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Precarity in academic employment under the spotlight: Latest news from Noteworthy

Learn how you can support Noteworthy this festive season to investigate the stories that matter to you.

NOVEMBER WAS ANOTHER busy month for the team at our community-led investigative platform, Noteworthy, with precarity in academic employment the main topic of conversation with the publication of our three-part Academic Uncertainty investigation. 

The team is also working on several investigations including Cost of Carbon, Shear Force and Net Loss, while we also launched our special Christmas Fund to give you the chance to share the gift of investigative journalism this festive season. Read on for more details.  

Recently Launched 

One proposed investigation that we think is particularly important is ‘In a Fix‘ that we launched for crowdfunding in November. 

We were alerted to this issue through an email to our team and were told that local authority housing tenants were waiting for years for the replacement of wooden windows as well as other repair works.

We want to take an in-depth look at this issue across Ireland to find out the impact of living in inadequate conditions as well as to investigate the maintenance being done by councils.

We launched a number of other proposed investigations recently: 

FOUL PLAY: Why does dog faeces continue to litter our streets and parks? We want to find out how local authorities are enforcing the law on dog fouling.

FACTORY FARM: Are we prioritising profits over animal welfare and human health? Our proposed investigation will examine the potential animal welfare, human health and pollution impacts of the industrialisation of Irish farming.

PITCH IMPERFECTAre astroturf pitches bad for our green spaces? We want to examine the potential environmental problems from playing sports on artificial pitches.

Festive Gift of Journalism

We have also launched our special Christmas offer to give a loved one the gift of investigative journalism while also supporting our work into the new year.

A festive contribution to Noteworthy will help our team hold the powerful to account and give a voice to those who are often forgotten, and in return we will send three limited edition Noteworthy postcards to a loved one as a present on your behalf. 

Your gift contribution helps us with our ongoing work by enabling us to:

  • Dive deeper into investigations and follow leads outside the scope of the initial plan and budget

  • Spend more time hearing what you want us to investigate

  • Add multimedia to ongoing investigations such as videos and graphs

  • Provide additional editorial and legal support to our work

Academic Uncertainty

Earlier this month, we published a major three-part series to examine how universities and institutes of technology are allowed to employ researchers and lecturers on precarious contracts.

The first part investigated short-term contracts and instability of employment in academia, revealing that 11,200 lecturers work in temporary and casual contracts.

The second part explored in further detail how precarious work is having an impact on diversity in HEIs, with women, people with disabilities and minorities the hardest hit.

The concluding part delved into unpaid ‘teaching contributions’ and ongoing campaigns by postgraduate researchers for workers’ rights.

For this in-depth work, reporter Maria Delaney communicated with over 30 people who worked in temporary or short-term jobs in higher education institutes around Ireland, while also submitting freedom of information requests to every university and IT across the country for reams of data on this issue. 

The series has been well-received and has encouraged a lot of discussion on social media, as well as in the Oireachtas, with debate by politicians from a number of parties in relation to findings of the project.

Recent opinion piece

Last month, we also published an opinion piece related to our Revolving Door proposed investigation on the influence of former politicians turned lobbyists on Leinster House. 

The article from policy expert Michaela Reilly examines how the Lobbying Act has failed to regulate for Irish politicians lobbied while abroad. She outlines her concern that international lobbyists are “merely encouraged to disclose such information” without any legal obligations whatsoever. 

This follows on from DCU professor Gary Murphy’s piece in October where he examined how the cooling-off period for politicians turned lobbyists is ‘limited and contentious’ following the controversy over the resignation of Michael D’Arcy from the Seanad to take up a lobbying position.

Noteworthy Numbers

Another investigation, Dead End, was fully funded in November thanks to your amazing support. It will find out if Galway’s long promised ring road will make a significant difference to traffic congestion in the city.

We will also examine the alternatives Galway could have looked at in terms of improved public transport, cycle facilities, or even the provision of a light rail system.

124 – Articles published, funded through proposals or our general fund.

65 - Open proposals compiled from ideas sent to us by the public.

3 – Proposals on their way to being funded soon: 

We can’t start investigating these issues until they are fully funded so please share with friends and on social media to help support these projects.

What do you think should be investigated? Noteworthy is a community-driven platform & works by investigating issues that you feel need more attention. What are they? Let us know here.

How to help 

You can also help Noteworthy in a few other ways:

To find out how contributions are used, or anything else about how Noteworthy works, click here. You can also sign up to our Insider Newsletter or find us on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email

Thanks so much for your continued support!

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