Socio-Economics and Policy

Cross-Thematic Activity Team Leader: Dr. Henrike Rau

The critical investigation of political processes and socio-economic and cultural levers for sustainability is now a key research and policy focus both in Ireland and internationally. This cross-thematic area brings together researchers from the social sciences who share an interest in sustainability questions. Key areas of expertise among its members include the theorisation and measurement of environmental knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, theoretical and empirical work on the socio-cultural, political and economic causes of (over)consumption and its impacts on society and the environment, research on the sustainability of rural systems, studies of marine and coastal environments and conceptual and empirical work on resource conflicts and contested concepts and indicators of development and sustainability. Current empirical research draws on a wide range of tools for data collection and analysis, including publicly available large-scale data sets for modelling and scenario-building, surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups, ethnographic fieldwork, participatory and action research and visioning and backcasting workshops.

Current projects involving social scientists from NUI, Galway include a four-year EPA Ireland-funded collaborative project between Trinity College Dublin and NUI, Galway on consumption, environment and sustainability (, contributions by geographers from NUIG to the Atlantic Network for Coastal Risk Management (ANCORIM), The Fishers’ Knowledge Project and many other small- and medium-scale projects on topics such as food, transport, energy, biodiversity, local environmental knowledge and expertise and environmental education. The Socio Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) within the Ryan Institute was formed to contribute to the Irish marine socio-economic research agenda and to strengthen marine research in general by complementing natural science projects with socio-economic contributions.

Sustainability, Knowledge & Everyday Practices

Dr. Ricca Edmondson
Political Science and Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 3077; Email:
Dr. Frances Fahy, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Frances Fahy
Tel: (091) 49 2315; Email:
  Dr. Jessica Pape
Tel: (091) 49 4117; Email:
Dr. Henrike Rau
Political Science and Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 5104; Email:

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Henrike Rau on our Itunes podcast channel:

Ryan Institute Podcast Channel

Sustainable Rural Systems

Prof. Chris Curtain
Political Science and Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 2355; Email:
Dr. Maura Farrell
Tel: (091) 49 4118; Email:
Dr. Valerie Ledwith
Tel: (091) 49 2372; Email:
Dr. Marie Mahon
Tel: (091) 49 2376; Email:
Dr. John McDonagh
Tel: (091) 49 2569; Email:
  Dr. Brian McGrath
Political Science and Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 3405; Email:
Prof. Micheál Ó Cinnéide
Tel: (091) 49 2314; Email:
Dr. Tony Varley
Political Science and Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 2580; Email:

Marine & Coastal Environments

Dr. Brendan Flynn
Political Science & Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 3160; Email:
Dr. Kieran Hickey, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Kieran Hickey
Tel: (091) 49 2128; Email:
Dr. Stephen Hynes
Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU)
Tel: (091) 49 3105; Email:
Dr. Kevin Lynch
Tel: (091) 49 5779; Email:
Dr. Aaron Potito
Tel: (091) 49 3936; Email:
Dr. Thomas van Rensburg
Tel: (091) 49 3858; Email:

Governance, Development & Contestation

Dr. Ronan Kennedy, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Rónán Kennedy
Tel: (091) 49 5625; Email:
  Dr. Su-Ming Khoo
Political Science and Sociology
Tel: (091) 49 3643; Email:
Prof. Kevin Leyden
Business & Economics
Tel: (091) 49 2848; Email:
Dr. John Morrissey
Tel: (091) 49 2267; Email:
Maureen O’Sullivan
Tel: (091) 49 5627; Email:
Dr. Kathy Reilly
Tel: (091) 49 4105; Email:
  Dr. Anna Stanley
Tel: (091) 49 3897; Email:
  Prof. Ulf Strohmayer
Tel: (091) 49 2373; Email:
Dr. Amaya Vega
Tel: (091) 49 2897; Email:
  Dr. John Walsh
Roinn na Gaeilge
Tel: (091) 49 2563; Email: