Ciarán Walsh was among the ‘top postgraduate researchers’ who received funding from the Irish Research Council last week. The award was announced at a ceremony which took place in Dublin as part of the Innovation Showcase. Walsh is one 0f 17 researchers who secured funding for a structured PhD Programme that is based on research in a business, not-for-profit, NGO or public sector organisation. The award, worth up to €96,0000, was one of 48 in total representing an investment of ‘€4.5 million in funding to enable some of Ireland’s top postgraduate researchers to work with leading companies around the country’ according to the Irish Research Council.
Professor Orla Feely, Chair of the Irish Research Council, highlighted ‘the benefits for companies of working with researchers and what can be achieved when industry and academia join forces to engage in cutting-edge research that is demand-led and enterprise oriented. Industry-academia partnerships have resulted in the development of products that impact on our day-to-day lives, such as internet search technology, cancer treatments, weather prediction software…the list is endless’
Walsh will be working on 4 year research project which looks at the development of ethnographic survey techniques in Ireland and incorporates the development of innovative interactive systems for multi-site archives and heritage sites. The project is being developed with Maynooth University (Graduate Studies Office and Anthropology Department) in partnership with Abarta Audio Guides. Abarta is run by Neil Jackman and Róisín Burke and is based in Clonmel. It’s an SME that specialises in developing interpretative apps for heritage sites and other applications.
This project builds on innovative research into the Irish ‘Headhunters’ carried out by Walsh in the context of an exhibition of ethnographic photography that was curated with Dáithí de Mórdha of Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir in 2012, in association with TCD and the OPW. This has already thrown new light on the role of Irish scientists/researchers in the development of both anthropology and social policy in the 1890s. This attracted the attention of Maynooth and Cambridge Universities but the involvement of Abarta Audio Guides as enterprise partners means that the project has been able to access significant funding and undertake further research. The project can now tackle really interesting aspects of placing publicly funded research into the public domain in an environment that is increasingly dominated by online systems and tablet devices.
The project kicks off in February 2015.