The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is this week calling on the public to make their views known on their research priorities in the areas of climate change, water and sustainable environment.

According to Dara Lynott, deputy director general of the EPA: “EPA-funded research has provided integrated solutions for many of the complex environmental challenges facing Ireland in the areas of water, climate change and environmental sustainability. I would encourage people to get involved in this consultation process and help shape the future of environmental research funded by the EPA.”

More than 490 research projects that have a value of over €68m have been supported by the EPA since 2007. It said it are now developing a new research programme to enhance environmental protection.

According to the EPA, it has been providing essential support for the formulation and implementation of environmental policies and decision-making since 1993. The agency believe it has played a vital role in ensuring that EU and national environmental policies are implemented in the most cost-effective manner and in developing novel solutions to protect Ireland’s environment.

It said in particular since 2001 its programmes have contributed to meeting and addressing Ireland’s international environmental obligations at EU and UN levels and in supporting national policy development and implementation.

The new aspects to the proposed research programme include:
1. Funding for ‘blue-skies’ research aimed at environmental issues
2. Piloting of innovations in the area of citizen-centric public services
3. Inclusion of natural resources/raw materials as a topic area
4. Innovative use of social networks to influence the behaviours needed to enable Ireland to become a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy and society
5. Increased use of innovative dissemination techniques
6. Greater use of co-funding with national and international partners on shared research priorities.

The EPA also said it is consulting with government departments and other agencies and organisations with an environmental protection function to obtain their views on key priorities for future research.

The draft EPA Research Strategic Plan is available on the EPA website. Those wishing to make suggestions on the draft strategy are encouraged to do so by visiting the EPA’s website and completing a short survey here.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 7 December 2013.