The 2015 Research Quality Review undertaken at University College Cork in 2015 praised the ‘strong and vibrant research culture’ in the Department of French. This research culture is evident in the quality of the Department’s research publications, its postgraduate culture and its engagement with the wider public. The Department of French is proudly multidisciplinary and this, as stated in the report, is evidenced in its ‘enthusiastic response to new interdisciplinary opportunities’.
The report noted that the Department of French is ‘an ideal place for interdisciplinary collaboration’ and that this was reflected in its ‘wide range of outputs during the review period, reflective of its breadth of research interests, within and beyond French studies’. Indeed, the report noted that the evaluator ‘was impressed both by the level of research activity in the Department and its quality’. This activity involves dissemination of research and the report registered the impressive ‘range of activities, evidence of an active and lively departmental research culture. For example, the Department held: 31 seminars as part of its seminar series, hosting many prominent external speakers; public lectures/events; major international conferences. Additionally, many conference papers were delivered by members of the department at international conferences’. The Department is also committed to working with colleagues across the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and has been active in the Research Clusters that form the core of the School’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Languages and Literatures (CASiLaC). The report drew attention to the involvement of members of the Department in CASiLaC and in international research clusters noting that they are ‘playing an important role in some of the new research clusters and Centres, as well as nationally and internationally’.
The national and international dimension of research undertaken in the Department of French is also manifest in the number of successful research funding applications. As the report notes ‘all members of staff have been actively engaged in seeking funding’ and the Department has a ‘strong culture of bidding for grants inclusive of all staff, and a good track record of success in obtaining funds, especially to support research students’. As a result, the report notes, the Department of French ‘has increased its research income compared to the previous review period, to over €600,000, a large proportion of this funding for the support of doctoral and postdoctoral work. The main source of income is the Irish Research Council (72%). The strength of the Department’s research culture is set to continue as the report praised the ‘strong culture of grant writing, supported by good mechanisms, involving all staff’.
The report highlighted the ways in which the Department of French has been ‘very active in its engagement with academics, practitioners and the local community, through a range of initiatives’ that bring its research to the attention of specialists as well as the wider community. This was achieved through a commitment to disseminating research and as a result of the international respect for colleagues within the Department who, as the report makes clear ‘are well networked nationally and internationally, and many sit on the executive committees of learned societies and associations’.
The report confirmed the strength of Department’s Postgraduate culture noting that ‘comprehensive research training is provided […] and robust annual review mechanisms are in place’. In addition, the Department has sought to involve its research students in developments that are taking place across the School. The report highlighted that ‘research students were unanimous in praising the new interdisciplinary research clusters, within which they feel well integrated and which provide them with welcome cross-departmental dialogue.
The Department of French is pleased with this external assessment of the quality of its research and looks forward to further developing its research culture and impact in collaboration with colleagues from across the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.