AIRO is based within NIRSA at NUI Maynooth and manages all spatial analysis projects within the institution. NIRSA, established in 2001 and centered in NUI Maynooth, is a collaborative partnership of scholars from a number of social science disciplines located in four partner institutions: NUI Maynooth, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Institute of Technology Sligo and Queen’s University Belfast. The role of the institute is to undertake fundamental, applied and comparative research on spatial processes and their effects on social and economic development in Ireland, and to provide high quality graduate education to the next generation of Irish social scientists. To date over 300 researchers have been affiliated to NIRSA and over 150 of them have received competitive funding from the institute. Over 200 projects have received external funding since 2001, totaling over €55 million.
The institute is home to two ERC funded projects – the ‘New Deals in the New Economy‘ led by Professor Sean O’Riain and the ‘Programmable City‘ led by Professor Rob Kitchin. It has also established two significant research resources; the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) that undertakes academic and applied mapping research and produces spatial datasets and specialist tools to assist in their analysis; and the Irish Qualitative Data Archive (IQDA), which archives social science data in media other than machine readable datasets. NIRSA is also a founding partner of the all Ireland International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) and serves as Ireland’s contact point for the EU ESPON planning network.
The International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) is a North-South-US partnership programme created to explore and expand the contribution that planning and the development of physical, social and economic infrastructures can make to improving the lives of people in both Irish jurisdictions – particularly those in divided and disadvantaged areas – and thus to peace-building and reconciliation on the island. AIRO acts as the primary mapping and data analysis team for all ICLRD projects.
The ICLRD provides independent research, planning analysis and a range of international experience to assist policy makers, practitioners, local officials and community groups in promoting good local and regional planning as part of the process of conflict resolution and in achieving greater social and economic cohesion.
Provides independent, joined-up research, thinking and policy advice on cross-border and all-island spatial planning issues (economic development, transport, housing, environment, service provision, etc);
Offers capacity building programmes for communities, local, regional and national government actors;
Acts as a catalyst and conduit to bring relevant actors, North and South, together to work on common goals; and promotes international co-operation and exchanges
The National Centre for Geocomputation (NCG) was founded at the National University of Ireland Maynooth in 2004 through funding provided by Science Foundation Ireland. Since then, the NCG has become firmly established as a leading international research centre in the field of Geocomputation, with over thirty researchers, and is a major intellectual centre committed to extending understanding and utilisation of the capture, analysis and modelling of spatial data.