Results of the RIA Science Funding Debate

Last month a debate was held at the Royal Irish Academy to address the issues being raised by the research community, regarding recent changes to government policies for science funding. Members of the government (e.g., Minister Sean Sherlock), funding bodies (e.g., SFI & IRC), and the leading members of the research community came together to voice their opinions on topics such as the recent push for funding prioritisation of research areas.

There was limited coverage on Twitter and in the press.

Irish Times Article – “Uncertainty expands when there is a vacuum of trust” Article – “Academics and agencies discuss funding concerns”

The Royal Irish Academy, who hosted the event, has just published its report summarising what was discussed.

The conclusions state, “There was an acknowledgement that the system has been transformed, and of the importance of the human capital. There was a concern to establish balance across the system on the basis of the very broad value of the full range of research to our society and also recognition that there is not, currently, a national strategy for research in place.”

The head of the RIA, Luke Drury has simultaneously offered a personal assessment of “Publicly Funded Research” in Ireland, partially in response to the funding debate.

He writes, “This article draws on my experience of the recent dialogue meeting on national research funding and reflects the views of myself and the Academy officers. It was obvious by the end of that meeting that gaps are opening up in the funding system and that there is a lack of any joined-up top-level vision for the national research system as well as a dearth of evidencebased policy implementation.”


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