April 12th – Universities across Ireland in all-island collaboration

Presidents and Vice-Chancellors of ten universities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have met at Queen’s University Belfast.

At this meeting, all universities confirmed their commitment to collaborating, on an all-island basis, across a broad range of research and education initiatives.  

This includes proposals for a new All-Island Doctoral Training Partnership – Innovation Lab Ireland – with a focus on innovation. The partnership will bring together universities, industry, community and policy-makers across the island of Ireland to support innovation training and practice for postgraduates.

The ten universities will also take forward collaborations around key research themes in partnership with the CBI, Ibec, NI Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.  A particular focus for some of these collaborations will be on the opportunities emerging from the Belfast Region City Deal and the renewed emphasis on developing the Belfast to Dublin Corridor.

Queen’s University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Greer, said: “There is enormous appetite and potential for universities and industry partners to work together to support the innovation and skills agenda, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.  An all-island approach provides a unique opportunity to create a real power-house of innovation in Ireland.

Professor Paddy Nixon, Ulster University Vice-Chancellor, said: “The magnitude of change and disruption that higher education, industry and wider society face is unprecedented. These challenges create a tremendous opportunity for institutions and leaders to find new ways of delivering value to our students and to the economy.  Working collaboratively, we will create an all-island ecosystem that will lead to new ways of working, the development of new technologies and ultimately economic opportunity for all.”

Professor Brian MacCraith, President of Dublin City University and Chair of the Irish Universities Association (IUA), said: “On behalf of the seven universities in the Republic of Ireland represented by the IUA, I am pleased to say that we very much welcome the opportunity to deepen and broaden collaborations in education, research and innovation with our colleagues in Northern Ireland. We recognise the depth of complementary expertise available and the many possibilities for world-class research, especially in the context of technological innovation. By combining our resources in a strategic manner, we can truly develop our reputation as an ‘Island of Innovation.”

Angela McGowan, Director CBI Northern Ireland, said: “The business community recognises that universities are at the heart of all successful economies and therefore we are delighted to support this new and exciting approach to all-island university collaboration.  Over the last two decades the CBI along with our sister organisation Ibec in the Republic of Ireland, have witnessed the enormous benefits of all-island co-operation for trade and commerce.  However, we also appreciate that there is further to go before the all-island economy reaches its true potential

The CBI expects that this new higher education initiative will add great momentum to delivering that economic prize for both economies by raising our profile on the world stage in key research areas, attracting more investment into the island and creating more jobs for our young people.”  

ENDS

11th April – IUA welcomes Government announcement of €12m IRC investment in curiosity driven basic research

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) welcomes the announcement today by Ministers Joe McHugh and John Halligan of €12 million investment by the Irish Research Council in ground-breaking, basic research projects. 

Twelve researchers will each receive a maximum of €1million funding under the Irish Research Council’s Advanced Laureate Awards to conduct leading-edge research over four years in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Commenting on the announcement Dr. Lisa Keating, Director of Research and Innovation at the IUA said: “IUA would like to see these awards embedded as annual calls as they have the potential to improve Ireland’s performance and enhance the success of Ireland-based researchers in competing for prestigious grants from the European Research Council and in Horizon Europe.”

Commenting on the recently published socio-economic impact study of the seven IUA universities Dr Lisa Keating said, “The independent Indecon assessment shows university R&D delivering an annual return to the economy of €1.5billion. The high quality of research across the universities is evident again in the Laureate awards with 140 applications received of which 12 were awarded and another 48 were deemed excellent and fundable if budget was available.”

IUA is delighted that all recipients of the advanced Laureate awards come from four of our member universities including:

Maynooth University

  • Patricia Palmer: ‘MACMORRIS (Mapping Actors and Contexts: Modelling research in Renaissance Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth century)’.

University of Limerick

  • Michael Zaworotko: ‘Switching adsorbent layered materials’. 

