Secondment host profile: Pobal

Posted: 11 May, 2023

Pobal logo

DOROTHY COFUND fellows are encouraged to undertake a non-academic secondment as part of their fellowship. Fellows are free to arrange secondments with any relevant organisation, in discussion with their supervisor. However, many organisations within Ireland have indicated an interest in acting as hosts. We will profile some of the potential secondment hosts here on the site, to help you learn more about some of the potential opportunities available. 

In this feature, we hear from Dr. Martin Quigley, Director of Data and Analytics at Pobal.

  • How would you describe Pobal’s work and remit to someone unfamiliar with your work?

Pobal works on behalf of Government to support communities and local agencies.

The role of Pobal is to provide management and support services to 41 programmes, schemes and services in the areas of Social Inclusion and Equality, Inclusive Employment and Enterprise, and Early Years and Young People. We administer these programmes on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development; the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; the Department of  Social Protection; Department of Health/HSE; the Department of Justice; the Department of Department of Environment, Climate and Communications; the Department of Transport; and a number of EU bodies. We allocated circa €901 million in 2022.

We work in the areas of social inclusion, early childhood care and education, community development, peace and reconciliation, equality, labour market supports, and education and training.

Some of the groups supported by Government through Pobal include the long term unemployed, young people, farmers / fishermen, families, Travellers, older people and ex-prisoners. We have formed alliances nationally and internationally including close working relationships with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

Our work ranges from programme design to implementation support to financial administration and governance of funding allocations. We promote quality enhancement amongst local community based groups, develop programme and system management tools and work to ensure funded projects work within agreed guidelines.

We also provide good practice case studies, evaluations, and demographic information that support Government Departments in making policy decisions. Tools such as Pobal Maps and the Pobal HP Deprivation Index are made freely available to allow policy makers and communities respond to needs identified by these sets of tools.

  • Can you describe some of your current ongoing projects?

We currently have an active research framework with Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Some of our recent projects include:

  • If a DOROTHY fellow were to undertake a secondment with you, are you able to give a sense of projects they may be working on? 

By virtue of scheme administration, Pobal manages and curates significant data on behalf of Government Departments. The value of this data is not always realised due to the sometimes intensive nature of data exploration, data mining, data cleaning and data analysis necessary to answer programme or policy questions. There is always opportunity for further realising the value of this data though the identification or relevant, real world questions and the execution of bespoke research projects aimed to answer such questions.

There are opportunities for such research projects across all Pobal’s thematic areas of Social Inclusion, Inclusive Employment and Early Learning and Care. Opportunities would span across social scientific qualitative research projects to highly technical data analytical and data science (ie predictive analytics) projects.

  • How would a DOROTHY COFUND researcher working with Pobal benefit both Pobal and the fellow?

Pobal’s strategic plan sets out an ambition for Pobal to further its role in supporting the Irish Government through the generation of evidence and insights to inform and improve policy. The type of research secondment which might be achieved through collaboration with a DOROTHY research fellow would be of benefit to Pobal in this regard, but also potential of practical benefit to the communities and individuals targeted by the programmes and schemes managed by Pobal.

  • What is most interesting about working with Pobal? 

Pobal is privileged to have responsibility for some of Ireland’s most important data assets in relation to Social Inclusion and Early Years. The opportunities for leveraging these datasets for the generation of management information and evidence to inform policy are hugely exciting. Moreover, given Pobal’s close working relationship with many Government Departments, there are also well developed channels for Pobal’s insights to feed into and inform future policy and programme design.

If you are interested in including a secondment with Pobal as part of your DOROTHY COFUND fellowship, you may want to begin discussion with Drinkaware, along with your main supervisor. Remember that successful fellows can also negotiate a secondment once their fellowship has begun.

Learn more about Pobal here.

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set these optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.