Dundalk Institute of Technology researcher awarded funding for important societal research

Patrick Flaherty

Reporter:

Patrick Flaherty

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Patrick.flaherty@iconicnews.ie

Funding approved for region's first technology gateway at DkIT

DKIT's Professor Suzanne Smith is set to receive funding from the Irish Research Council for her project "Care at Home"

A researcher at Dundalk Institute of Technology will receive funding under the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations programme.

The programme aims to bring researchers and community/voluntary organisations together to share knowledge and develop new insights to help create a better society for all, with Professor Suzanne Smith set to get funding for her project “Care at Home”.

“Care at Home” was one of 76 projects to receive funding, all of which will reach out across communities to look at diverse issues, including those affecting carers, senior citizens, young people, migrant communities, and the LGBT+ community.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of different groups in society and on the delivery of services is also a significant theme within the research projects announced.

Commenting on the announcements, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris was adamant these research collaborations were vital to communities and welcomed the news it was the highest number of funding awards to date.

“These research collaborations are helping with some very important community and voluntary sector projects” stated the Fine Gael TD. “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 yesterday, diverse community organisations can bring new evidence and insights to enhance their services and impact those that need them.”

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

The New Foundations scheme also includes strands supported by government departments and agencies.

In each of the past three years, a dedicated strand of the programme provides opportunities for researchers to work on important areas of policy, including global development, crime, creativity and children.

The Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown welcomed the ongoing partnership between themselves and the Department of Foreign Affairs, believing it continues to build a pipeline of research collaborations for future projects.

However, he was also pleased to see this initiative spread to other departments of government, something which was a big part of their Strategic Plan for the future.

“Extending partnerships with government departments and agencies is a key action under the Irish Research Council’s Strategic Plan 2020-2024.” he stated. “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 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.”