Trinity College Dublin

  • Adrian Bracken: ‘Understanding the impact of divergent PRC2 complex assemblies on chromatin landscapes and gene regulation’.
  • Lorraine O’Driscoll: ‘Extracellular vesicles in cancer’.
  • Seamus Martin: ‘Death receptors as integrators of cell stress-induced inflammation’.
  • Christine Casey: ‘Surface value: The agency and impact of craftmanship in the architecture of Britain and Ireland, 1680-1780’.
  • Stefano Sanvito: ‘eMag: a computational platform for accelerated magnetic materials discovery’.
  • Igor Shvets: ‘New concepts for superconducting tunnelling junctions’.

University College Cork

  • John Atkins: ‘Codes within THE CODE: Revealing hidden genetic information’.
  • Brendan Dooley: ‘Examining new sources for the European dimension of early modern news, integrating Ireland and elsewhere into the network of circulation, 1550-1700, to understand a forgotten but highly significant media landscape’.
  • Pádraig Ó Macháin: ‘The materiality of the late-medieval Gaelic vernacular manuscript (1100–1600): a study of inks and vellum in the Book of Uí Mhaine, the development of a materiality protocol from that study, and the refinement of that protocol through application to other Gaelic manuscripts from the same era’.
  • Colm O’Dwyer: ‘Battery performance in technicolor – photonic material circuitry and 3D printed batteries for probing electrochemical energy storage mechanisms and cell performance’.

ENDS

Contact:

Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association
lia.osullivan@iua.ie    01 676 4948 / 085 714 1414

 

April 11th 10:15 – Michael Murphy elected as first ever Irish President of the European University Association

Breaking news Paris 11th April 10:15: The Irish Universities Association (IUA) are delighted to announce the election this morning of former President of University College Cork, Prof. Michael Murphy as the first ever Irish President of the European University Association (EUA). The announcement was made following election by representatives of all member universities and national rectors’ conferences during the EUA 21st General Assembly, which took place at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Michael takes the helm at the EUA at a pivotal moment for European and Irish universities and will serve as President from 2019 to 2023. 

The European University Association (EUA) represents more than 800 universities and national rectors’ conferences in 48 European countries. The organisation plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation. The EUA Board consisting of nine members, including the EUA President is responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Association’s policy, the planning of its activities and the management of its affairs. 

Following his appointment, and outlining his aims as newly elected President of the EUA, Prof. Murphy said, “To be competitive and successful in the coming decades, Europe will need the strongest higher education and research system in the world. A “whole of Europe” deeply networked system of well resourced, autonomous but accountable universities will be the foundation for our continent’s economic and social success. EUA will provide sectoral leadership, draft the roadmap and support governments in creating the necessary legislative and investment frameworks”.

A former president of University College Cork, Michael was the IUA representative on the EUA Council for seven years, and was elected to the EUA Board in 2017.  He also serves as Chair of the EUA Steering Group for Teaching and Learning.

As a membership organisation the EUA supports the work of the IUA and what we are trying to achieve in Ireland, by providing best practice and guidance on a range of issues across research, innovation, teaching and learning, governance and finance.

Reacting to Prof. Murphy’s appointment, Prof. Brian MacCraith, President of DCU and Chair of IUA said, “We congratulate Michael on his appointment as the first Irish person to hold the office of President of the EUA and we look forward to working closely with him and the EUA team. His in-depth knowledge of the Irish sector will be an important factor in his new role. Over the next few years, Irish universities face a challenge to maintain our performance relative to other European universities. Brexit has led to an even greater focus on our collaboration with European universities and highlights the importance of working together, especially on major research projects. Likewise, the Macron-inspired European Universities Initiative aims to greatly increase cross-border collaboration and partnerships amongst Europe’s universities and offers new opportunities for Irish universities.”

ENDS

Contact:

Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association
lia.osullivan@iua.ie    01 676 4948 / 085 714 1414 

Additional Notes:

More information on the work of the European University Association is at https://eua.eu/

Professor Murphy has held a variety of leadership roles, including President of UCC for a decade, Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Chair of the Health Research Board of Ireland, Chair of the Irish Universities Association, Chair of the Permanent Working Group (PWG) of European Hospital Doctors and Board member of the Irish Health Service Executive. In addition to the Scientific Advisory Board of the US National Dairy Council he has been active in many academic organisations in Europe and the United States. 

