Budget and Estimates 2010 – Universities will continue to prioritise the student experience and the knowledge society

In the face of declining Exchequer allocations this year, the Universities have pursued a wide range of measures to achieve savings, value for money, and reduce dependence on the Exchequer. These measures will continue to pay dividends in 2010 and help mitigate the further reduction in government funding for higher education. Overall funding for higher education is set to fall by an additional four percent in 2010 according to the Book of Estimates published in conjunction with Budget.

While this reduction represents a substantial challenge, not least in light of the strong upturn in student numbers, it is to be expected given the scale of the overall savings in public expenditure required. The Presidents noted that without the accompanying measures to reduce the public service pay bill, far greater reductions in funding might have been anticipated. IUA President Don Barry said “we welcome the fact that the overall package of measures has prioritized the needs of students in these challenging times.”

Funding is being provided to conclude cycle four of the PRTLI research initiative. The Presidents welcomed the announcement that cycle five of the initiative, planning for which is well underway, would continue to implementation. They also welcomed the Minister for Finance’s assurance in his Budget speech that Science, Technology and Innovation would continue to be a government priority. “The universities share the government’s commitment to deliver the smart economy and to both generate new knowledge and ensure its commercial application” said Professor Barry.“By continuing to invest in smart people and smart ideas, we are laying the foundation for economic recovery”, he said.

Ends

For further information contact: Lia O’Sullivan, Communications Manager, Irish Universities Association. Telephone: 01 6764948, 085 7141414. Email: lia.osullivan@iua.ie