Microbiologists urge the next Government of Ireland to place research and innovation at the heart of the nation’s future

06 February 2020

The Microbiology Society has published a position statement, Science for Ireland: Propelling Research and Innovation Success, on how the Government can ensure the nation remains at the forefront of international science.

These recommendations are based on views gathered from our members in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through a series of surveys, workshops and one-to-one interviews from December 2018 to November 2019.

The Government of Ireland has committed to a doubling of public and private spending on research & development (R&D) bringing total expenditure to 2.5% of gross national product. The long-term transformation of the research ecosystem underpinned by this target requires more ambitious and coordinated action, including a significant increase in public investment in R&D and greater support for diversity and creativity in research.

Speaking about the statement, Associate Professor Evelyn Doyle, Head of School of Biology & Environmental Science at University College Dublin, said:

“Ireland has a proud track record of producing brilliant researchers. Irish scientists have contributed to some of the most ground-breaking advances in science and many of their theories, discoveries and innovations continue to resonate today. However, we cannot afford to rely on our past achievements alone. Top quality researchers and innovators hold the key to answering some of the most complex questions and societal challenges that Ireland faces today – from building a green economy to improving health and tackling poverty and social exclusion, to name but a few. This statement from the Microbiology Society offers a vital point for securing Ireland's future prosperity and growth: the next Government must commit to placing research and innovation at the heart of its programme through strengthened investment and informed policies.”

Key recommendations

The Microbiology Society urges the next Government to place research and innovation at the heart of Ireland’s future and recommends to:

  • Strengthen public and private investment in research and innovation.
  • Develop, attract and retain scientific talent.
  • Support research and innovation through expert advice and cooperation.

The statement emphasises the importance of rebalancing the funding of science to strongly support a diverse range of research across the full breadth of scientific disciplines. It also calls for more ambitious approaches to research and innovation across the island of Ireland at a time when the cross-border relationship is being threatened by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

#ScienceForIreland

We believe that the issues and recommendations highlighted in this statement go beyond the remit of microbiology research and innovation. Opinion pieces and inputs from members, stakeholders and other organisations can help us drive this vision forward. Contact us at policy@microbiologysociety.org to join the discussion and help propel research and innovation success in Ireland.

You can download the full statement and read the accompanying comment.