ADAPT Researcher Awarded SFI Public Service Fellowship

14 March 2024

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, this week announced 14 research awards which will receive funding through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Public Service Fellowship programme. 

The novel fellowship programme offers academic researchers a unique opportunity to be temporarily seconded to Government departments and agencies and work on specific collaborative research projects. The fellowships help to foster innovation and provide an evidence base for policy, through close collaboration and engagement within the public sector and academic research community.

ADAPT researcher at Maynooth University, Dr Mansoor Ahmed, was funded for the development of ethical guidelines for the use of Artificial Intelligence in the Irish Public Service at the Department of Public Expenditure NDP Delivery and Reform.  The project aims to design a research-driven, comprehensive guide that can help officials navigate the legal and ethical complexities of AI use.

Fourteen researchers were funded with the projects representing a total grant funding in excess of €1.25 million. Co-funding partners include the Environmental Protection Agency, Geological Survey Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Making the announcement, Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted that this funding through the SFI Public Service Fellowship Programme spans 11 Government departments and agencies.

“Research plays a significant role in helping Government and Public Sector address national and global challenges, including climate change, health and well-being, food security, transport and digital transformation.

“This targeted immersion and integration of research expertise in our public service represents a win-win partnership for participating researchers and government entities alike, and fully aligns with departmental efforts to strengthen connectivity between the sectors.”

Welcoming the news, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society at SFI, said: “There is significant opportunity to promote innovation and advance evidence-based approaches within the public sector through meaningful engagement with the academic research community. The SFI Public Service Fellowship Programme facilitates connection between researchers and Government bodies to help enhance service delivery and inform policy-making. Promoting those potentially transformative engagements enables researchers to apply their expertise to pressing public policy challenges, while developing their skills and accessing career development opportunities.”

The Fellowships have a duration of between one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).