Economics has identified the following areas as its priority research areas:
1. Health Economics
The Discipline has extensive expertise in the area of health economics. The Health Economics and Policy Analysis (HEPA) group, located within the Discipline, specialises in the application of economic methods to explore issues relating to health and health care. HEPA expertise includes Health Technology Assessment, Applied Health Econometrics, and Health Policy Evaluation and members of the group have applied these techniques to a range of issues including: ageing, dementia, disability, mental health, chronic disease, cancer, and obesity. The Discipline established the first Chair in Health Technology Assessment in Ireland in 2007 and this is a research area of growing importance within the Discipline, the University and at national policy level. The Discipline has considerable expertise in the application of microeconometric techniques to health and related issues. The Discipline also has established expertise in the economics of ageing which was recognized by the establishment of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) in 2005.
2. Sustainability, Rural Development, and Environmental Modelling
Several individuals in the Discipline have been at the forefront of research on environmental economics and rural development in Ireland and Europe for many years. The objective has been and remains to develop innovative theoretical and applied research work in the field of environmental sustainability and to work towards the improvement of rural life and civic society more generally. Research groups within this area include the Socioeconomic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU). Topics researched include ecological services valuation, marine resources modelling and management, agricultural modelling, conservation of biodiversity, and governance and social capital. Funding sources include the Department of Agriculture (Stimulus Fund), the Marine Institute (Beaufort Scheme), PRTLI and a number of EU framework projects.
3. International Finance and Macroeconomics
The Discipline is rapidly building expertise in the areas of international finance and macroeconomics. This growth is reflected in both the increased output of internationally recognised research and the growing number of PhD students in these areas. In 2007, the Discipline successfully launched a new postgraduate degree in International Finance - the only programme of its kind in Ireland. The Discipline has also been involved in the B.Sc. in Financial Mathematics and Economics since its inception. By continuing to build its reputation for high-quality research on macroeconomic policy, the Discipline is positioning itself to compete strongly for national and international research funding in this area. The Discipline’s activities also allow it to contribute significantly to the financial services industry, which has been identified by the Irish government as one of the key avenues for the delivery of high value-added jobs and a crucial sector in the further development of Ireland's knowledge-based economy.
4. Mathematical Economics, Methodology of Economics and Political Economy
The Discipline has a very active research group in this area whose work has been published in leading international journals as well as in monographs and books. In particular, the Discipline has internationally recognized experts in the fields of non-linear dynamical systems, philosophy and methodology of economics, social choice theory, and political economy. Their work complements the work of their colleagues in the other priority research areas. The Discipline has a considerable number of PhD students working on research topics in political economy, social choice theory, and methodology of economics whose research has been funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.