Researchers and experts from four of the island's leading universities met in Galway last week to discuss a raft of exciting new research focused on guiding transformation in the ‘North West Atlantic Corridor’ of Ireland, running all the way from Derry to Limerick.

The ‘Atlantic Futures’ project is a cross-border initiative that combines the research capabilities of University of Galway, Ulster University, University of Limerick and Atlantic Technological University - who have been jointly tasked with exploring and understanding the challenges to progress in the west of the island.

Researchers from all four universities joined with leaders from industry and society at the recent ‘Connecting For Impact’ event, to discuss how their research could help unlock the full potential of the region in the years to come.

Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President of Innovation & Research, University of Galway said

We want Atlantic Futures to be recognised internationally for understanding what drives economic, social and cultural aspects of life here, on the edge of Europe.

We are examining a wide range of critical areas including female entrepreneurship, business scaling, rural business challenges, mental health support for young people and freight connectivity. The insights it uncovers will be invaluable in helping shape the future of not only this region, but others like it across Europe and beyond.

Atlantic Futures aims to become a new all-island resource providing insight to future decision and policy makers, both north and south of the border, on salient issues deemed critical to progress in towns, cities and areas right across the region.  The project is being funded by the Higher Education Authority as part of the Irish government’s North South Research Programme, who have pledged €4 million to the endeavour.

Dr Louise Callinan, Head of Research and Research Policy at the Higher Education Authority commented

The objective of the North South Research Programme is to deepen the links between higher education institutions, researchers, and research communities on the island delivering sustainable all island approaches to research and innovation. The Atlantic Futures project leverages the complementary research strengths of the partner institutions within the North West corridor of the island, harnessing the social capital of the region to address shared challenges and drive transformation.

The ambitious new project is also a true cross-border one, bringing together academic heavyweights on both sides of the border to understand and address challenges across the entire region as a whole.

Professor Malachy Ó Néill, Director of Regional Engagement, Ulster University explained

Atlantic Futures is a key enabler in the burgeoning research ecology within the Atlantic Innovation Corridor. The energy and expertise of all the partners, including Ulster University, across several new research streams, that combines both community and industry collaboration, provides a unique platform for transformation and advancement in a number of areas of mutual importance to towns and areas all across the North and West of Ireland.

Atlantic Futures have released a new video which outlines the vision for the project and what it aims to achieve over the next four years.

For more information on the project follow @AtlanticFutures on X and Twitter.