IUA Council calls for Knowledge Foresight for Humanities and Social Sciences

At its meeting of 2 April, the Council of Irish Universities Association considered the recent report by the Royal Irish Academy “Advancing Humanities and Social Sciences Research in Ireland”. Council President and Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr John Hegarty remarked: “the report paints a convincing picture of the value of HSS research in contributing to the advancement of public policy and the overall welfare of society”.

“The Council particularly welcomes the proposal for a Knowledge Foresight Exercise”, the IUA President said. “Such an exercise can provide a blueprint for the development of HSS, identifying areas of strength and ensuring best fit with overall national priorities”, Dr Hegarty remarked.“Given the central role of the Irish Universities in research, the IUA will an enthusiastic participant in the Foresight project and we call on the relevant stakeholders to come together as a matter of priority to initiate it”.

The IUA Council is strongly of the view that excellence in humanities and social sciences research is essential to informing the complex policy issues and choices which today’s rapidly changing Ireland presents. The Council also noted that the skills of creativity and problem-solving which are developed through education and research in the humanities and social sciences are a vital foundation for the emerging creative and knowledge society.

The Academy’s report lays out a comprehensive set of recommendations for how HSS research and its underpinning infrastructure can be advanced and how greater coherence can be brought to national efforts in this area. The proposed Foresight exercise would be a central component in this.