Budget 2008 – Education / Science, Technology & Innovation

Press Release – Mary Hanafin, Minister for Education and Science, 6th Dec 2007

Extra investment in teachers, classrooms, school funding & higher education

“Extra investment of more than €690 million in education next year will enable us to put about 1,200 extra teachers in place, to deliver improvements in school buildings, and to increase day-to-day funding for schools” Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin T.D. said today. “It will also allow for significant improvements in funding for higher education.”

Overall, more than €9.3 billion will be invested in education at all levels next year.

Key measures to be supported by this funding include –

€600m for School Building Projects

With an extra €95 million for primary school buildings, investment in the school building programme will reach almost €600million in 2008.

This will enable The completion of construction of up to 200 projects currently underway to deliver 8,000 additional school places;

The rollout to construction of a further 350 projects over the next 15 months to provide another 12,000 additional places

The purchase of sites, particularly in rapidly developing areas; and

The progression of projects through the architectural planning and design stages which can then go to construction in later years.

The provision of €4.5billion for school building projects under the National Development Plan will ensure that there is a continuous rollout of projects across the country in the coming years.

According to Minister Hanafin “while there will continue to be a focus next year on providing extra places in developing areas, we will also be delivering improvements in the quality of existing school accommodation throughout the country. With 3,500 small projects having been completed in the past few years, the emphasis in 2008 will be on new schools, extensions and major refurbishments to deliver the most places.”

Planning for 1,200 More Teachers In 2008

Expenditure on teachers’ pay and pensions will increase by over €380million next year to €4.6billion. This will cover the cost of approximately 1,100 extra primary and post primary teachers that have been put in place this year. We are also planning for an additional 1,200 teachers for the next school year.

€1.7billion targeted at Special Needs and Disadvantage programmes

Investment in special education will increase by €80 million next year to €900million.

This will cover the cost of

· The 17,000 staff already working in the area of special education;

A further 900 staff to be put in place next year;

· Over 275 special classes for children with autism;

· An increase in number of NEPS psychologist’s to 169 in the coming year; and

· Investment in training for special education training for teachers.

More than €800million will be targeted at combating educational disadvantage at all levels. Minister Hanafin said “this will support a wide range of valuable services – including pre-school interventions, early literacy initiatives, and measures to improve school attendance and tackle early school leaving.” It will also allow for a significant increase in access to ‘second chance education’ said Minister of State Séan Haughey T.D. “with 100 extra places in Youthreach, 500 more in the Back to Education Initiatives and 500 more adult literacy places. This will bring the number of places in the main Further and Adult Education programmes to over 65,000.

Day to Day Funding Increases For Schools

Day-to-funding for primary schools will increase by €21 to €330 per pupil. As a result, a primary school with 300 pupils will receive almost €100,000 to meet their running costs.

Second level schools will benefit from an extra €20 per student in day-to-day funding, with voluntary schools receiving €535 per student. There is also a €10 per student increase in equalisation measures for voluntary secondary schools. A typical 500 student secondary school will get almost €268,000 to meet day to day running costs.

The budget for school transport will increase by 6% to over €175million which ensures that over 135,000 pupils are transported to schools throughout the country, including some 8,000 pupils with special educational needs.

Funding for Higher Education will reach almost €1.9bn in 2008.

Increased investment in higher education will build on the significant improvements in support for our universities and institutes of technology in recent years.

Capital investment in the higher education colleges will increase by more than 20%, to €190 million, while core funding for Universities and Institutes of Technology will increase by €61million. Funding the full year costs of the improvements made this year in third level maintenance grants is provided for with a 9% increase.

€40million is allocated to the Strategic Innovation Fund, while an additional €12million is being provided for research in third level institutions to enable the continued roll out of the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation.

Minister Hanafin said “the major investment across all sectors of our education system will enable us to continue to enhance the services being provided to around one million students throughout the country. The fact that the education sector is such a major employer is reflected in the reality that the greatest portion of our €9.3billion funding is devoted to delivering frontline services each and every day.

ENDS

 

BUDGET 2008 – EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Education Infrastructure

Total expenditure on education in 2008 will be €9.3 billion including €828 million for capital investment. Over the last three years alone, over €2 billion has been invested in educational infrastructure. With this funding we have delivered 28 new schools, with construction underway at a further 16 new schools. We have delivered 77 large-scale refurbishments or extensions of existing schools, with construction in progress at a further 44 schools. This is in addition to over 1,300 small scale projects delivered in 2006 and over 1,500 in 2007. Construction work this year alone will deliver over 700 classrooms to provide permanent accommodation for over 17,500 pupils. Given that there are 4,000 schools and that 9,000 building projects have been funded in these schools since 2000, the Government is proud that the existing building stock has been substantially renewed.

However, the next challenge, and I believe the first priority for educational expenditure in 2008, must be to provide additional new accommodation to cater for the 13,000 additional children who will be seeking a school place next year. This rate of increase in enrolments poses a major challenge for the education system. Accordingly, I am allocating an additional €95 million in capital funding for the Primary School Building Programme in 2008. This will bring to €594 million the total budget that will be available for infrastructural investment in schools next year.

