Pictured at the UCD Sutherland School of Law is Professor Eoin Carolan, a constitutional law expert, who has been awarded a €2 million ERC Consolidator Grant for a global study to examine how the separation of powers are under strain.

Associate Professor Eoin Carolan has been awarded €2 million in funding from the European Research Council (ERC), to pursue a global study to examine the manner in which separation of powers systems are being affected by current social and political trends.

The research, ‘The Foundations of Institutional AuThority’ (FIAT), will examine how constitutions work when voters distrust their governments and how systems can change to address the issue.

Carolan’s project is among six Irish research projects to receive funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The ERC ‘consolidator’ research awards are worth a total of €573 million and have been granted to 291 awardees across 20 countries.

ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with seven to 12 years of postdoctoral experience and a strong track record in their field. The funding, which averages at €2 million per grant, is provided for up to five years and covers the employment of researchers and other staff.

The funding will provide for the establishment of 9 new research positions at UCD.

Professor Eoin Carolan, who is also Director of UCD’s Centre for Constitutional Studies, said, “I am really delighted and grateful to receive this ERC Consolidator Grant. I have always been interested in the separation of powers so it’s very exciting to have the opportunity and funding to undertake a major multi-disciplinary project in this area”.

”The funding will also enable me to build a team of talented post-docs and PhD students from law, politics and sociology who can carry out some really cutting-edge research on what are very important social and political issues.”

He concluded “by investigating what is happening on the ground in different countries, the project will show how constitutional systems are responding to the problems of public dissatisfaction and distrust, in other words, what works and what doesn’t. This knowledge is critical for the future of constitutionalism.”

Professor Imelda Maher, Head of the Sutherland School of Law and Dean of Law welcomed the announcement, saying “this is wonderful news for Eoin and the School is delighted to welcome a second ERC grant. The project is transformative of the understanding of the exercise of power at a time when the rule of law is under strain in many jurisdictions.”

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact congratulated Professor Carolan on receiving a “prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant”.

“His success in this highly competitive, and Europe wide funding call, is indicative of the quality of the world class research being carried out at the UCD Sutherland School of Law.

The announcement comes less than two months since UCD’s Sutherland School of Law was ranked 47th in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject, the only Irish university to have a law school ranked in the top 100.