The Institute for Lifecourse and Society(ILAS) is a newly designated research institute for the applied social sciences at NUI Galway.
The Institute will represent a significant and innovative development in that for the first time it brings together the fields of children, youth, older people and disability into one domain of research, teaching and policy. It will provide greater focus, coherence and direction to applied social science research at the University. Its core function is to achieve international excellence in social policy and practice development through the pursuit of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences by creatively integrating the rich and diverse intellectual resources from within the University and beyond.
Established in part on the commitment, expertise and track record of its three constituent research Centres in NUI Galway: UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC), Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) and Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP). Apart from earlier achievements of its forming members over the last decade, and in the main supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland, a recent emergent flagship programme called the Project Lifecourse initiative represents a key formational aspect of the Institute in that it models accruing staff and expertise from among constituent research centre members of the incoming Institute.
Project Lifecourse is a multidisciplinary project with research, policy, practice, and education strands that aims to make a positive contribution to public policy development by improving scientific and practical awareness of human capacities and capabilities across the lifecourse. Additional research communities committed to joining the Institute include the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN), Health Economics and Policy Analysis (HEPA) and Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI). Additionally, a range of stakeholders, including research centres, research clusters, community demonstration projects and individual academics drawn from an impressive range of Colleges, Schools, and Disciplines (including health, law, economics and sociology) within NUI Galway have formally expressed an interest in joining the Insitute.
The Institutes focus will be on supporting applied research that informs policy development and practice that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. Its initial focus will be to bring together existing work in relation to targeted populations, such as older persons, children and families, and persons with disabilities. This baseline is set to expand. Initially, but not exclusively, the Institute has four broadly conceived thematic interests: