University of Limerick launches new research initiative

The University of Limerick has launched a new research initiative driven by the concept of the measurable impact that research can have on industry, society and the wider community. The University of Limerick Research Impact initiative will highlight best practice among the UL research community with the guiding principle of pursuing excellent research that is measurable, achieved through collaboration and focused on the ultimate goal of delivering impact.

Dr Mary Shire, UL Vice President Research explains: “A significant aspect of our university research strategy is a commitment to deliver research which moves the world forward. When it comes to making real practice impact, it is not enough just to say that our research makes a difference – we must be able to validate the impact. Through our ecosystem of multidisciplinary research teams, our contributions are evident across a range of areas from award-winning inventions, to national policy, improved patient care and the generation of high value jobs.”

UL researchers will be encouraged to develop research impact case studies demonstrating a clear link between their research and its impact. As part of the launch of Research Impact, four best practice case studies were developed focussing on research that has been evidenced to deliver real impact. These include research in clinical therapies which is revolutionising the way we treat back pain which accounts for 25% of GP visits in Ireland. Another project is focused on research that informs increased public participation in politics. One group are working to better understand the landscape of multinational companies in Ireland which account for over 160,000 jobs. And the final case study focuses on the SFI funded Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) which supports R&D excellence in an industry which employs 49,000 and account for 50% of our exports.

The University recently hosted a ‘Research Impact’ conference with representatives from industry, government, policy and the research community to discuss the topic. In partnership with the Irish Times, participants include Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D.; Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Mary Shire, Vice President Research, UL; Professor David Bailey, Professor of Industrial Strategy, Aston University; Declan Hughes, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Paul Malone, Team Leader Process Engineering, Eli Lilly and Professor Helena Lenihan, Kemmy Business School, UL.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D. said, “at a time of continuing difficult budgetary conditions it is critical that we maximise the impact from public spending by improving its quality. University of Limerick's Research Impact programme is a valuable toolkit and I congratulate UL for this initiative and look forward to its further development and dissemination.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “With the launch of this Research Impact initiative the University of Limerick is once again moving forward at some pace towards a position of leadership in the area of translational research and research impact. This initiative is creating a culture of impact and relevance among the UL research community fostering collaborative thinking, real world problem solving and above all deliverable results.”

Find out more