Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (Tuesday 1st June) announced plans for a national conversation on research and science.

Creating our Future aims to build on the success of research and science in our battle against Covid-19 and ask the public how we can shape a better Ireland through research and science.

The conversation will begin in July and will run until November and will be overseen by an Advisory Forum, which will meet for the first time today. The Forum will be chaired by Julie Byrne.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “We might sometimes take it for granted, but research and innovation shape nearly every aspect of our lives. We have seen that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and while we are still struggling with the virus, scientists and researchers have given us the route out of this pandemic through vaccination. We believe now is the right time to have a conversation about science and research with the people of Ireland and ask you to give us your verdict on the problems and opportunities you think are most important to our society and economy. By inviting the public to be central to these conversations, we can ensure the direction of research in Ireland is informed by the people it serves. The starting point for all great research and innovation is simple – a wonderful idea. We hope you will speak to us about ideas that will inspire researchers to use all their skills and knowledge to help shape a better society."

“If we want to make this country a better place to live and prosper, then we need ideas that will challenge our researchers and innovators."

"We need the people of Ireland to tell them what difficulties they believe need to be addressed, what injustices need to be tackled and what ideas they have for making our society as fair and inclusive as possible.”

Speaking ahead of the first meeting of the Advisory Forum, Julie Byrne, GlobaláHead of Nokia Bell Labs External Collaboration Programs and Chair of the Advisory Forum, said: “I am very honoured to undertake this role and I look forward to collaborating with all of the members of the Advisory Forum. Creating Our Future presents a unique opportunity during the coming months to have a conversation with the people of Ireland, and to gather their ideas on the challenges they want research to tackle in order to create a better future for all of us. I encourage everyone to consider how they can get involved to ensure that we reach all corners of our society, so that every voice is heard as part of this national conversation.”

From July to November events will be held across the country where citizens will be invited to share their opinions on current research being carried out, their thoughts on the direction those studies should take, and offer ideas for other research opportunities yet to be explored.

All submissions will be considered by expert panels and the results of their findings will be published by the end of 2021 in a major report which will inform Ireland’s next strategy for research, innovation, science and technology. The report will also contribute to informing Ireland’s policy on research and innovation.

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