Media Release 4th April – Irish Universities contribute €8.89 billion to Irish economy annually

Indecon research identifies an average wage premium of 38% – 43% for university graduates over those with no formal education and a large cash payback to the State from investment in universities

Universities generate €386 million per annum in export earnings and €1.5 billion in R&D impacts 

Thursday 4th April – The Irish economy benefitted by €8.9 billion last year from Ireland’s seven universities newly published research has confirmed. The first ever socio-economic impact research undertaken on the role universities play in the economy and society has been carried out by Indecon on behalf of the Irish Universities Association.

The Impact Study looks across a variety of areas to assess the impact universities have on research, society, the economy and individuals, including the benefits arising from international students.

Summary Report: Delivering-for-Ireland_An-Impact-Assessment-of-Irish-Universities-2019-04.04.19.pdf (95 downloads)

Full Report: Indecon-Independent-Assessment-of-the-Economic-and-Social-Impact-of-the-Irish-Universities_full-report-4.4.19.pdf (39 downloads)

Findings from the report include:

  • The seven universities contribute a total of €8.9 billion to the economy.
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of students enrolling for a university education which correlates with the demand for more highly skilled employees in the Irish economy. In 2017 over 120,000 students enrolled, up 50% from 2000.
  • Indecon have identified a cumulative net gain to the Exchequer of €1,606 million in net present value terms based on the lifetime net earnings projections for the 2017 – 2018 cohort of new entrants to the seven universities.  This is based on a net gain to the exchequer from the lifetime earnings of individual undergraduate degree holders of €62,000. In other words, the Exchequer gains a net €62,000 over the lifetime of the graduate in today’s money terms when all costs to the Exchequer are taken into account.
  • University graduates generate an income premium significantly beyond those with no third level education and have consistently lower unemployment rates, even during the recession years.
  • The average lifetime net premium for an undergraduate degree holder is €106,000 compared to a UK premium of £88,000 for graduates from the prestigious Russell Group Universities. Master’s Degree holders’ net premium rises to €146,000 and PhDs’ to €222,000. These figures are net of tax and factor in the costs incurred by students in obtaining their degrees and income foregone during their years at university.
  • Irish Universities make a total research impact of €1.5 billion to the economy. This breaks down into €632 million from direct research expenditure, €373 million spill-over impact of university-based research on the wider economy, and €526 million from indirect and induced effects.
  • In 2017 – 2018 there were 16,701 full-time International students living in Ireland. Indecon estimated that the total annual export income generated for the Irish economy from International students at €386 million.

The report provides further detail on the social and cultural impacts of Irish Universities along with supporting 22,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly.

There has been much debate over the economic return university education generates in Ireland without any rigorous scientific analysis of the actual impacts”, said Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Irish Universities Association. “This vacuum has not served the debate well and I am pleased to say that we have now got a detailed independent assessment on the impact Irish Universities have on our society, our economy and on us as individuals.

What is certain from the report is the significant positive impact Irish Universities are having, from the €8.89 billion contributed annually to the Irish economy to the 21,801 full-time jobs supported, including 15,724 directly employed.

“The 50% increase in student enrolments since 2000 is a precursor to an even greater demographic bubble which will place an intolerable strain on the already under-resourced university system. Unless the Government and the broader political community are prepared to deliver a sustainable core funding solution, the opportunities afforded to today’s students may be curtailed for many current and future primary and secondary students. As a society, we cannot let this happen.”

Commenting on the research Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “The role of universities is to produce well-rounded, employable graduates and to provide centres of innovation through their research work. The Indecon report shows for the first time that, universities not only do that but also generate a cash surplus for the State over the long-term. This surely provides a compelling case for the Government and the Oireachtas to prioritise the reform of the funding model for higher education.  Next Sunday will mark the 1,000th day since the Cassells Report, the Government-appointed Expert Group, identified the scale of the funding gap for higher education and made clear recommendations about dealing with it. The Indecon Report shows that more State investment in university education isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the profitable thing to do.”

