The Planning and Sustainability Research Cluster unites interests that attach to the analysis, improvement and pedagogical transformation of problems arising within the context of an increasingly globalised world. Research is conducted at a host of scales and involves a wide range of actors and social structures and shares a focus on the transformative power of alternative visions. These latter may emerge in the context of resistance movements, urban and regional planning practices or in the formation of sustainable policies and lifestyles; as a result, analyses require a diverse range of methodological approaches. At the same time, thematic and theoretical work in the group remain anchored in a shared belief in the need to critically interrogate policies and representations that contribute to the persistence of non-sustainable social practices.


The ENERGISE consortium recently held its first face-to-face meeting in Maastricht, where a representative of the European Commission was also present. Project lead Dr. Frances Fahy, NUI Galway, was enthusiastic about the outcome of the meeting, “already at this early stage, we have made great strides towards our objective of achieving a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on household energy consumption. We have a dedicated team in place, consisting of some of Europe’s most respected social scientists. Our innovative research approach is quickly gaining recognition across Europe and elsewhere, and we hope to build on our strong networks in academia, business and civil society to make a significant contribution to research and the EU Energy Union.”
For more information on the ENERGISE project, visit

On the 24th February, Dr Frances Fahy presented an overview of the ENERGISE project at the Shape Energy EU workshop in Kings College in Cambridge. 

On the 22nd February, Dr Liam Carr gave a talk titled: “Measuring challenges to salmon farming: the Irish stakeholder consensus approach” as part of the Whitaker Ideas Forum. This talk was about how Irish salmon farms face environmental and socioeconomic challenges. This research examines stakeholder consensus and conflict to identify how development, innovation and policy reform for salmon aquaculture might best be pursued.

On the 21st February,Dr Brendan Flynn met with the MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments class to discuss the topic examine "Politics loves plans" and examine wind energy in Europe.

On the 16th February, Dr Liam Carr delivered a seminar titled “Seeking Second Insights to Transform Salmon Fishing in Ireland” to the Planning School at Queen’s University Belfast. This seminar focused on the environmental challenges of salmon farming in Ireland.

On the 10th February, Dr Liam Carr gave a public lecture in Galway Town Hall Theatre titled “Fishing for Consensus on Ireland’s Salmon Farms”. This talk discussed how stakeholders can share knowledge to transform salmon management and conservation in Ireland.

On the 3rd of February, Dr Frances Fahy the ENERGISE project lead presented at the launch of the H2020 ENERGISE project in Maastricht. With ten European partners, the ENERGISE project is one that comprehensively covers the full spectrum of energy consumption in the European Union, investigating the factors driving individual and collective energy choices and practices.

Plan & Sus: E. Heaslip, town hall lecture 2017

On the 26th January, Dr Eimear Heaslip gave a public lecture in Galway Town Hall Theatre titled “Low Carnon Energy Communities in Irish Islands: A Transdisciplinary Approach”. This talk discussed how place and social networks influence energy knowledge and energy practices through a case study of Inis Oírr Island.

On the 11th January, Dr Trisia Farrelly held a forum titled “The Transdisciplinary Plastic Waste Project” about planning interdisciplinary plastic waste research for an international project. This forum included participants from both academia and industry and generated some fresh ideas on plastics research and how best to manage waste.


On the 7th December, Dr Frances Fahy delivered a talk on Collaborative Partnerships for Sustainability to Donegal Council as part of the LADDER (Local Authorities as Drivers for Development, Education and Raising Awareness) initiative.

On the 11th November, Dr Eimear Heaslip gave a presentation as part of the UCD School of Architecture Lunchtime Lecture Series. Her talk was titled “Community Low Carbon Energy Transitions in Irish Islands: A Transdisciplinary Approach”. This talk discussed transdisciplinary methodological approaches to community energy planning.