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The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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The national conversation around COVID-19: The contributions of Academy stakeholders

08 June 2020

The Royal Irish Academy welcomes this opportunity to profile our stakeholders’ important and timely initiatives.

This crisis is as much about society and politics as it is about virology, immunology and economics.  The Royal Irish Academy is very proud of the various initiatives currently being undertaken by both its elected members (MRIAs) and members the Academy’s multidisciplinary committees. In what follows, the contributions our stakeholders are making to public discussions and debates are outlined. In doing so, we welcome your feedback and ask you to direct any queries or comments to policy@ria.ie

Policy, expertise and trust during a pandemic
Initiated and coordinated by Professor Maria Baghramian, MRIA, PERITIA (Policy, Expertise and Trust) is an international research project exploring the conditions under which people trust the expertise used for shaping public policy. The project brings together philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations from 11 partner institutions in 9 European countries and has recently created an online hub promoting the importance of trusting expertise during the pandemic

Workshop series Organised by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute in partnership with the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 
As part of the 'Rethinking Democracy in an Age of Pandemic' series, Professor Shane O'Mara MRIA, a professor of experimental brain research and the Director of the Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin, discussed his daily lockdown routine and how his work has been shaped by the pandemic. A video of the session can be watched here and it is also available as a podcast

With normal civic life disrupted and journalism facing a potential crisis, Fintan O'Toole MRIA, an Irish Times columnist and writer, spoke at a workshop as part of the 'Democracy without a Public Sphere' series which considered how democracy can function without the public sphere. The workshop is available to listen to as a podcast and can also be watched on video

UCD COVID-19 Response
The UCD Community is rising to the challenge posed by COVID-19 UCD Research, under the leadership of Professor Orla Feely MRIA, has developed a website on the university’s response to the pandemic, including updates and activities, news items, and expert commentaries.

Royal Irish Academy calls for an enhanced Irish science advice system
Royal Irish Academy President, Dr Mary Canning spoke in the national media about the value of having access to credible, trustworthy and independent scientific advice and how this has become increasingly important and recognised during the current COVID-19 crisis.

The role of the Irish language and the language community can continue to inspire communal efforts as we work our way out of the current state of emergency
Professor Máirín Nic Eoin, MRIA wrote a blog 

The Work of Metaphor in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Professor Daniel Carey, MRIA wrote a blog for the Irish Humanities Alliance on the role of metaphor in the COVID-19.

Valuable insights from the arts and humanities in Trinity College Dublin
The Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute in Trinity College Dublin, under the leadership of Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, MRIA is producing regular blog posts which consider and reflect on the new societal challenges posed by the current national and global public health crisis.

The Long Room Hub has also held pandemic-focused virtual events for the general public which have included contributions from Professor Michael Cronin, MRIA - “Intimate” connection between climate change and pandemics and from Professor Luke O’Neil, MRIA and Dr Ida Milne, a member of the Academy’s Historical Studies Committee -  Response to Covid-19 shows striking similarities with pandemics past

The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme is working together to better understand what can be done in response to the COVID-19 crisis
Dr Joan Condell, School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems, Ulster University, and a member of the Academy's Engineering and Computer Sciences Committee, is leading an Ulster team working alongside other colleagues in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment as Northern Europe's response to COVID-19. The NPA (Northern Periphery and Arctic) "COVID-19 response group" is an informal group of 40 experts from 7 countries. The aim of this group is to increase the understanding of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the NPA regions, share and analyse data and look at better or worse practices to learn from

Technologies for Anxiety relating to COVID
Technologies for Anxiety relating to COVID are being developed by an interdisciplinary team in Ulster University led by Dr Joan Condell, School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems and a member of the Academy's Engineering and Computer Sciences Committee.

The COVID-19 Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group is working to develop mathematical and statistical models, with a strong emphasis on calibration of models to data
Professor James Gleeson, University of Limerick and a member of the Academy’s Physical, Chemical and Mathematical Sciences Committee, is a member of the COVID-19 Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG). IEMAG is providing advice and expertise in the area of epidemiology data modelling to the National Public Health Emergency Team

Pandemic television: television viewing during the Covid-19 pandemic has gained a new centrality and importance
Professor Diane Negra, MRIA, University College Dublin, has produced a commentary discussing how Covid-19 has changed the television landscape

If we are to rise to the challenge presented by coronavirus, we must recognise that science and healthcare represent only one part of the equation
Professor Daniel Carey, MRIA, National University of Ireland Galway, has produced an opinion piece highlighting the importance of understanding the social and political conditions underpinning the unfolding crisis

Using digital technologies to tackle the spread of the coronavirus: Panacea or folly?
A new paper by Professor Rob Kitchin MRIA, National University of Ireland Maynooth, examines whether digital technologies will be effective in tackling the spread of the coronavirus

The importance of vitamin D in the body’s immune response to fight infection
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing at Trinity College Dublin, led by Professor Rose Anne Kenny, MRIA, has released a report in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research highlights the potential role of Vitamin D deficiency in the severity of COVID-19 infections

COVID-19 Research Centre to be established in Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin is to set up a COVID-19 research hub that will focus on the most urgent scientific breakthroughs needed to address the current pandemic. This project will be co-led by Professor Kingston Mills MRIA, while Professor Luke O’Neill, MRIA and Professor Padraic Fallon, MRIA will also play key roles.

New website launched with free learning materials for Schools on space science
Smarttscience.com, a new website launched by Professor Stephen Smartt, MRIA, provides free learning resources for teachers of children between the ages of 8 and 12, including a series of live video lessons.

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