Speaking about the research, Alan Gray, MD of Indecon said: “This analysis is the first of its kind in Ireland.  Indecon undertook a rigorous evidence-based examination on the full range of impacts of Irish universities on the Irish economy and society generally. Ireland has a more highly educated population than the EU average which is often cited as a key reason both multinational organisations and indigenous enterprises base operations here. Our analysis shows the positive impacts that universities have on research and innovation, on graduates earning power and on the positive returns to the Exchequer for their investment.”

Indecon Research Economists were appointed by the Irish Universities Association, following a competitive tender process, to cover the combined impact of the seven universities represented by the IUA – Dublin City University, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick.

Ends

For more information contact:

Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association 
lia.osullivan@iua.ie; +353 (0)1 676 4948 I Direct: +353 (0)85 7141414 

Louise Walsh, Drury Porter Novelli
louise.walsh@drurypn.ie; +353 (0)1 260 5000 I Direct: +353 (0)87 7757725 

 

Additional Notes 

Indecon assembled a broad range of data from the universities themselves as well as from public bodies such as the Higher Education Authority, the Central Statistics Office, the Department of Education and Skills and others. Their independent assessment was completed throughout 2018 and early 2019. The Indecon analysis involved detailed econometric modelling in line with best practice approaches for such studies. The Indecon approach is based on a conservative methodology and is in accordance with the latest research notes and guidelines published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Indecon Research Economists is the largest independent economic research consultancy practice in Ireland and is part of Indecon International Consultancy Group which includes the leading European consultancy, London Economics.

 

 

 

Media Release 2nd April – Irish Universities Association signs agreement with Indonesia to give PhD training to Indonesian University Lecturers

The IUA signed an agreement in Jakarta today with the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education (MoRTHE) in Indonesia to participate in its overseas scholarship programme as a trusted partner. The programme places PhD candidates into Irish Universities who are currently lecturing in Indonesian Universities.  The agreement is for 5 years and the IUA hope to see over 300 students progress through the program.  The agreement signing was witnessed by representatives of a number of Irish universities travelling in the region.

This follows on from the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of Higher Education and Research signed by the MoRTHE with the Department of Education and Skills in Ireland in September 2018, in Jakarta by then Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton.

There are over 4,000 public and private universities in Indonesia, of which over 17,200 hold a Master’s level degree. The MoRTHE is investing in the development and training of these lecturers to improve the quality of higher education in the country. Overseas PhD placements are an option for some lecturers who meet the requirements of the MoRTHE, these include an English language level of 6.0 on the IELTS score and as well as holding a permanent lecturing position at one of the Indonesian Universities. Since 2008 the MoRTHE has sent over 2000 lecturers abroad to undertake PhD Doctoral training.

In 2017 the IUA, with the support of Education in Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Jakarta, led a delegation of its seven member universities to Indonesia to meet with education government officials and some of its universities.  It was immediately apparent that the PhD offering in Ireland was an excellent fit for the capacity building needs of Indonesia. Ireland’s reputation as leaders in doctoral education in Europe has proved very attractive for international PhD candidates.

Sinéad Lucey, Head of International Affairs and External Engagement at the IUA said: “It has been our great pleasure working in co-operation with the staff at Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education in Indonesia. The IUA is looking forward to growing this partnership and developing the relationship between Irish and Indonesian universities. This agreement is as a result of a ‘team Ireland’ approach. Indonesia is the largest country in the ASEAN region and a valuable partner for higher education institutions. There are many internationalisation opportunities for Irish Universities with Indonesian universities. The support of Education in Ireland and the Embassy in Jakarta has been so important in this process. Ireland is a small country and when the agencies collaborate effectively, it equals success.  Critically the involvement and continued involvement of key academic staff and the Deans of Graduate studies in the universities has been instrumental in getting the agreement over the line. A delegation from the Ministry visited all seven IUA member universities in January 2019 and were highly impressed at the PhD offering in Ireland. The delegation also identified significant opportunities for Indonesian universities to further engage with Irish universities. I hope that the IUA partnership with the Ministry is a stepping stone to a long standing mutually beneficial relationship that will lead to high quality internationalisation in both systems. “

