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UCD Researchers awarded over €4m in ERC grants

Dr Aidan Regan, UCD School of Politics and International Relations

23 November, 2023.

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded over €2 million to Dr Aidan Regan, UCD School of Politics and International Relations.   to fund his research project ‘Democracy Challenged’ which will examine why concentrated capital and wealth inequality are a problem for democracy, and the role of corporate tax avoidance and law in enabling these processes.

Democracy Challenged

Why is the concentration of capital ownership and wealth inequality a problem for democracy? What is the role of corporate tax avoidance and legal-accountancy in enabling this process? Dr (opens in a new window)Aidan Regan’s project ‘Democracy Challenged’ will develop a new theoretical framework and causal mechanism to explain how corporate tax avoidance fuels the wealth inequalities that undermine democracy. 

Director of (opens in a new window)UCD's Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and Associate Professor at UCD School of Politics and International Relations, Dr Regan’s research is focused on the comparative and international political economy of Europe. In particular, he specialises in the comparative politics of advanced capitalist democracies, with a focus on economic inequality, small states, growth models, and the relationship between business and politics.

On the announcement of his ERC Consolidator Award, he said: "I am absolutely delighted to receive this award. I have been working on the idea for a couple of years so I am thrilled to now have the funding to implement it. Central to what I will do is build a transdisciplinary research team at UCD that cuts across the economic, political and legal sciences. The core question driving my project is how corporate tax avoidance impacts wealth inequality and democracy, with a particular focus on the big tech and big pharma sectors. This requires synthesising a very diverse set of skills and perspectives, whilst implementing new empirical and methodological tools.” 

“When it comes to addressing the problem of global profit shifting and multinational tax avoidance, legal, normative, economic and political scientists scholars typically stick to their own academic lanes. My objective is to build a new theoretical foundation that weaves and synthesises these different academic disciplines into a shared empirical research programme that focuses on why corporate tax avoidance and wealth inequality is a problem for democracy. We will map and reconstruct the global tax-avoiding wealth chains of multinational corporations in the big tech and pharma sectors, and study the role of legal-accountants in creating these strategies and structures".

Dr Regan was among 308 researchers across Europe to receive the prestigious ERC Consolidator grants for 2023. These grants -  totalling €627 million - support excellent scientists and scholars at the career stage where they may still be consolidating their own independent research teams to pursue their most promising scientific ideas. 

President of the European Research Council Professor Maria Leptin said: “The new Consolidator Grant winners represent some of the best of European research. It is disappointing that we cannot support every deserving project simply due to budget constraints; around 100 proposals identified as excellent in our rigorous evaluation will be left unfunded. Can Europe afford to let such talent go unrealised? We need to collectively advocate for increased investment in research and innovation. Our shared goal must be to ensure that no brilliant idea goes unfunded in Europe, and no promising career is left unfulfilled.”

The laureates of this competition will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 22 EU Member States and other countries associated with Horizon Europe. The grants will create around 1,800 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and other staff at the host institutions.

For further information on ERC Consolidator Awards and this year's winners, visit the(opens in a new window)ERC website.

UCD College of Social Sciences and Law

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