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Senator Maria Byrne hosts Limerick researcher in Leinster House as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing’ scheme

 ‘Shadowing scheme ‘ of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas hosted by Senator Maria Byrne. Pictured at the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing’ scheme were Limerick-based Senator, Maria Byrne; University of Limerick researcher and Associate Professor, Dr Maura Adshead; and Dr Eavan O’Brien, Assistant Director of the Irish Research Council.

Senator Maria Byrne hosts Limerick researcher in Leinster House as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing’ scheme

Limerick-based Senator, Maria Byrne, is the latest member of the Oireachtas to participate in a new ‘shadowing scheme’ organised by the Irish Research  Council.

The scheme sees some of Ireland’s most promising researchers ‘shadowing’ members of the Oireachtas in Leinster House.  It is aimed at strengthening academics’ and politicians’ understanding of the role research plays in public policy formation.

Participating in the scheme today (17.10.18), researcher Dr Maura Adshead was hosted at Leinster House by Senator Byrne. Dr Adshead is Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick.

Speaking today, Dr Adshead – who is from County Limerick – said: “I was delighted to be paired with Senator Maria Byrne as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing scheme. My research interests include politics and public policy in Ireland, so my research has strong relevance to her role. This was a great opportunity to brief her not only on my own work but also on the challenges and opportunities facing the wider research sector.”

Senator Byrne said: “We have some of the best researchers in the world working in Ireland and as members of the Oireachtas, it is our duty and privilege to draw on the expertise of Ireland’s research sector to enhance the legislative process.

“The Irish Research Council is funding excellent research across a whole variety of issues, which have a significant impact on the formation of public policy. This scheme is a great way for us members of the Oireachtas to find out more about how we can harness the knowledge and skills of our research sector to enhance our society and economy.”

Dr Eavan O’Brien, Assistant Director of the Irish Research Council, said the scheme is aimed at bridging the divide between politics, policy-making and research. “Every year, the Irish Research Council makes new awards to hundreds of talented researchers, working on topics ranging from climate change and housing to conflict resolution and health,” she said.  “The excellent research underway in Ireland can make an important contribution to public policy formation and the legislative process.

“Some TDs and senators may not be aware of the full breadth and potential of Ireland’s research sector.  At the same time, some researchers may not see an immediate link between their work and the impact that it has on the development of new policies and laws.  

“We have therefore developed this ‘shadowing’ scheme with the view to bridging the divide between policy-making and research – and to ensure that our elected representatives are supported to tap into publicly-funded research.”

Senator Byrne is the second member of the Oireachtas to take part in the scheme, with Hildegard Naughton TD hosting Galway researcher, Morag Taite in July. Additional members of the Oireachtas will host researchers over the coming months, including Waterford Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler; Dublin and Mid-West Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin.

For more information on the shadowing scheme, go here

For more stories on Irish Research Council, go here

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