Luke Gibbons, a Fulbright Visiting Researcher from Ireland at Harvard Law School, is investigating the effectiveness of company directors’ duties in the face of climate change risks.

Gibbons, an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Scholar and Ph.D. Candidate at Trinity College Dublin recently began a Fulbright Visiting Researcher position at Harvard Law School to conduct climate change research.

The 27-year-old Co. Mayo native's research, the first of its kind, has been described as "game–changing."

His work seeks to draw comparisons between company directors’ duties in Ireland, the EU, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The central research question is to consider if there is any legal obligation on directors to meaningfully consider climate change when making decisions as part of their duties. The aim is to suggest standardized multi-jurisdictional legal reforms to encourage company directors to be more climate-conscious when making business decisions.

"It is the accumulation of my life’s work thus far to be researching at Harvard Law School. I hope my research will create real change in the world and assist as a piece in the puzzle to tackle the polycentric and globally pervasive issue of climate change," said Gibbons.

"Company law is an area that has been under-explored as a potential avenue of legal reform to combat corporate contribution to this global issue. I hope my research changes not just the law, but also inspires others to conduct research in this area."

Gibbons is attending Harvard Law School as part of the world-renowned Fulbright Program. His Visiting Researcher position is funded by the Irish Fulbright Commission as approved by the Presidentially Appointed  J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. 

His research is fully funded by a highly competitive Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholarship to the value of $82,500.

Gibbons’ Harvard position comes off of the back of a successful tenure in Washington D.C. as an Advisory Legislative Fellow to Congressman Matt Cartwright. He was selected for this position as one of 30 young leaders from the island of Ireland as a class member of the Washington Ireland Program. 

Gibbons will be researching at Harvard Law School until February 2024 before returning to Ireland to conclude his comparative investigation.