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IRMSS Conference 2022 highlights evolutions in research due to COVID-19

Conference room

The ninth International Research Methods Summer School took place this week, making a welcome return after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 on academia was the focus, with a theme of Evolutions in Research in Unprecedented Times.

The two-day event, held on Thursday 19 May and Friday 20 May, was organised by colleagues from MIC’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education, the International Office and the Research and Graduate School. Sessions covered topics including identifying the outcomes of online learning, leadership in a pedological environment, children as active participants in research, educating during the pandemic, identifying deliverables in education, and collaboration and critical analysis. MIC and UL staff offered a workshop titled, ‘Skills for early career researchers,’ which generated much discussion amongst the PhD candidates in attendance. The popular ‘3-Minute Thesis’ competition also made a return this year with academics tasked with effectively explaining their research in just three minutes. Lucila Lima da Silva was the winner of the '3 Minute Thesis', with Katherine Oliva Ortolani second and Jessica Tondt third.

The conference also heard impactful addresses from key international speakers as they evaluated the challenges of continuing research during the pandemic and the new methods for research and learning that have been discovered as a result. Speaking to the theme of this year’s IRMSS was committee member Dr Tríona Waters: “The past two years have witnessed many countries around the world go into lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19. Brought about by the most tragic circumstances, the unprecedented, explosive growth of this virus has presented many challenges to researchers and educators alike to keep up with research knowledge within their domain. Consequently, this period of unusually reduced human mobility has resulted in the evolution of research methodologies.”

Director of International Engagement at MIC, Holly Cowman, noted: “This event enabled us all to explore how the international research community has used these extraordinary circumstances to apply new knowledge and practices. We had scholars from all over world in attendance and each session generated much discussion on the insights gained during this devastating crisis. This exploration of the innovative strategies that emerged in education and research will, we hope, now inform future research-based discovery endeavours.”

Speakers at the event include:

  • Professor John Allegrante - Charles Irwin Lambert Professor of Health Behaviour and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University and NY Fulbright Ambassador
  • Professor Kathy Hall - Professor of Education, College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, University College Cork
  • Professor Laura O’Dwyer - Professor of Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College
  • Dr Anne O’Keeffe - Senior Lecturer, Department of English Language & Literature, Mary Immaculate College

Dr Richard Butler, Director of Research at MIC, said, "I am delighted that Mary Immaculate College hosted the 9th International Research Methods Summer School this May. Congratulations to my colleagues in the International Office and my fellow IRMSS Committee members on bringing together leading scholars from around the world who shared their latest research and learned from each other across the two-day symposium. It was fantastic that after two years of Covid-19 restrictions we were able to welcome so many colleagues from the Americas to Limerick."