Improving the health and well-being of the population is core to ESHI’s mission through informing robust policy development. This research cluster seeks to inform and shape health policy and serve as a critical interface in linking scientific, technical & research knowledge with action to improve population health & health services. 

The policy research cluster addresses national policy objectives through research to ensure that programme and funding decisions are based on robust evidence about the determinants of health and best practice approaches via integrated interdisciplinary research. It addresses the interactions of key environmental and health issues that impact population well-being by undertaking user-focused, goal-oriented research with national and industry relevance. Thus, informing policy design and translation and developing capacity for implementing policy; delivering science to policy.

View further information: Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland


Ireland is required under EU legislation to monitor air quality in large urban areas to ensure that the health of the population is not put at risk. The air quality and climate change unit in EHSI has expertise on a wide range of air pollution intervention studies, and on exposures to environmental tobacco smoke. It has a well-established track record in research, key publications, and research funding from Irish, EU, and US funding agencies.

On March 29, 2004, the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to implement a national workplace smoking ban. A study lead by Professor Patrick Goodman aimed to assess the effect of this policy on all-cause and cause-specific, non-trauma mortality. A recent scientific study shows that a total of 3,726 smoking-related deaths have been prevented in Ireland, since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban (March 2004).

View research report: Effect of Air Pollution Control on Mortality and Hospital Admissions in Ireland
Researcher(s): Professor Patrick Goodman

The research challenge is to leverage environmental gains through appropriate governance and policy approaches which recognise the importance of preserving the balance of nature and acknowledge the inevitability of limits to growth. This EPA funded research tackles the problem taking into account a society dominated by a neo-liberal philosophy which places greater emphasis on extrinsic values.

It also considers the behavioural dynamics that push positive attitudes toward sustainability but which exhibit mostly unsustainable consumption patterns. The challenge is important and this project seeks to resolve and contextualise the dynamics of governance and sustainable policy on the one hand, and the description of a system of consumption, consumers and consumer-citizen behaviour on the other.

View research report: [link]
Researcher(s): Dr Vivienne Byers and Dr Alan Gilmer