European Research Area Conference

A recent international conference held in Brussels discussed strengthening research and research policies in Europe. The Conference Programme  addressed issues such as the long term perspectives for research and researchers; developing world-class research infrastructures in Europe; improving funding conditions for European research institutions; research and innovation during the current crisis; priorities for EU research policies post 2010; S&T specialisation; indicators to monitor progress towards the European Research Area and a knowledge-based economy. The papers and presentations can be found here. The conclusions of the conference sessions can be found here.

12 replies on “European Research Area Conference”

Seeing as we are trying to create a knowledge economy, one would imagine that an official of the Dept of Trade and Enterprse attended this and that a number of officials will review all the papers and report to the Minister. Does anyone know if that is what happens?

Thanks Iulia,

I am reading a couple of the ‘conclusions’ written in blogs on the website you linked to. It is a very nicely put together website. Thanks.

I noticed in the newspaper today, some survey released, which looks at relative percentages of male to female in management positions in Ireland.

I really feel the Irish economy needs to raise its game a bit here and improve. While it is great to see a lot of younger politicians debating matters in the Dail chamber these days, it would be great if we had more female representation in matters to do with economics and so on.

I believe that females have to do a simple mathematical sum – where are the areas that will give them most return for effort spent – because it is so difficult for females to get close to management positions in the first place, that seems sensible enough. But we don’t half see the effects of that mental calculation in debates such as that about NAMA.

I.e. Getting involved in the NAMA debate involves quite a lot of research in a specific area. That effort may not overlap many other areas. Contrasted to Lisbon for instance, where public representatives had a whole variety pack of issues they could get stuck into, which would represent work and research which could be carried forward anyhow.

I was surprised by how vocal the female public representation was on Lisbon and suddenly they all disappeared when it came to NAMA, and we got left with all men instead.

This quote from instance:

The universities are the only stakeholders that have responsibilities in all of these perspectives and could therefore take the role as the natural host over the “smorgasbord” of interactive meeting arenas needed between stakeholders. These meeting arenas need to be dynamic and diverse in order to utilize the full power of the local stakeholders.

From here:

I don’t exactly know what goes on in universities – I am a non-academic myself, never had the right amount of ‘smarts’ – but why aren’t economic debates in universities made more inclusive? By that I mean, to draw in more male and females together, from all departments.

Is it the greek symbols or the mathematical equations that are so off putting?

I know they do put me off big time. But universities are one place where progress could and should start. As I said, I don’t know what goes on in universities myself, but there might be a way to manage time, that cross-departmental communication and research is set up, to allow more female dominated faculties get into areas such as economics.

@Brian O’Hanlon

I don’t quite follow your point about a more inclusive policy to allow females and males to be drawn together and the implication that women are not really that good at maths. The latter point might have been true 40 years ago, but Maths teaching has improved.

Here in UCD there are quite a few young Economics researchers, who are female and who know their maths and econometrics. At this year’s Irish Economic Association annual conference about 30% of the papers presented had a female as the first-named author.


tanx for that comment. I was hoping for a response such as that from the academic community. It now allows me to move on to the real bones of my argument. Having established now that females enjoy as much status in terms of work output and recognition within the faculty of economics in Ireland, what is the next stage?

I don’t know how we get to that next stage. Maybe it will come about in time. The stage I am referring to, is when female economists get air time. It is probably not too unfair to say, that females understand something about debate and discussion that men often do not. Something you say, might be interpreted in multiple ways.

Men on the other hand, are often gloriously unaware as to the multitude of ways in which they could be interpreted. Then say something and assume the whole world knows how to pick it up and run with. What you find with male economists who receive TV air time, radio, newspaper space and blogs – they all seem very sure about themselves. They make a simple statement and make it so it is audible.

This leads to a situation (it may be a limitation in the long run, I don’t know) where the couple of male economists who we read or watch, or listen to, have recognisable signatures on those various media. Before I switch on a TV program and watch Constantin Gurdgiev, I know what I am getting into. Similarly, with Colm McCarthy before he is interviewed by Pat Kenny or whoever, you have a fair idea.

I always look forward to Karl on Prime Time, as his facial expressions say much more always than anything else. That would not translate into print in a newspaper, or on radio.

Brian Lucey, in terms of the real stage, where an audience sits in a room and listens to an economists such as himself speak, is very enlightening. I haven’t heard Karl or Colm speak, so I don’t know.

I have seen a hardened ecological campaigner reduced to tears with the emotion of Constantin talk about polar bears and ice bergs. But that is a whole other story.

The point I am making I suppose, is that economics requires some degree of stage management and presentation. It is an area I hope to see more activity from female economists in, in the future. The stage is there to be taken by anyone I suppose.

I did have a chance to observe Frances Ruane on stage at the Dublin Innovation week recently. Peter Clinch was busy giving the input from the government end. Tom Boland did his bit that evening and spoke emotively about education. But Jim Barry of National Toll Roads absolutely wiped the floor with everyone. Awesome.

Having said that, Frances did make one of the best points of the whole evening and the whole discussion in relation to PHd programs in universities in Ireland. But it was mixed up in a lot of other stuff. This is what I mean about females being aware of the different interpretations of a statement. It doesn’t always make for the best stage performance.

I went on national radio on 4th August ’09 to say a few things. If you fast forward to approximately 1 hr 09 mins, the program has my interview with Philip Boucher-Hayes.

I found the medium of radio quite strange I must say. It is not what you would expect. I made me realise a lot, of how challenging the work of live media is. The presenters who are used to it make it look easy, but it is not. I got all twisted and turned upside down, while trying to negotiate a few basic sentences. I is weird listening to yourself too. I’ll bet the pros must do a lot of training and get a lot of practice.

I’ll bet broadcasting is like a lot of things. You start off real small, doing trivial stuff and learn your trade. Most of us dive into it later on, as ‘experts’ and kind of trip over ourselves. But I can live with that. Are females more horrified by the propect of a trip-up on national media?


Thanks for suggesting the discussion on the information society at UC Berkeley. I found this interesting. In particular the points about interdisciplinary research in the context of the service economy are relevant and impotant for Ireland as well.


I believe Saxenian visited Ireland for some event at DIT, I read on their website not too long ago. Her book comparing Route 128 in Boston with Silicon Valley is a must read. Her papers are all available at her web site too.

I hope to take a sabbatical from the economics now, and focus on some other wonderful stuff for a while. But I wanted to bombard you economics folk with as much stuff as I could think of, in a short burst. I know people here will dig into it and find it useful at some stage.


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