March 20, 2000

Announcement of research funding

Press release 20 March 2000

The Centre is a joint initiative between Queen’s University Belfast, Dublin City University and the Workers’ Educational Association (N. Ireland). It specialises in practical research of particular interest to policy makers concerned with cross border and North/South issues.

The Centre received 64 applications when it advertised through university and college e-mail systems for research projects last December: 25 were in the area of education, 15 in health, 17 in public administration, and seven in transport and communications.

Three research projects have so far been chosen for funding, and each will receive Stg£20-25,000. The EDUCATION project chosen is a study of how further education colleges in Northern Ireland and institutes of technology in the Republic can better co-operate and learn from each other in tackling the problem of bringing the long-term unemployed and young people with low skills and qualifications back into the education system. It will be carried out by the independent researcher and former Belfast Telegraph education correspondent, Paul McGill, and one of the Republic’s leading educational researchers, Dr Mark Morgan of St Patrick’s College in Dublin.

The HEALTH project chosen is a study of past, present and the potential for future co-operation across the whole range of health services in both Irish jurisdictions. It will be carried out by Dr James Jamison, until recently director of Queen’s University Belfast’s Health & Social Care Research Unit, together with a high-powered team including Professor Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Michelle Butler of the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin, and Dr Ciaran O’Neill, Reader in Health Economics and Health Policy at the University of Ulster.

The PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION project chosen is a study of the cross-border networks that are evolving out of EU funding programmes in Northern Ireland and the Republic, between governments, civil services and local authorities. It will be carried out by a team from the Institute for British-Irish Studies of University College Dublin, led by Professor Brigid Laffan, Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics, and Dr Diane Payne.

A fourth project in the TRANSPORT and COMMUNICATIONS sector will be approved for funding in the next month.

The Centre for Cross Border Studies is also drawing up a series of preliminary ‘mapping studies’ of the current state of cross-border cooperation in six key sectors: agriculture, education and training, tourism, energy, the physical environment, and new technology and communications. These studies will provide discussion papers for monthly study groups involving senior policy makers, practitioners and researchers in these areas on both sides of the border.

The Centre is also planning a major international conference in Belfast and Armagh in the autumn under the title: ‘Cross-border Cooperation in Europe: Lessons for and from Ireland.’ In collaboration with a publisher it will also publish a series of thought-provoking booklets on multiculturalism, the island economy and human rights in both jurisdictions next year.

Further information from Andy Pollak, tel. (028) 3751 1550/1554; fax (028) 3751 1721; mobile (0771) 5042122;a.pollak@qub.ac.uk

The Centre for Cross Border Studies is financed by the EU Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation

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