The Royal Irish Academy established a Research Infrastructures Steering Group in April 2018 to examine the adequacy of Research Infrastructures in Ireland. The group will discern key areas of need in the research sector and identify priority areas of investment for future funding.
The research climate in Ireland has improved immensely in recent decades but, as was the case in virtually all industries and sectors of society, it was adversely impacted by the global economic downturn and consequent national recession. Ireland has now entered a period of growth and improved economic stability but, in order to ensure that Irish research and development maintains and improves standards of excellence, it is necessary to ensure that its infrastructural base is adequately funded to allow for growth.
The Academy believes that active researchers who currently use research infrastructures are best placed to discuss the current research environment and assist in the prioritisation of infrastructural needs.
The group intends to conduct a survey of active researchers to gain their views and to hold a discussion workshop on this topic. Findings will be reported to Government and key stakeholders as appropriate.
What do we mean by ‘research infrastructures?
There are many varying definitions of research infrastructures in existence. This project will take a broad view of what a ‘research infrastructure’ is and will include equipment, facilities, buildings, virtual infrastructure and personnel. It will examine research infrastructures related to AHSS disciplines as well as STEM related infrastructures.
The definition that will be broadly applied is that of the Directorate-General for Research, European Commission:
“research infrastructure” means facilities, resources and related services that are used by the scientific community to conduct top-level research in their respective fields and covers major scientific equipment or sets of instruments; knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives or structures for scientific information; enabling Information and Communications Technology-based infrastructures such as Grid, computing, software and communication, or any other entity of a unique nature essential to achieve excellence in research. Such infrastructures may be “single-sited” or “distributed”.
This project is currently conducting a survey on this topic. Please complete it here