Pictured at the launch of the NUI Galway Research Staff Association (GRSA) are from left: Dr. Barry Glynn, Chairman, GRSA; Mr Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Professor Tim O Brien, Director of Regenerative Medical Institute, NUI Galway
The newly formed Galway Research Staff Association (GRSA) at NUI Galway has been officially launched by Eamon Ó Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs at a ceremony on Thursday, 19 April 2007.
With over 250 contract researchers currently working in the National University of Ireland Galway, the primary function of the GRSA is to promote the interests of contract research staff within the University and in so doing to create a working environment which encourages excellence in research and serves to attract and retain high quality researchers.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Tim O'Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medical Institute (REMEDI) at the University said: "Structured research careers for PhD graduates will be crucial to the future economic success of the country. This has been recognised by the Advisory Council for Science Technology and Innovation who are currently drafting a report for Government on this issue. Successful implementation of a plan to address this issue will be necessary if we are to continue to attract the brightest and the best students to a career in research".
GRSA chairman, Dr Barry Glynn, who is based at the National Diagnostics Centre, NUI Galway said: "The Association welcomes the increased investment in science required for building Ireland's knowledge economy. However recognition of the contribution made by the existing researcher base is lacking and the means to integrate them into the proposed structure remains unclear.
"Contract researchers at NUI Galway contribute to the economic as well as educational success of the University. Despite their evident importance to the university problems facing researchers have not been properly addressed including: job security, career structure, pensions, and salary levels relative to qualifications."
The specific aims of the GRSA are:
To provide a collective voice for researchers within the University to articulate and promote their views and to liaise with University authorities. To improve the status of researchers on fixed contracts within the University, commensurate with their contribution, experience and responsibilities. To encourage greater recognition of the contribution of researchers through parity of esteem and reward. To provide a forum for research staff to meet, network and discuss issues of mutual concern and in so doing to build a cross-disciplinary University research community.
According to the Association, state funding of research centres will fail to deliver results unless experienced research staff is in place, while training of the next generation of PhD students, essential for the Government's strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, depends upon the direct involvement of these researchers. Further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/research_staff_association/ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org