14 September 2010

Irish Development Studies: Here and Different?

I was in Dublin yesterday speaking at the launch of the new Irish Development Studies Association (DSA) group. There were about 100 participants, drawn from the research, practice and policy communities. The DSA is all about bringing researchers from academia, practice and policy together to enhance the value and impact of our members work.

In this spirit, I presented on the challenges of linking research and policy--also titled as “If a research paper is not heard, does it exist?” (Powerpoints here)

I heard some great presentations during the Launch (presentations shortly to be uploaded):

  • From University College Dublin, the history of Irish development policy (does Ireland’s relatively recent famine history really make it different in the eyes of African and Asian countries? Does it really drive Irish citizen commitment to overseas development? Even if Ireland was never a colonial power, does its religious and corporate activity constitute a new type of colonialism?)
  • From Trinity College Dublin, development policy coherence across the Irish government (coherence is more needed than ever during an aid downturn, but what are the incentives for squeezed non-aid departments to worry about global poverty?)
  • From Concern, Conservation farming in Zimbabwe (why isn’t a proven low tech yield-raiser gaining more popularity?)
  • From Trocaire, what do development practitioners think about the MDGs? (Half of the 80 people surveyed think they are still relevant, a quarter are not sure and a quarter think they are not relevant.)
It is clear that there is a vibrant Irish development research community—in academia, civil society and development agencies. The Development Studies Association looks forwards to working with them.

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