Research Themes
Business, Innovation & Economic Development

Business, Innovation & Economic Development

With his 1958 study, Economic Development, T.K. Whitaker is widely recognised for setting the course for the modernisation of Ireland's economy. This path-breaking work identified “potentialities” and “deficiencies” across the Irish economy, and highlighted internationalisation and productive investment as central to the future of Irish economic growth.

Building on our founding research cluster – the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change – the Whitaker Institute is actively involved in the study of business innovation and economic development both in Ireland and globally. The Institute is building on this foundation to play a leading research-led role in the debate on the future of economic development from a variety of perspectives. Most of the Institute's research clusters are pursuing research and policy analysis that directly advances this theme, including: Macroeconomics & Finance; the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU); Population & Migration; and Creative, Liveable & Sustainable Communities.

Public-Sector Innovation and Reform

Public-Sector Innovation and Reform

Through his pioneering roles as Secretary General of the Department of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, T.K. Whitaker was an influential figure in the development of the modern Irish state. In the wake of the recent economic crisis, the need for an innovative and effective public sector has taken on even greater importance. The reform agenda spans the political and administrative systems, and also policy design and implementation.

The Whitaker Institute is committed to the study of innovative policy reforms and effective public-sector delivery across a range of areas both in Ireland and globally. The clusters pursing active research agendas on this theme include: Agile and Open Innovation; Performance Management; Social Innovation and Policy; Group Decision Making; Gender and Public Policy; and Technology and Governance.

Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

Throughout his distinguished career, T.K. Whitaker has been passionately committed to ensuring that economic development delivers sustainable and inclusive societies. To quote from a recent biography of Dr. Whitaker by Anne Chambers: "In 2012 the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change was established in his honour at NUI Galway. Drawing inspiration from Ken Whitaker's work in setting Ireland on the road to recovery in 1958, this new foundation, the largest multi-disciplinary research body in the country, aims to rebuild a sustainable and inclusive society in the wake of the challenges facing Ireland and the international community as a result of the most recent national downturn."

The Whitaker institute is committed to advancing this vision through research on topics such as environmental sustainability, gender equality and healthy societies. This theme will be advanced through research and policy analysis across a range of research clusters, including: Health and Well-Being; Conflict, Humanitarianism & Security; Work, Society & Governance; and Environment, Sustainability and Development.