Research centre for social policy key part of NUIG €140m plan
NUI GALWAY and Atlantic Philanthropies are to open a €10 million lifecycle institute which will focus on research into key social policy areas. Plans for the multidisciplinary institute are due to be announced today, as part of the university’s €140 million strategic development programme.
Atlantic Philanthropies and other philanthropic donations will finance the institute, which will “advance an integrated approach to policy and services research for older people, children and families, and people with disabilities”.
Three existing centres on the north side of the NUI Galway (NUIG) campus on the banks of the river Corrib will be housed in a single building – the Child and Family Research Centre, the Disability Law and Policy Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. It is intended to secure planning approval and agree final contracts for construction by the end of this year.
NUIG is constructing a €50 million engineering building. Three other projects in the 2009-2014 plan include a new human biology building about to go to tender.
Currently, the college has over 17,000 students on its books, and a research income of over €50 million annually. It is the biggest employer in Galway city, as NUIG president Dr Jim Browne noted last year.
The lifecycle institute aims to nurture collaboration across research, teaching and training programmes – while retaining each centre’s identity.
The university says it marks an “innovative approach, conceptually”, and the institute aims to “impact positively on future policies for children, families, people with disabilities and older people”.
The Child and Family Research Centre already holds a prestigious Unesco-sponsored post. Prof Pat Dolan was appointed to the chair in children, youth and civic engagement, within the centre’s school of political science and sociology in late 2008.
“The development of the lifecycle institute reflects a shared commitment by researchers to work towards effective change in the lives of vulnerable populations,” Dr Browne said. “This will, we hope, lead to improved outcomes . . . by influencing policy and decision-making, whether emanating from the Government, the EU or the United Nations.
“This is a major advancement in the field of social sciences in Ireland. With this new institute, we are taking a holistic approach to research, education and policy development covering the life-span of every individual.”