What is the ESRI?

Emma Jane Hade

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) was founded 45 years ago by a group of senior academics and public servants.

It was first known as the Economic Research Institute, and received substantial funding from the Ford Foundation in New York which helped found the country's independent research institute in 1960.

The ESRI cites TK Whitaker as being a "decisive influence" in establishing the 'think-tank' during his role as the Secretary of the Department of Finance.

It also received funding from the Ford Institute for the first five years.

Dr Roy C Greary became the first director of the think-tank, and he was at the helm when it became the ESRI after amalgamating with the newly founded Social Research Institute in 1963.

The ESRI is a not-for-profit company, and in 2013 its income was just over €12m. That income is used to cover operating costs and is reinvested in further research. Its aim is to "produce economic and social research that informs public policy making and civil society" with a vision of ensuring "informed policy for a better Ireland". Reports are produced in the areas of economics and social sciences, which are subsequently issued to the public through publications and seminars. The think-tank says it is "are fully independent" and "free of any expressed ideology or political position".