15th July 2022: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has today published the outcomes from Creating Our Future, a unique national brainstorm that received more than 18,000 ideas on how to create a better society.

The diverse breadth of public submissions on where research should be focused ranged from ideas on the environment, mental health, food and sustainable and green living, to housing, health, the arts, digital challenges, learning and development, and nurturing community.

The campaign asked the Irish public to submit research ideas based on a flexible, open-ended question: ‘Tell us your idea for what researchers in Ireland should explore to create a better future?’

Some responses included:

  • the impact of parental depression on children
  • a zero-waste society
  • a cut-off button on phones, tablets, laptops and computers for children
  • the use of robots for litter collection
  • car-free cities
  • whether radio listeners respond to or engage differently with presenters who are men or women
  • communication around cancer and infertility

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “The Creating Our Future campaign was launched to bring research and the public together; to unite everyone in a shared project to allow us to better understand how research can work for the Irish public and shape a better Ireland."

"We wanted to open a discussion to everyone, to discover what was important to people, to find out what they would like to explore to create a better future for all."

"The campaign aimed to democratise research – everyone can have a good idea; the campaign was open to everyone, and I am glad to say that we received research ideas from every county in the country.

“The Expert Committee Report analysing the submissions paints a very interesting picture of the thoughts and concerns of the Irish public at a unique point in time. Their findings, alongside all the submissions, now form a valuable and unique digital book of inspiration.

“The database of ideas will serve as an enduring source of insight and will help to inspire future research in Ireland. I would like to sincerely thank each person that submitted an idea to the Creating Our Future campaign.

“In one way, it feels like we are at the finish of Creating Our Future but in another, we are really only at the beginning. The public has done its part, it is now up to Government and its agencies to implement the recommendations in both the Campaign Report and Expert Committee Report.

“The research ideas have already been aligned with a number of ongoing and upcoming programmes and will inform research through a variety of initiatives over the coming years.

“I would like to thank all of those involved, the Ambassadors, Advisory Forum Members and Members of the Expert Committee and Working Groups, and Science Foundation Ireland, it was through this combined effort that we have ultimate success.”

Creating Our Future was the first of its kind public engagement dialogue to be undertaken in Ireland. All 18,062 ideas submitted by the public during 2021 were considered by an independent Expert Committee and grouped under 16 thematic areas.

The outputs and recommendations from Creating Our Future are integrated into the Government’s new national research and innovation strategy Impact 2030, and will inform the National Challenge Fund, as well as being aligned with future public engagement campaigns such as Science Week.