Minister Simon Harris welcomes record number of Irish Research Council awards connecting researchers and community/voluntary organisations

Posted: 6 April, 2021

Four government departments and agencies also fund innovative research projects under the New Foundations Scheme

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has today welcomed Irish Research Council funding for 76 New Foundations projects that will bring researchers and community/voluntary organisations together to share knowledge and develop new insights to help create a better society for all.

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.

The 76 projects announced today 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 being announced.

Among the research projects that will be funded are those led by the following:

  • Dr Haroon Zafar, of National University of Ireland, Galway, who will be working with Croí, the Heart and Stroke Charity on the remote management of heart failure during Covid-19 through ‘telehealth’.
  • Suzanne Smith, of Dundalk Institute of Technology, who will be partnering with Drogheda Community Services Trust looking at the delivery of care in the home.
  • Dr Siobhan O’ Sullivan, of University College Cork, who will be part of a research collaboration with Bere Island Projects Group focusing on island housing and sustainable communities.
  • Dr Lydia Bracken, of the University of Limerick, who will be working with LGBT Ireland on the legal aspects of LGBT+ families.
  • Dr Declan Redmond, University College Dublin, who will be partnering with the Irish Council for Social Housing on mapping and evaluating the social mix of tenants.

Commenting today, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said: “These research collaborations are helping with some very important community and voluntary sector projects. I welcome that the highest ever number of funding awards are being made today by the Irish Research Council to support these research collaborations with the community and voluntary sector. 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.”


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 call provides opportunities for researchers to work on important areas of policy, including global development, crime, creativity and children.

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.”

The New Foundations scheme will run again this year and further information is available here.

List of new Foundations Awardees 2020

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