Fieldwork in the high Alps, Summer 2011
The Department is recognized as a leading centre for Geographical research in Ireland. Between 2002-2011, departmental staff, either as individuals or as part of wider research teams secured approximately €21 million in research and research-related grants, published 29 books, 122 journal articles, 105 book chapters and 72 commissioned reports. Staff continue to be very active in presenting at leading conferences, hosting conferences, research seminars, and workshops, collaborating in projects with other institutions in Ireland and beyond, and providing a resource of research expertise to a wide variety of voluntary, public and private organizations.
Research in the Department is structured around three thematic areas: Environmental and Climate Change, GIS and Remote Sensing, and Society and Space. In addition, the Department has a number of individual specialisms in the areas of geomorphology, landscape interpretation, and learning and teaching in Geography. Each thematic area is linked to ongoing work within the three related NUIM Research Institutes: the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units (ICARUS), the National Centre for Geocomputation (NCG), and the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), and the strategic planning which takes within these Institutes has provided collateral structure and shape to Departmental research activities.
The Environment and Climate Change group pivots around ICARUS. ICARUS was founded in 2000 and has grown to become the leading research centre for climate change research in Ireland. At present this Research Cluster is wholly embedded in the Geography Department. ICARUS personnel include Professor John Sweeney, Professor Brendan Gleeson Dr Rowan Fealy, Dr Conor Murphy, Dr Steve McCarron, Dr Ro Charlton, four post doctoral researchers, and one research assistant. Research is structured around a number of key strands (palaeoclimate analysis, climate analysis, regional climate modeling, greenhouse gas emission modeling, and social and economic analysis), and a number of cross-cutting thematic priority areas (adaptive capacity, impacts modeling/key impacts and vulnerabilities, social and economic impacts, and adaptation and mitigation).
The GIS/Remote Sensing Group grew around Professor Dennis Pringle’s pioneering work in introducing GIS into Ireland and Dr Paul Gibson’s establishment of an Environmental Geophysics Unit (EGU) in the Department. (EGU website.) Early collaboration led to the establishment of the HDip/MSc in GIS/Remote Sensing. Activity in this research area was strengthened with the appointments of Professor Rob Kitchin, Dr Ronan Foley and Dr Steve McCarron and the arrival of Professor Stewart Fotheringham, Martin Charlton and Dr Jan Rigby at NUIM with the establishment of the NCG in 2004. The NCG is administratively external to the Geography Department and is a resource for those interested in any aspect of the capture, storage, integration, management, retrieval, display, analysis, and modeling of spatial data. Departmental research in GIS/Remote Sensing has focused on substantive applications of GIS (especially in the areas of health, poverty, and public policy) and Remote Sensing (especially in the areas of geomorphological and geological mapping, archaeology, and environmental pollution). A new interest in critical GIS and critical spatial data sets is also emerging within the Department.
The Society and Space grouping consists of a looser collection of researchers interested in developing, theoretically, methodologically and substantively, the study of the reciprocal relationships which exist between social relations and spatial structures. Included in this group are Professors Mark Boyle, Patrick Duffy, Dennis Pringle, Jim Walsh, Rob Kitchin, Gerry Kearns, Brendan Gleeson and Drs, Proinnsias Breathnach, Ronan Foley, Mary Gilmartin, Adrian Kavanagh, Alistair Fraser, Sinéad Kelly, Chris Van Egeraat and Karen Till. Among the key research areas explored by this grouping are the social, political, economic, and cultural causes and consequences of the Celtic Tiger economy; society and nature interactions, including ecological impacts and vulnerabilities of cities and social, historical and cultural geography, including social and cultural geographies of colonialism and post colonialism and historical geographies of memory. This grouping benefits from its relationship with NIRSA whose remit is to undertake fundamental, applied and comparative research on spatial processes and their effects on social and economic development in Ireland. NIRSA was founded in 2001 under the leadership of the former Head of Geography, Professor James Walsh. It is now directed and co- directed by two permanent members of Geography (Professor Rob Kitchin and Professor Brendan Gleeson), and shares a number of administrative overlaps with the Department of Geography.