Policy Briefs

The Whitaker Policy Briefs are short and informative analyses on some of Ireland’s current public policy issues that bring background and recommendations to policy-makers, journalists and the general public. The policy briefs cover a wide range of topics with emphasis on the following three research themes:

  • Business, Innovation & Economic Development
  • Public-Sector Innovation and Reform
  • Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

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The urbanising force of global warming

Tom McDermott, SEMRU

The global population is urbanising rapidly. Each year, cities around the world host tens of millions of new inhabitants, particularly in low and middle income countries. While traditionally urbanisation has been associated with a process of structural change and economic development, today many poor countries are urbanising faster and at a much earlier stage of… | Read on »

What role does rural place play in the lives of mid-life women in Sweden and Ireland?

Place identity and self-identity create multiple pathways to place attachment and perspectives on the ageing and well-being of older rural women. Two independent studies of 25 rural mid-life women (45-65 years) in Connemara, Ireland (doctoral research, 2017) and ten in Värmland, Sweden (post-doctoral research, 2019) employed a lifecourse framework and constructivist grounded theory to produce… | Read on »

Multi-Actor Stakeholder Priorities for Oceans and Human Health in Europe

Oceans and Human Health (OHH) is an emerging meta-discipline exploring the complex and inextricable links between the health of the ocean and that of humans. This linkage between ocean health and public health emphasises an urgent need for interdisciplinary cooperation between researchers and decision-makers. A participatory and inclusive approach was advocated and adopted by the… | Read on »

Citizen Priorities for Oceans and Human Health

The ocean is under increasing pressure from climate change, biodiversity loss, further degradation through human impacts, and other global changes, resulting in unpredictable, uneven and uncertain outcomes for society including varied risks for human health. In response, the EU Horizon 2020 project SOPHIE (Seas and Oceans for Public Health in Europe) asked European citizens: How do… | Read on »

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Protocols for Stakeholder Engagement

According to the United Nations DESA and ITAR groups, the “multi-stakeholder nature of the 2030 Agenda demands an enabling environment for participation by all, as well as new ways of working in partnerships to mobilize and share knowledge”. Stakeholders, including citizens, and their engagement have never been more important in an increasingly interconnected world, facing… | Read on »

Farmers’ attitudes and preferences for climate change adaptation: An Irish case study

In the context of agricultural production in the Atlantic Area, communities face challenges from changing temperatures and rainfall patterns, sea level rises and the impact of extreme climate events that could interrupt agricultural activity.  To address these challenges, it is important for the agricultural sector to manage risks and adapt to challenging and changing climate… | Read on »

Evaluate Development! Develop Evaluation!

Evaluating behavioural change initiatives or interventions is normally done through outcome evaluations. Outcome evaluations measure participant numbers, demographics and reported changes in behaviour, knowledge, beliefs, values or awareness. They also look at finding and funding solutions at an individual level, such as one single community group or priority groups in a specific location. Agenda 2030… | Read on »

Understanding the public’s knowledge of marine ecosystem restoration important to develop effective management policy

Ecological restoration is now regarded as an important management tool to reverse the degradation of many marine ecosystems. The United Nation has launched a new initiative entitled the “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030)” that aims to halt further degradation and to accelerate existing restoration efforts for land, aquatic, and marine ecosystems. The need for restoration… | Read on »

Barrier Identification for Blue-Green Infrastructures

Blue-green infrastructure (BGI) is becoming a more popular means of dealing with climate change and climate change-related events. The idea behind BGI is to use natural or semi-natural infrastructure to reduce the risk of harmful natural events in a manner that also delivers additional ecosystem services to a wide range of individuals. As the concept… | Read on »

Modelling real-time changes to income distribution during the Covid-19 emergency

The Covid-19 emergency has provided a shock to societies unlike anything in recent memory. Often lacking good information, governments have had to formulate policy responses in a fog of uncertainty. The policy-imposed shutdown has had significant implications for the income of households, with differing effects across the income distribution. Governments have responded with temporary income… | Read on »