NUI Galway Announces New €10 million 'Lifecycle Institute'

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Lifecycle Institute, a major new €10 million initiative in the social sciences at NUI Galway, was announced by the University today (4 March, 2010). Funded through philanthropic donations and in collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Lifecycle Institute will advance an integrated approach to policy and services research for older people, children and families, and people with disabilities. Comprising a multidisciplinary facility in a state of the art new building, the Lifecycle Institute will integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway – the Child and Family Research Centre, the Disability Law and Policy Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. Each of the three centres already makes an important contribution to its respective field in Ireland and internationally. The Lifecycle Institute will add value to this existing work through collaboration across research, teaching and training programmes – while retaining each centre's distinct identity. Conceptually, the Lifecycle Institute marks an innovative approach in the social sciences by establishing the lifecycle as the key framework of reference for understanding existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in society. The aim of the Lifecycle Institute will be to impact positively on future policies for children, families, people with disabilities and older people. Welcoming the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The development of the Lifecycle Institute at NUI Galway reflects a shared commitment by researchers to work towards effective change in the lives of vulnerable populations. This will, we hope, lead to improved outcomes for children, families, older people and people with disabilities by influencing policy and decision making, whether emanating from the Irish Government, the EU or the UN". Operationally, the co-location of the three constituent centres will reflect a unique way of working that facilitates collaboration across disciplines and the sharing of resources, skills and perspectives. The Lifecycle Institute will also feature community engagement facilities which will forge links with stakeholders including statutory, voluntary and community organisations and their service users. Consultation with service users, whether they be children and young people, older people or people with disabilities, will be a strategic goal to advance research. Dr James J. Browne, added: "This is a major advancement in the field of social sciences in Ireland. The Lifecycle Institute has a vision which is to contribute theoretical, scientific and practical awareness of human capacity and potential. With this new institute, we are taking a holistic approach to research, education and policy development covering the life-span of every individual. Long-term, I see the Lifecycle Institute developing the next generation of policy entrepreneurs and advocates in the fields of ageing, children and families, and disabilities".
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