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Research - Ireland’s Education Yearbook 2020

One of the boldest deep-ocean research projects ever undertaken in Europe

In May 2020, Dr Sergei Lebedev, seismologist at Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, led a 3-week expedition on board the RV Celtic Explorer, to retrieve state-of-the-art ocean bottom seismometers which had been deployed offshore to the west of Ireland in 2018 as part of the SEA-SEIS project (Structure, Evolution and Seismicity of the Irish offshore).

The key information recovered in the summer of 2020 provided new insights into earthquakes off the Irish coast, the potential for enhanced tsunami warning systems, and the migration patterns of North Atlantic whales.

Research Data – A Rising National Priority

Research data is a valuable national asset, and the management and sharing of research data are among the most pressing challenges facing the higher education and research sectors. The acceptance of data as an important strategic asset in responding to Covid-19 is accompanied by greater awareness of the gaps and outstanding issues. The opportunity for transformation needs to be matched with a strategic choice for investment.

Patricia Clarke
Programme Manager – Policy and EU Funding, Health Research Board

Strengthening the Connections Between Research and Policy in Ireland

Designing the infrastructure for an important national resource

Covid-19 has changed our world. Never before in recent times has Ireland so needed to draw on its resources of knowledge to analyse, to better understand, and to make good decisions in uncertain times. We have a valuable and under-utilised resource in the research capacity of our higher education system to contribute to policymaking and evaluation. This article makes suggestions for a systematic and long-term focus on helping the research and policy communities to work together more effectively to address pressing questions.

Mary Doyle
Visiting Research Fellow in Public Policy, Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin

Map or Guide?

The evolving use of scientific evidence to inform social policies and programmes in complex settings

No one advocates for policy or social programmes with an absence of evidence. However, greater appreciation of the complexities of social policies and programmes presents new demands for the application of scientific evidence to resolve real-world problems.

Sean Redmond
Civil Servant in the Department of Justice seconded to the School of Law, University of Limerick; Head of Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice (REPPP) research team

Reflecting on the Past and Next 80 Years of Fundamental Research

The case study of DIAS

In 2020, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) marked its 80th anniversary. It was also the first investment in fundamental research by a new Irish state. This article reflects on DIAS’s history as a case study on the possibilities created through investment in fundamental research, and looks to the importance of fundamental research for the future.

Eucharia Meehan
Registrar and CEO, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Knowledge Transfer: From Engagement to Commercialisation of Research

Development and future trends

Seen as the ‘third mission’ in higher education, knowledge transfer and the commercialisation of research results offers a complementary channel for dissemination and delivery of economic and societal benefit. This article considers the development of knowledge-transfer policy and practice in Ireland and looks ahead to what the future holds.

Alison Campbell
Director, Knowledge Transfer Ireland

Research Impact Toolkit

Planning, capturing, communicating, and monitoring the impact of research in higher education institutions

This article explores what ‘research impact’ means and the approaches that Irish higher education institutions and funding agencies are using to plan, capture, communicate, and monitor the impact of research on society. In particular it details what UCD has done in response to the research impact challenge.

Liam Cleere
Senior Manager, Research Analytics and Impact, UCD Research and Innovation, University College Dublin

Post-Primary Pedagogy in a Pandemic

Second-level education during Covid-19 building closures

The school closures period from March to June 2020 was a unique experience in the history of Irish second-level education, forcing new, remote methods of pedagogical delivery. This article explores some key areas of impact – principally changes to teaching and learning approaches and decreases in student engagement and well-being. The continued circulation and virulence of Covid-19 means that disruptions to education remain a strong possibility, requiring robust contingency planning and flexibility.

Gretta Mohan
Research Officer, Economic and Social Research Institute

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