The MoRTHE’s Director General of Resources for Science, Technology, and Higher Education, Professor Ali Ghufron Mukti states that recently the MoRTHE reinstalled the so-called BPPLN Scholarship, which is an Overseas Doctoral Scholarship Programme dedicated to Indonesian lecturers. Through the programme, Indonesian lecturers will have more opportunities to pursue their PhD degrees overseas with the funding support from the Indonesian Government. The programme also opens up more opportunities for overseas universities to be strategic partners, as the programme will prioritize those universities who are willing to offer special support to the students nominated by the MoRTHE. Thus the MoRTHE welcomes IUA as the new strategic partner for the abovementioned program, as IUA offers not only internationally recognized universities but also financial privileges to the qualified students nominated by the MoRTHE. This is a mutually beneficial partnership.

For more information contact:

Lia O’Sullivan
Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association
lia.osullivan@iua.ie; +353 (0)1 676 4948 I Direct: +353 (0)85 7141414 

COFUND Information Event Interviewee Vox Pops

Our speakers also took the time to answer some of the key questions relating to the COFUND programme and advise on what makes a successful application.

Dr. Alan Craig, Head of Sector at the Research Executive Agency:
How does COFUND benefit a country or region?

Dr. Alan Craig, Head of Sector at the Research Executive Agency:
In your opinion, what constitutes a top class application?
 

Dr. Conor O’Carroll, Independent Consultant on Research and Higher Education Policy at SciPol:
What are your top tips as an evaluator for COFUND applications and how best can they incorporate interdisciplinary?
 

Dr. Maire Brophy, EU Research Manager, ADAPT Centre, TCD:
What is unique about the EDGE COFUND?

 

Dr. Imelda Lambkin, Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund Manager, Enterprise Ireland:
How will the FIT-Career programme equip researchers for a future career in the industrial sector?

 

Dr. Imelda Lambkin, Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund Manager, Enterprise Ireland:
What are the top two factors important to winning a second COFUND?

 

Liam Cronin, Associate Director of Commercialisation, ADAPT Centre, TCD:
How does one best involve industry in large projects and what are the associated advantages?

 

COFUND Information Event 2019

With the objective of leveraging national funding and encouraging future COFUND applications, Dr. Geraldine Canny organised an information event at the IUA on March 21st. Among those in attendance were representatives from government departments and funding bodies.

Invited speakers included Dr. Alan Craig, Head of Sector at the Research Executive Agency as well as evaluators and those running COFUND programmes. You can view all presentations below and their respective presentation slides are also available.

Dr. Alan Craig, Head of Sector, Research Executive Agency.

Dr. Alan Craig presentation slides
 
Dr. Paddy Healy, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science and Engineering, UL

Dr. Paddy Healy presentation slides
 
Dr. Conor O’Carroll, Independent Consultant on Research and Higher Education Policy, SciPol

Dr. Conor O’Carroll presentation slides
 
Dr. Andrea Valova, CAROLINE Programme Manager, Irish Research Council.

Dr. Andrea Valova presentation slides
 
Dr. Maire Brophy, EU Research Manager, ADAPT Centre, TCD

Dr. Máire Brophy presentation slides

 

Dr. Imelda Lambkin, Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund Manager, Enterprise Ireland.

Dr. Imelda Lambkin presentation slides
 
Liam Cronin, Associate Director of Commercialisation, ADAPT Centre, TCD.

Liam Cronin presentation slides
 

Extra Information here: COFUND Information Event Vox Pops

 

4th Feb – Galway City Council pass Unanimous Motion in Support of more funding for Higher Education

The IUA welcomes the unanimous vote from Galway City Councillors which calls on the government to act on the Cassells Report and provide a sustainable funding model for third level education.

Councillors are well placed to understand the real pressures that students and families are under as a result of a decade of under-funding and know how important universities are in their local economies such as Galway.