Research areas in economics at NUI Galway

Economics has identified the following areas as its priority research areas:

  1. Health Economics
  2. Natural Resource Economics and Policy
  3. International Finance and Macroeconomics
  4. Economic History, Theory and Methodology

See below for more details and links related to these research areas.


1. Health Economics

The Health Economics and Policy Analysis (HEPA) group is the largest group of economists working in the areas of health and healthcare on the island of Ireland. The Group are internationally recognised for their work and have extensive collaborations, both with other research groups within the University and with other research centres nationally and internationally. The Group aim to develop and foster the application of economic analysis to health and health care. With more than €10 million in competitively won and commissioned research and over 100 distinct peer reviewed publications in the past decade, the Group are among the most research intensive academic units in Ireland. Underscoring this success, Professor Ciaran O’Neill and Professor Eamon O’Shea have both recently secured significant Research Leader Awards from the Health Research Board.

HEPA also operate the largest health economics masters programme in Ireland as well as providing a suite of undergraduate, graduate and advanced post-doctoral programmes.  These achievements have cemented the HEPA’s role as a key educator of the next generation of economists working in the area of health for industry, government and academia nationally and internationally (e.g., University of Oxford, National Cancer Research Institute, City University London). Moreover, members of the Group support various national and international initiatives through their service for scientific advisory panels, professional bodies, state organizations and voluntary organizations. Their work has served to directly inform policy changes nationally and internationally. HEPA’s impact on health, health care, education and international competiveness will continue to grow as the Group focus on the next stage of development. 

The Discipline also has established expertise in the economics of ageing which was recognized by the establishment of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) in 2005.

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2. Natural Resource Economics and Policy

Economists in the Natural Resource Economics and Policy (NREP) area have a strong record of published research in high-impact journals and have secured more than €4 million in research funding over the past seven years, including a Beaufort award, three Environmental Protection Agency projects, three EU funded projects, a Norwegian Research Council funded project, as well as numerous Teagasc Walsh Fellowships. The NREP group includes a large number of externally funded PhD students. The Group teach modules in the NREP area at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and the NREP masters programme features work-based learning experience.

The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU), a rapidly expanding research cluster focused on marine economics, is the national leader in the field, with a growing international reputation for high-quality research, as evidenced by recent success in EU funding projects. The proximity of Teagasc and the Marine Institute to NUI Galway means that strong relationships have developed between these institutes and the NREP group. The Group have also developed links with researchers and State agencies in China, with the Center of the Blue Economy in California, and with research partners in Norway. Policymakers at home and abroad, including Government Ministers, regularly turn to NREP economists for policy advice in the area of natural resource economics.

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3. International Finance and Macroeconomics

Economists in the areas of macroeconomics and international finance play prominent roles in informing policymakers and the public discourse both nationally and internationally. Professor Alan Ahearne is Chairman of the joint Economic and Social Research Institute/Department of Finance research programme on the Macro-economy and Taxation, an advisor to the International Monetary Fund, and a director of the Central Bank of Ireland. Professor John McHale is Chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, a member of the National Economic and Social Council, and has recently been appointed as the new Director of the Whitaker Institute. Dr Srinivas Raghavendra is leading a £1.5 million international research project on estimating the macroeconomic and social impacts of violence against women and girls, funded by the UK Department for International Development.

The Group offer modules in macroeconomics and international finance at both undergraduate and postgraduate (masters and PhD) level. The masters programme in international finance and the B.Sc. in Financial Mathematics and Economics are nationally recognised for producing graduates of the highest quality, as evidenced by several prestigious individual and team awards that students have recently won and by their success in securing employment in the world’s top financial firms and places on PhD programmes in top-ranked universities (e.g., Cambridge, LSE and UC Berkeley). The Group has developed strong relationships with a range of firms (e.g., Davy, Pioneer, and Mercer) and industry bodies (e.g., CFA Ireland) in the financial services sector.

4. Economic History, Theory and Methodology

The Discipline of Economics has a very active research group in the areas of Economic History, Theory and Methodology whose work has been published in leading international journals (e.g., Journal of Economic Theory) as well as in monographs and books. In particular, this Group has internationally recognized experts in the fields of non-linear dynamical systems, philosophy and methodology of economics, social choice theory, and political economy. Their work complements the work of their colleagues in the other priority research areas.

The Group has a considerable number of PhD students working on research topics in political economy, social choice theory, and methodology of economics whose research has been funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. May 2015 saw the launch of Duanaire: a treasury of digital data for Irish economic history led by Dr Aidan Kane. Duanaire is gathering, curating, and making available through online visualisations a unique corpus of Irish economic history data, including a very important and detailed annual dataset on Ireland’s 18th century trade at port level.

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