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Dr Amanda Haynes and Jennifer Schweppe (as she then was) founded the Hate and Hostiltiy Research Group in 2013. From a funding base of just €1200 that year sourced from CUES (Cluster for Understanding Emotions in Society), the HHRG has arguably become one of the most successful research groups in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Limerick. From that 2013 research project, which resulted in the publication of the widely-cited A Life Free From Fear: Legislating for Hate Crime – An NGO Perspective, the HHRG built a stellar and productive reputation with civil society organisations and worked closely with a number of civil society, state, and public body partners to progress policy and legislative change in hate crime in Ireland and in a European context. Between 2014 and 2020, the HHRG has been partner to research projects worth more than €1.1m to the University of Limerick, with funding sources including the Irish Research Council, the European Union, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

The policy and practice-oriented research produced by the HHRG incorporates impact by design, and is considered to be ground-breaking in both an Irish and international context. Its research has been cited in parliamentary debates, and the HHRG was the only academic group of the National Steering Group Against Hate Crime, which became known as the Coalition Against Hate Crime (Ireland). The co-Directors of the HHRG spoke before the Irish and European Parliaments, presented to the European Commission on the Elimination of Racism and Intolerance, are experts for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, and, in one of their last acts as co-Directors of the HHRG, spoke before the United Nations in December 2019.

Realising the potential of expanding the scholarly breadth and disciplinary composition to scholarship and policy, the HHRG was subsubmed within the ECSH in May 2020. Dr Haynes and Dr Schweppe work as closely as ever on their research projects, and are co-Directors of the ECSH.