Creating our Future – A national conversation on research in Ireland

In the autumn of 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Ireland were invited to consider how research can contribute to the creation of a better future for themselves and their communities. 

As an all of Government endeavour, the aim was to create an opportunity for the people of Ireland to have their say and contribute to the future direction of Irish research and innovation.

Good ideas and curiosity

Recognising that good ideas and curiosity are the starting point for most research, Creating Our Future was introduced so that idea generation could be democratised. 

The underlying belief is that anyone, anywhere can have a good idea. The campaign was an opportunity to stimulate discussion and debate on what is important to people and communities, to invite researchers to take part in those discussions with the public and together, to curate new ideas that could inspire future research.

Inclusive dialogue was a fundamental tenet across all aspects of the campaign. The campaign was designed to create a space for those that would not, in usual circumstances, have an opportunity to engage, to come together, to share their perspectives and out of those conversations submit ideas that researchers should explore. 

Researchers met with the public on the streets of Ireland, at coffee mornings, at business events and overseas through Ireland’s Embassy network, to talk about their work.

Every county visited

The Creating Our Future Roadshow visited every county in Ireland at least once from September to November. Despite the limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic, over 1,500 online and in-person brainstorms and events were held to gather ideas. The public engaged with Creating our Future with great enthusiasm and interest with over 18,000 submissions received between July and November 2021.

A committee of experts examined every idea and studied what the people of Ireland had to say. Great care was taken to ensure that no bias would be introduced. The analysis and synthesis of the ideas have been captured in 16 themes and summarised in five areas the public would like researchers to explore to create a better future.

The findings of this unique, national brainstorm have been published
and are available at www.creatingourfuture.ie. An interrogable database containing all the ideas submitted may be downloaded from the website.