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SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

In October 2019, the Financial Service Union made the call for the right for workers to disconnect as part the of launch of a major University of Limerick report into the future of work and skills. The Financial Services Union (FSU) has marked World Mental Health Day by launching a call for legislation on the “right to disconnect.” The union insists that workers should not be obliged to answer calls or reply to emails or engage in any work-related activity outside of paid working hours. The call comes out of a major report called “Technology, Work and Skills: The Impact of Technology on Employees” by University of Limerick, which was commissioned by the FSU. Head of Industrial Relations and Campaigns with the FSU, Gareth Murphy said: “There is a mental health endemic sweeping the world of work- and work-related stress is a key driver of this. One element of work-related stress is out of hours work and the ‘always on’ culture of many workplaces. ““The report by University of Limerick calls for measures to be put in place which prevent the overuse of technology. We are calling on the Minister to introduce legislation on the right to disconnect, which would compel employers not to abuse contractual working hours by overuse of technology.”

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The 2019 Spring Series of Research Seminars at the Kemmy Business School took place with a presentation entitled ‘Paradoxes and Partnerships - Knowledge Sharing and Learning in International Development Programmes’ by Dr John Lannon of the Human Rights & Development Practice Cluster. This seminar discussed the paradoxes inherent in international development (ID) programmes and outlined how they shape knowledge sharing and learning. It draws on research undertaken with an international NGO in three African countries, Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. By analysing interrelated paradoxes of learning, performing, belonging, and organizing, the study found that international and local non-governmental organisations are constrained at a macro-level by fundamental organising paradoxes that are inherent the way the development sector is structured.

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BNest, the first dedicated Social Enterprise Incubator, was launched as an initiative created specifically to support social entrepreneurs nurture their start-ups and caters to all types of organisations from charities to businesses with a social conscience. BNest has been given a home by University of Limerick, where participants have access to the full facilities of the Nexus Innovation Centre. The venture is being philanthropically funded for three years at a cost of about €20,000 per programme, while participation is free for the enterprises selected. Last year, nine enterprises completed the programme, and there are another eight enterprises taking part in the current programme.” At the BNest Showcase 2019, the graduates showcased their enterprises which are achieving real social impact across the Midwest, dealing with various issues from mental health to the environment.

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Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) Brainstorm is a new multi-platform space where the Irish academic and research community can contribute to public debate and comment on issues affecting wider society, offering fresh ideas and perspectives through the state broadcaster RTE. University of Limerick is a foundation partner of RTE Brainstorm and UL’s Marketing and Communications division has been working closely with RTE and the other Brainstorm partners to create a national platform that can bring the academic and research community to a large national and potentially, international audience. UL academics can contribute to popular discourse on radio, TV, digital and print. What distinguishes Brainstorm is the joined-up nature of the initiative – the national broadcaster and seven institutions working together on something designed to give a direct opportunity to any academic with an interest in participating in and contributing to the public sphere. The RTE dimension brings exceptional scale, expertise and a network of multiple opportunities on TV, radio, podcasts, and the largest digital presence in Irish media.

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