource for policy.

“Accordingly, we are also delighted to be announcing today the New Foundations awards made under strands funded by the Creative Ireland Programme; the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; and the Department of Justice, respectively,” he added.

Since 2015, over 200 community, voluntary and charity organisations have engaged across various Irish Research Council programmes, 278 projects have been funded with an associated investment in excess of €6.5 million.

For more information on the New Foundations scheme and this year's funded projects, visit here.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations