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Policy

 

The Academy is a conduit to the community of scholars and researchers on the island of Ireland. It offers an independent and autonomous forum for debate and dialogue on matters pertaining to the practice of research and scholarship in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

News:

Call for Experts

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., has established a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Review Group to explore the potential of Research into STEM Education at primary and post primary level. The STEM Review Group is being chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, MRIA and President of Dublin City University.

The Terms of Reference of the Review Group:

1. The preparation of teachers (at 1st and 2nd Level) for STEM education in Ireland

2. Means of supporting/enhancing the current cohort of STEM Teachers within the system (consider innovative means of supporting targeted CPD for STEM teachers by Private Sector leveraging of current state resources)

3. The use of inquiry-based and problem-based learning approaches and the impact of different assessment modalities for STEM subjects in the context of, but not limited to, the developing Junior Cycle reforms

4. The use of technology to enhance learning (especially on-line approaches) and the way in which the private sector could provide support

5. Increasing the engagement in and understanding of STEM subjects for students

Following the RIA-ALLEA Joint Efforts in Science Education Forum held in Academy House in November, the Review Group has requested the Academy to make a formal submission to it. Accordingly the Academy is establishing a working group to formulate its response. If you are interested in participating in this working group please contact the Policy and International Relations Manager Paul Lynam at info@ria.ie by 11 April attaching a short supporting statement outlining your suitability for this group. The Academy will host a discussion on STEM Education on behalf of the Review Group in Academy House, on Thursday 17 April 2014, 10.30am - 4.30pm, prospective candidates must be available to attend this forum.

For further information on this initiative or any of the Academy’s Policy activities please contact the Head of Policy & International Relations, Sinéad Riordan, stem@ria.ie, tel: 00-353-1-6090604.
 

10 March 2014: Risks to plant health: European Union priorities for tackling emerging plant pests and diseases

cover from easac report: risks to plant health: European Union piorities for tacklinkg emerging plant pests and diseasesThe latest release from the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) highlights potentially devastating plant pests and diseases. In the detailed EU-wide study of emerging plant pests and diseases, EASAC describes their combined threat to crops and forests and wider ecosystems, with implications for human health.

 “This is a timely report from EASAC which draws attention to the importance of tackling the problem of the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases among food, horticultural and forest crops.  Accurate information on losses from pests and diseases are difficult to obtain but estimates of 30-40% loss in developing countries from 'field to fork' are common. This report describes how advances in research can inspire new thinking on procedures for pest control and on breeding improved plant varieties with resistance to biotic stresses. Furthermore it points out the need to ensure that research issues for plant health receive sufficient attention within the current European Commission Initiatives such as the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change” says Professor Michael Jones, MRIA, whose field of expertise is Plant Ecophysiology.

The report’s recommendations cover the following priorities - Improved surveillance systems, stronger research push, addressing the limitations of current crop protection.

The full report is available to read here.
 

 

Participating in Ireland’s Smart Energy Future

eni logoThe Academy will host a presentation from Energy Needs Ireland on their White Paper “Participating in Ireland’s Smart Energy Future” on 25 March at 7pm, Academy House. Energy Needs Ireland is a summer research project which brings together a group of undergraduate students from all over Ireland drawn from a range of disciplines such as Engineering, Science, and Economics who have been tasked with investigating Ireland’s energy needs. ENI is facilitated by Mark O’Malley, MRIA, Professor of Electrical Engineering, UCD and Director of the Electricity Research Centre , with funding from the Electricity Research Centre and Science Foundation Ireland through the Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems Strategic Research Cluster.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to the Policy and International Relations Manager, Paul Lynam at p.lynam@ria.ie
 

Call for Expression of Interest for the European Commission’s Expert Database

Horizon 2020 logo

The European Commission has initiated a call for an expression of interest for experts to assist with research and innovation assignments including the evaluation of proposals, monitoring of projects, and evaluation of programmes for Horizon 20:20. European Academies have been encouraged to notify their members of this announcement. If you have been selected to serve on this panel, please inform the Academy through Paul Lynam at p.lynam@ria.ie , and we will inform the National Support Network for Horizon 20:20 of your selection. For further details please click here.
 