Other capital funding for education includes €184 million for infrastructural investment at third level and €50 million for various smaller programmes.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

In 2008, I am increasing the capital provision by €36.5 million to a total of almost €300 million for continued investment in basic research in Centres for Science and Technology and Engineering, and in Strategic Research Clusters. R&D activity, innovation management, and collaborative effort between industry and the third level sector will attract significant support next year. This will be matched on the current side by an additional €12 million for higher education research, bringing the total STI expenditure on the current side to €133 million in 2008.

Launch of Marie Curie FP7 People Programme

Over 70 years after her death, Marie Curie is helping Irish researchers carry out ground breaking work due to a funding programme that bears her name. The Marie Curie ‘People’ Programme, as part of the EU’s Framework Programme 7 for R&D (FP7), was launched today by the Irish Universities Association. The aim of the launch is to encourage researchers from academia and industry to participate in this FP7 programme which will make €4.7billion in funding available over the next seven years.

Irish research institutions and companies have attracted over €60m from the Marie Curie Programme since 2002. This is more than four times what Ireland would have expected to secure given the small size of our researcher population. It is important to understand that this programme does not merely hand out money but awards funds through a fiercely competitive process based on international peer review. The Marie Curie Programme covers the salary costs of researchers hired for the project and contributes to research, management costs and overheads. Contract values vary between €150,000 for a single researcher up to €1.5million for a research team and in the order of €3million for a research collaboration.

The Marie Curie Programme is a key European instrument that funds both excellent researchers and those with a clear potential for future achievement. The training of young researchers is an integral part of the programme with career prospects enhanced through specific career development measures.

This programme has funded research projects in a wide range of areas including breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at NUI Galway, monitoring of urban pollutants at University College Cork and computer recognition of sign language at Dublin City University. It is one of the few initiatives where the European Commission funds researchers not only in the so-called “Hard Sciences” but also in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Kelley Johnson, moved from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia to the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin, where she was appointed as an Incoming International Fellow (IIF) to lead the project, Nothing about Us Without us. The research project focuses on what people with learning disabilities see as relevant to their lives. By carrying out inclusive research, such marginalised groups have some ownership over the process of research itself, for example being members of advisory committees or engaged as co-researchers.

The Marie Curie programme has also helped to develop R&D capacity in companies large and small, including industry-academia partnerships such as Sigmedia based in Trinity College Dublin working with The Foundry in London. Sigmedia, led by Dr Anil Kokaram, and their industry partners received an Academy Award for the development of visual effects software for the film industry at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science ceremony in Los Angeles in March of this year.

The importance of Marie Curie funding for research in industry was illustrated by an awardee, Aidan Kennedy from Cork firm SIFCO. Speaking at the launch he said; “The project has had a very positive impact on the company by infusing new thinking into the traditional “in house” processes and approaches to technology development within SIFCO. We can now compete in a very competitive global market and secure the continued employment of about 100 people in Cork.”

The Irish Marie Curie Office at the Irish Universities Association is the National Contact Point for the European Commission’s Human Resources and Mobility Programme in Ireland. The office provides advice and support to researchers, research active organisations and companies in submitting their proposals and in managing their Marie Curie Projects. Harnessing academic know-how in accessing European funds is helping Irish Industry in building R&D capability. Dr. Conor O’Carroll, head of the Research Office at the IUA said:“Over the past four years academic and industry researchers in Ireland have hugely benefited from the Marie Curie programme and have shown themselves to be amongst the most competitive and competent in Europe. The IUA is committed to ensuring even greater success in the future through its support for researchers competing in this programme.”

Ends.

For more Information contact:
Lia O’Sullivan, Communications Manager, Irish Universities Association
Tel : +353 085 7141414         lia.osullivan@iua.ie

Notes for the Editor

The Irish Marie Curie Office is based at the Irish Universities Association. Key contacts are:
Dr. Conor O’Carroll, National Delegate – Marie Curie – Conor.ocarroll@iua.ie
Dr. Dagmar Meyer, National Contact Point – Marie Curie – dagmar.meyer@iua.ie

More information on the FP7 Marie Curie (‘People’) Programme can be found on CORDIS athttp://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/people/home_en.html

The Irish FP7 National Support Network is managed by Enterprise Ireland. The Irish FP7 National Support Network comprises 33 national contact points and national delegates from ten Irish organisations, of which the IUA is one. The network offers assistance to participants in FP7 in the form of advice on participation and financial incentives. Visit www.fp7-ireland.com for more information and contact details of the members of the National Support Network.

UCD Press Release – Ruth Barrington appointed as new CEO to Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre

The Board of Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre (DMMC) is delighted to announce that Dr Ruth Barrington has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the company. Dr Barrington will take up the position on 1st October 2007, following the end of her contract with the Health Research Board, where she has been a very successful CEO for nine years.

