The key objectives of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies (CISS) are:
- the continuation of outstanding, innovative research in Irish and Scottish Studies locally, nationally and globally.
- the development of further teaching and research at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
- the advancement of new projects, symposia, and events to mark the lead which the University of Ulster takes in Irish and Scottish studies.
- the creation of a forum for the propagation, development and celebration of Irish and Scottish studies.
The focus of the research is on the Ulster Scots Diaspora. Both the common and the diverse currents of the Ulster Scots experience have been often ignored: the first because of a tradition of writing distinctive national histories which tended to fragment that experience geographically; the second because of a tradition of cultural essentialism which tended to displace difference in favour of national uniformity.
In a world of self-conscious nation states, the cultural connections of people who shared no single national identity brings problems of conceptualisation. Ulster Scots studies expand the boundaries of conventional understanding but has often been intellectually marginalised. The role of the Institute is therefore to promote the experience of the Ulster Scots as a mainstream academic concern.