OCEI reference: OCE-130455-H2J9M1
UCD reference: AIE12_1_1015
“All environmental records relating to the ongoing HydroSED project to include, but not restricted to
• Interim Reports
• Preliminary findings
• GIS data (in GIS format).”
Basis for refusal:
Methodologies outlined in the HydroSED Research Grant Proposal report and referred to in the Dr O’Sullivan’s correspondence file are being withheld in accordance with Article 9 (1)(d) of the AIE Regulations.
The premature release of this information at this time would seriously disadvantage the projects in question, UCD as Research Performing Organisation leading the research, and the funding provider, in financial, competitive and potentially commercial terms.
While the project is ongoing, it is important that this information is protected from release as there are real concerns that release of such comprehensive elements contained within the proposal into the public domain leave the project, including the location sites, timeframes, risks and proposed changes and anticipated deliverables at risk of being compromised.
Our funders hold the view that this information should only be released when the project has been completed and final report published.
Release of our project proposal could affect our ability to attain funding in the future.
Similarly the 6-month interim report and Year 1 Scientific Progress report, as per attached schedule, provide detailed updates on the project to our funder, DAFM and are withheld in accordance with Articles 9 (1)(d) and 9 (2) of the AIE Regulations.
These reports contain detailed updates to DAFM about the live and ongoing research being carried out and unfinished scientific data.
This scientific data also forms part of our PhD student’s degree, who is conducting research with the data. Early release of this information into the public domain, may lead to other parties deciding to use the data for their own benefit, which would seriously compromise our student’s thesis and PhD
Premature release of this data, which is subject to change over the course of the project, would have no significant meaning without the final findings and would be open to incorrect interpretation by other individuals which could negatively impact the project itself. For this reason, project data and project files contained within Dr O’Sullivan’s correspondence file have also been withheld/redacted.
Disclosure would adversely affect intellectual property rights. Release of records under the AIE regulations are considered as being released to the world at large and in doing so we must assume that release of information contained within the proposal and interim reports that are subject to intellectual property could be commercially exploited or used in a way that would constitute an unauthorised infringement of the intellectual property rights. In accordance with the terms of the project, any IP emanating from the project will be owned by the research performing organisations and access to industry parties will be via licensing which shall be on fair commercial terms, subject to overall State Aid, technology transfer and other legal or government policy considerations.
In line with DAFM’s commitment to ensuring that the research outputs are made available to all potential end users, it is expected that once the project is finished, expected completion date 31 August 2024, and the final report is published, then the results would be shared, contingent on the coordinator’s consent to publish.
In applying these exemptions, I have also considered Articles 10(3) and 10(4) of the AIE Regulations.
Factors in favour of releasing the information include,
• right of the public to have access information,
• the need for an open, transparent and accountable public service and
• the need for scrutiny of decisions.
Factors opposing release of the records into the public domain include,
• protecting the integrity of university processes,
• maintaining confidentiality of IP rights,
• protection of unfinished research and material in the course of completion and,
• protection of the university’s ability to secure future funding for similar projects.
Having weighed up all factors, I have determined that the public interest would be best served by not disclosing the information.