August 14, 2000

New funding allocations announced

Press Release
4 July 2000

The Centre for Cross Border Studies, based in Armagh, has announced funding allocations for two more North/South research projects

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 in Ireland.

With Stg£25,500 in sponsorship from eircom, the Dublin-based international telecommunications company, the Centre has commissioned a project to identify the unrelated DEVELOPMENTS IN TELECOM TECHNOLOGIES TAKING PLACE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE IRISH BORDER, which could lead to different “time zones” of technological development on the island. The researchers will also produce policy recommendations aimed at minimising the emerging differences between telecom technologies in the two jurisdictions.

This project will be carried out by two of Ireland’s leading specialists in the fields of information retrieval, data analysis and image and signal processing: Professor Fionn Murtagh of the School of Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast and Dr John Keatingof the Department of Computer Science at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Professor Murtagh worked for many years with the European Space Agency in Munich; is the author of more than 10 books; and holds academic posts at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg and the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr Keating is particularly interested in human-computer interaction and has developed the Toonkit Cartoon Development System, a highly interactive system that runs entirely in a web browser environment. He is also a consultant for the Garda Computer Crime Bureau.

Professor Murtagh and Dr Keating will study the use of telecom technologies in education, health services (telemedicine and telecare), ‘smart communities’ and Digital Society projects, and telematics for elderly people and community groups, as well as pricing policies and Internet access on both sides of the Irish border.

The second project to be funded by the Centre at this time is PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING: CROSS-BORDER OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES. This will be undertaken by Dr Margeret Barry and Ms Sharon Friel of the Centre for Health Promotion Studies at National University of Ireland Galway, two of Ireland’s leading researchers in the areas of health promotion, mental health, community health and nutrition.

The researchers will document current levels of North/South co-operation in mental health; undertake case studies to identify ‘good practice’; examine the comparability of current data sources on mental health and quality of life in the two jurisdictions; and make recommendations for more effective cross-border collaboration in the future.

In March the Centre announced funding for three projects. 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. This is being carried out by the independent researcher Paul McGill and Dr Mark Morgan of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra 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, being carried out by a team led by Dr James Jamison, until recently director of Queen’s University Belfast’s Health and Social Care Research Unit.

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, with a particular focus on the workings of the North/South Ministerial Council and the Special EU Programmes Body. This is being undertaken by the Institute for British-Irish Studies at University College Dublin.


Andy Pollak Tel. (028) 3751 1550 Home tel. (weekends) Dublin (003531) 4960918 Mobile: (0771) 5042122

Fionn Murtagh (Telecom technologies) or John Keating Tel. (028) 9027 4620 (F Murtagh work) or 353 (1) 7083848 (J Keating work)

Margeret Barry/Sharon Friel (Mental health) Tel. Galway 353 (0)91-750319 (work)

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