2 December 2013: EASAC releases report on ‘Trends in extreme weather events in Europe: implications for national and European Union adaptation strategies’

Flooding

The latest release from the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) considers likely future changes in extreme weather over Europe. It identifies significant challenges in preparing Europe for a future with a greater frequency of extreme weather including heat waves, floods, droughts and storms. The report highlights a lack of a 60% rise over the last 30 years in the costs of damage from extreme weather events across Europe, and the need for EU wide preparation against disease, population migration, environmental and infrastructural damage.

"Catastrophic weather events, such as we have seen in the Philippines, are likely to become more frequent and severe due to global warming. This report from some of Europe's leading climate scientists confirms the scientific connections between extreme events and climate change and provides yet another wakeup call that the clock is ticking” says the Academy’s EASAC nominee Professor John Sweeney.

The report identifies 5 key areas requiring immediate EU action - Heat-waves; Flood defence and early warning; Agriculture; Climate research; Adaptation Plans. The full report is available here.
 

18 November 2013: RIA endorses IAP/IAMP Statement on Antimicrobial Resistance

The Royal Irish Academy endorses the statementby the Inter Academy Panel of Global Science Academies (IAP) and the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) on Antimicrobial Resistance, which notes that the global pandemic of antibiotic resistance in both community care and hospital-associated infections represents a major health and economic burden. The Statement outlines a series of recommended actions to alleviate the current public health problem of antimicrobial resistance and future steps to avert a growth in such resistance. The Statement will be of particular interest to public health research funders and the Departments of Health and Agriculture. The Statement can be downloaded here.

11.11.2013 - The Academy welcomes ALLEA’s calls for Enhancement of Open Access to Scientific Publications

10.10.2013: New ALLEA Statement released – “Ethics education in science”
Of particular interest to Irish researchers and public research funders is the focus within the ALLEA statement on the importance of integrating the ethical responsibilities of scientists into the curriculum of scientific education and the need for scientists to be aware of and have the ability to deal with issues concerning research integrity and research ethics in a wider sense.

 

New initiative: Irish Humanities Alliance

The RIA is partnering with ten higher education institutions, north and south, to form the Irish Humanities Alliance. More details...
 

How to Succeed with the European Research Council

ERC ImageProf. Donald Dingwell, Secretary General, European Research Council spoke to Irish researchers at the Irish Research Council on ‘How to Succeed at the ERC’. Click here for more information.

 

 

Making Open Access Work for Ireland

Making Open Access Work for Ireland

The Royal Irish Academy and the Irish Research Council held a forum on Open Access on May 2, 2013. Click here for more information.

Roadmap for Embedding the Social Sciences and Humanities in Horizon 2020

All European Academies (ALLEA), which brings together 52 Academies in more than 40 countries, has today published a roadmap for embedding the social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme from 2014-2020.

The roadmap sets out the key value of the social sciences and humanities in the realisation of Horizon 2020’s goals whilst making four key recommendations:

  • The introduction of specific quotas for the representation of the social sciences and humanities within Expert Advisory Groups and Programme Committees across all three pillars and societal challenges of Horizon 2020
  • The allocation of individual quotas within the aforementioned structures for the social sciences, and for the humanities. Both areas cover a vast disciplinary range and an extraordinary breadth of perspectives. One cannot be substituted for the other.
  • Adequate social science and humanities representation amongst the evaluators of bids to Horizon 2020 Calls to support the realisation of the interdisciplinary goals Horizon 2020 has set itself.
  • Development of a new enhanced and dedicated unit for the social sciences and humanities and their embedding within DG Research & Innovation.

The roadmap was developed out of a meeting of ALLEA’s Social Sciences and Humanities Working Group of which the Royal Irish Academy is a member.

Royal Irish Academy advocates for the Humanities and Social Sciences within Horizon 2020

The Royal Irish Academy has written to:

  • the Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Mr. Sean Sherlock, T.D, championing the position of the humanities and social sciences in Horizon 2020;
  • the European Commissioner, Maire Geogehan Quinn, supporting a greater role for the Humanities and Social sciences in realising the goals of Horizon 2020.

For old news items please see the news archive.

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