Water Institute members success at EPA Research Call

Left to right:

James Carton, David O’Connor,

Susan Hegarty, Fiona Regan,

Danny Marks, Darren Clarke

Dr. Danny Marks and Dr. Darren Clarke are breaking new ground with a research project analysing climate policy. With backing from the prestigious Environmental Protection Agency funding call, the project will examine potential barriers to climate adaptation progress in Ireland.

Marks and Clarke, from Dublin City University Business School and the School of History and Geography respectively, are working on an innovative project examining Ireland’s climate adaptation policy from a new angle.

The project, which begins next month, will use political economy analysis to examine the barriers that impede adaptation policy. It will make a specific focus on those sectors exposed to water-related risks, and identify opportunities for policy reform and implementation. This is a novel approach to the subject.

Vice President for Research John Doyle said

“This study’s political economy focus has the potential to provide crucial new insights into one of Irish society’s most pressing challenges. DCU is once again meeting the need for research addressing climate change issues, a need identified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual funding award.”

Professor Danny Marks said

“To our knowledge, no systematic research studies have been conducted which assesses adaptation barriers across multiple sectors in Ireland. Our research, therefore, will address this gap and add significant and essential knowledge to adaptation expertise nationally.”

Ireland’s climate is changing in line with international trends of higher temperatures, increased rainfall, rising sea levels and increased ocean warming and acidification. However, adaptation as a policy issue is a relatively recent strategy in Ireland.

“The current pace of adaptation planning and delivery is not progressing at the same rate at which climate change is currently impacting and will continue to impact Ireland, nor is it aligned to commitments laid out in national adaptation policy.” Marks continued.

The grant is worth €95,000 spread over the next twelve months. Marks and Clarke have hired a postdoctoral researcher to assist with the project.

Dr James Carton, Dr David O’Connor, Prof. Fiona Regan and Dr Susan Hegarty (clockwise from top left) also received funding. Pics: Kyran O’Brien

There are three other funded DCU projects already under way. Dr David O’Connor has received funding to examine the impact, sources and quantity of substances that are persistent, mobile and toxic, as well as those which are very toxic and more mobile, on water quality in Ireland. The project seeks to engage industry to address risk, as well as members of the public to gather samples.

Dr Fiona Regan and Prof Susan Hegarty are also undertaking a multi-disciplinary project looking into water quality in Ireland. Their project focuses on PFAs, sometimes referred to as forever chemicals, and also includes a citizen science element in asking members of the public to collect tap water samples.

DCU Assistant Professor in Sustainable Energy James Carton has been awarded funding for a project examining the Irish transport sector’s transition to renewable technologies. Specifically, the project seeks to critically analyse hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels in the transport sector. Carton’s team has previously undertaken an industrial survey into the use of hydrogen in Irish haulage.

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