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Innovative University of Limerick projects to have positive impact on local communities

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Innovative UL projects to have positive impact on local communities. UL Citizens’ Assembly in the Gardens International Building, Henry Street, Limerick Sustainable Energy Sarah Guerin, Muhammad Usaid, Tara Ryan, Niamh Hickey. Pic Arthur Ellis

Three innovative UL projects spearheaded by UL researchers have each been awarded €10,000 to develop their ideas

UL Citizens’ Assembly in the Gardens International Building, Henry Street, Limerick. The Food Finder Anne Griffin, Catherine Caball, Clare Flynn. Pic Arthur Ellis

Three innovative projects spearheaded by University of Limerick (UL) researchers, which have been designed to have a direct impact on communities across Limerick, have each been awarded €10,000 to develop their ideas.

Projects on the use of ground tiles to generate electricity by people walking on them, resources to make voting easier for people and a mapping project to aid in addressing food poverty in Limerick, have been awarded funding following a vote of the UL Citizens’ Assembly.

Organised by UL Engage and taking place as part of UL Research Week in Gardens International in the heart of Limerick city centre, the UL Citizens’ Assembly composed of stakeholders and citizens from Limerick city and county, taking representation from all of Limerick’s municipal and metropolitan districts, based on county-wide demographics and principles of inclusivity.


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Limerick’s Public Participation Network (PPN) and Comhairle na nÓg collaborated to ensure the Assembly was as representative as it could be, supported by Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Community Educational Network (LCEN).

More than 100 Limerick citizens aged from 14 to 82 took part in the assembly and used their vote to select the three winning projects.

The Assembly is a ‘safe and respectful space’ for citizens to come together and discuss UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) focused actions from UL that can have a positive impact for Limerick.

It aims to strengthen democracy and involves citizens in meaningful decision-making, while embracing an opportunity for collective thinking and experimentation.

UL Vice President Global and Community Engagement Professor Nigel Healey outlined: “University of Limerick is a very community-focused university and a lot of our teaching and research is very much community engaged. This is a particularly important event to hear the voice of the people and to democratise our research.

“We present prospective research projects that would have impact within communities, and we really hear the voices of the people as to which of those projects they think are worth investing in for the societal impact.”

A total of nine projects made pitches during the event, each one addressing specific SDGs. They had to explain how the project would develop civic engagement and demonstrate the potential positive impact for Limerick.

Following the vote three winners were announced: The Food Finder: Mapping Limerick’s Food Environment, Which Candidate Community Collaborations, and Sustainable Energy Generation through Citizen Movement.

Professor Maura Adshead, Associate Professor in Politics and Public Administration and Head of Community Engagement in UL explained: “We work with our partners, the Public Participation Network, Limerick City and County Council, the Limerick Community Education Network and Comhairle na nÓg. So, between them all we have more than 100 Limerick citizens aged from 14 to 82 from all sections of society who have chosen the three projects. The projects chosen have to be sustainable and have engagement plans for the city or the county, and they must have an impact on Limerick.

“We are getting the research out of the university and into the community. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people in Limerick, not only to make a decision on which UL project, but also just to see the wealth of the innovative research that we’re doing in the university and the range of projects that are available.”

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Three innovative UL projects spearheaded by UL researchers have each been awarded €10,000 to develop their ideas
UL Citizens’ Assembly in the Gardens International Building, Henry Street, Limerick
Which Candidate Rory Costello, Jackie Condon. Pic Arthur Ellis

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