Welcoming Dr Barrington’s appointment, Dr. Michael Kamarck, Chairperson of DMMC said:

“Dr. Ruth Barrington brings her substantial experience and track record to the DMMC at an exciting time for this major biomedical research collaboration between Trinity College Dublin; University College, Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. University College, Cork, and National University of Ireland, Galway, are shortly to join the collaboration and the DMMC will become known as Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI). MMI will align the activities of all five of Ireland’s premier biomedical research institutions and seven affiliated teaching hospitals. It will create a critical mass and centre of excellence in molecular medicine research and education, facilitating cross-institutional collaboration and enhancing translational research capability.”

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Barrington said:

“I am pleased to be taking up this important and challenging position, especially at this pivotal time in the translation of research into tangible benefits for improved health and economic progress in Ireland. “

Further information on the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre Established in 2002, with funding from the Higher Education Authority as part of Ireland’s National Development Plan, the DMMC is major biomedical research collaboration between Trinity College Dublin; University College, Dublin, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

With a focus on cancer biology; infection, inflammation and immunity; neuroscience; and vascular biology, the DMMC’s successes have been recognised and cemented through the award in 2006 of funding to create the first Wellcome Trust/Health Research Board Clinical Research Centre in Ireland and the creation of ICRIN, the Irish Clinical Research Infrastructure Network. Subsequently, in October 2006, ICRIN joined the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) positioning Ireland as a key player in European clinical research.

Further information on Dr. Ruth Barrington

Dr Ruth Barrington has been the Chief Executive of the Health Research Board (HRB) since 1998. The HRB is the chief funding agency for competitive, peer reviewed health research in Ireland and is a major provider of research and information services to the health system.

Dr Barrington is a graduate of University College Dublin, the College of Europe in Belgium and was awarded a Ph.D from the London School of Economics. She was awarded an honorary degree in laws by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in May 2005 and is a Trustee of the Irish Times.

Other:

  • Author of Health, Medicine and Politics in Ireland, 1900-1970 and other publications on health and research policy.
  • Member of the interim Board of the Health Information and Quality Authority.
  • HRB representative on the Ireland/Northern Ireland/National Cancer Institute Cancer Consortium since its foundation in 1999.
  • Chair of the Monitoring Group on the Implementation on ‘A Vision for Change’, the Government’s mental health strategy.
  • Irish representative to the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure (ESFRI)
  • Chair of the Working Group that prepared proposals on research infrastructure for biology and medical science that were included in the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructure (2006).

Issued on behalf of the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre by UCD Communications.

Further information from: 
Eilis O’ Brien T: 01 716 1491 or 087 205 7125
Dominic Martella T: 01 716 1681 or 087 295 9118

Minister Announces €8.5million Technology Transfer Awards

€8.5 million is being provided to ensure that ideas, research and technology generated in Irish Universities and Colleges are used to keep Irish companies at the cutting edge of the knowledge economy, according to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The funding, announced at University College Cork as part of the IUA Council meeting, will allow for the appointment of high calibre specialists to oversee strong links between universities and the commercial sector.

There will be immediate appointments at UCC, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, The Royal College of Surgeons and UCD. Other appointments will follow.

The funding is being made available under the €30 million Technology Transfer Initiative which is being overseen by Enterprise Ireland.

Speaking at the launch in Cork, Minister Martin said “The appointment of these new technology transfer professionals will spearhead the drive to commercialise the ideas and technologies produced in Irish Research Institutions. If are to remain a world leader in the high tech sector then strong links between our researchers and our entrepreneurs is vital.” “I look forward to seeing a marked increase in patents, licences and start up companies as a result of this latest investment in the knowledge economy. This scheme follows the recent introduction of innovation vouchers which can be used by firms to access research resources in our colleges and universities.”

The initiative was also welcomed by Dr John Hegarty, Provost of TCD and President of the Irish Universities Association. Speaking at the launch Dr Hegarty said that “intellectual property is a murky area and technology transfer is a complex, labour-intensive process but the investment in a new cavalry of professionals will help guide us forward and make a huge difference in utilising our research”.

IUA Council calls for Knowledge Foresight for Humanities and Social Sciences

At its meeting of 2 April, the Council of Irish Universities Association considered the recent report by the Royal Irish Academy “Advancing Humanities and Social Sciences Research in Ireland”. Council President and Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr John Hegarty remarked: “the report paints a convincing picture of the value of HSS research in contributing to the advancement of public policy and the overall welfare of society”.

“The Council particularly welcomes the proposal for a Knowledge Foresight Exercise”, the IUA President said. “Such an exercise can provide a blueprint for the development of HSS, identifying areas of strength and ensuring best fit with overall national priorities”, Dr Hegarty remarked.“Given the central role of the Irish Universities in research, the IUA will an enthusiastic participant in the Foresight project and we call on the relevant stakeholders to come together as a matter of priority to initiate it”.

The IUA Council is strongly of the view that excellence in humanities and social sciences research is essential to informing the complex policy issues and choices which today’s rapidly changing Ireland presents. The Council also noted that the skills of creativity and problem solving which are developed through education and research in the humanities and social sciences are a vital foundation for the emerging creative and knowledge society.

The Academy’s report lays out a comprehensive set of recommendations for how HSS research and its underpinning infrastructure can be advanced and how greater coherence can be brought to national efforts in this area. The proposed Foresight exercise would be a central component in this.