27/02/2007

Major Award to ARK boosts NI research resources

ARK (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive), a collaboration between the University of Ulster (UU) and Queens University Belfast (QUB), has been awarded £3 million from The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The £3 million is the largest ever grant award for funding work in the social sciences to the universities in Northern Ireland.

Established in 2000, ARK makes social science information on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience including researchers, policymakers, journalists, community and voluntary groups, schoolchildren and their teachers.

Well-known resources provided by ARK include CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) - the internationally recognised definitive website for information about the NI conflict; the annual Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey and Young Life and Times Survey which provide up-to-date information on the social attitudes of adults and 16 year olds in Northern Ireland, a comprehensive Elections website which is currently running a popular poll contest and SOL or Surveys Online which holds information on other important surveys in NI.

UU's Professor Gillian Robinson, Director of ARK said: "It is so important for public debate in a civil society that people understand the social and political issues and that they have full access to accurate, impartial and factual information. The ARK website and the services we offer are about providing this in a digestible way."

Professor Robert Miller, from QUB, and Deputy Director of ARK said: "Here in Northern Ireland key social surveys are carried out that carry messages of huge importance to us all. ARK�s aim is to convey these messages to the widest possible audience, including the general public and those in government."

Further information on ARK can be found at www.ark.ac.uk.

(JM/SP)

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