EPA H2020 SC5 Info Day: What are the Key Research, Development & Innovation Gaps for Water – 2018-2020? Dr. Brendan Flynn, NUI Galway
What are the Key
Research, Development &
Innovation Gaps for Water
Dr. Brendan Flynn
School of Sociology and Politics,
How social sciences can complement natural sciences?
How social sciences can inform public perception, debate and decision-makers?
Many of the major water problems are social.....
RESEARCH ON SUSTAINABLE WATER CONSUMPTION/PRACTICES
(increasing consumption, shifting consumption practices..what scope is there
really for water conservation practices at many social levels (not just households)....
RESEARCH ON SOCIAL ATTITUDES/PREFERENCES/WILLINGNESS TO PAY
Irish social perceptions that water should be free/is not a scarce public good....the
Irish debate on water is heated....but can we generate more light than heat..might
there be consensus (social attitudes and preferences on water
management)...Perceptions of fairness, equity and solidarity turn out to be vital
Perceptions are also vital regarding flooding, water and climate change interactions
RESEARCH ON (integrated) WATER GOVERNANCE & IMPLEMENTATION
The Irish institutional structure for water management, delivery and control is
evolving but remains weak, fragmented under funded and politicised......future of
Irish water uncertain....we need research on what institutional structures and
practices tend to work....this is vital given looming WFD implementation deadlines
MOVING BEYOND ON An IRISH ONLY GAZE-COMPARATIVE RESEARCH
We need more comparative research which situates and enlightens the Irish
challenges on water with best practices elsewhere....are we learning the right
lessons from other jurisdictions....?
Biography Dr. Brendan Flynn
Brendan Flynn has been a lecturer within the School of Political Science & Sociology, NUIG, since 1998. He has
studied at the University of Essex for his Masters and PhD degrees, the latter on: "Subsidiarity and the Evolution
of EU environmental policy". His teaching and research interests are focused on environmental and marine policy
and politics. His most recent major research project has been the Irish Fishers' Knowledge Project (2008-2013).
He is the author of "The Blame Game: Rethinking Ireland's Sustainable Development and Environmental
Performance" (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007) and a co-author of "Environmental Governance in Europe: An
Ever Closer Ecological Union?” (Oxford: OUP, 2000). Recent publications by him related to marine planning,
offshore renewables policy and law include:
 Flynn, Brendan (2015) ‘Ecological modernisation of a Cinderella renewable? The emerging politics of global
ocean energy’, Environmental Politics, 24:2, 249-269;
 Flynn, B. (2015) 'Planning for Irish Offshore Renewables: Are We Moving in the Right Direction with the
Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill?'. Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal, 22 (3):100-108.
 Flynn, B. (2016) ‘The North Sea Offshore Grid Initiative: strengthening offshore wind and marine regions, or a
sustainability transition too far?‘ In submission/pending.