Election Manifestos 2024

As ‘The Voice of Irish Universities’ the Irish Universities Association (IUA) represents, supports and advocates on matters of shared sectoral concern for our university members.

General Election - 5 Big Priorities for Future Talent and Innovation:

We urge all political parties and candidates for election to support our key priorities:

Provide an enhanced student experience, with more and better supports for students, by:

1. Delivering in full the Funding the Future commitment to close the €307m per annum gap in core funding and ensuring that government-controlled pay awards and cost inflation are fully funded. This will enable universities to bring student-staff ratios into line with the EU27 average of 17:1.

Build the national research and innovation capacity, so vital for economic growth, by:

2. Creating a new Research Infrastructure & Talent Development Fund (RITDF) of not less than €100m p.a. to drive research and innovation and to support research students. The last PRTLI fund for R&I expired in 2015.

Help deliver the National Climate Action Plan by:

3. Investing €475m over the next 5 years to enable universities to ‘lead by example’ in reducing the carbon emissions of campuses by 51% by 2030 – as outlined in IUA’s detailed proposal to government.

Ensure that talent and innovation are prioritised in our knowledge economy by:

4. Introducing new measures to utilise the National Training Fund, now with a surplus of €1.5bn+, to address current and future skills needs.

5. Retaining DFHERIS, the Dept. of Further, Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, with a full Cabinet Minister, to ensure that higher education and research remains a top priority to support investment and competitiveness.

European Parliament Elections 2024 - Expanding Support for our University Students

We urge all political parties and candidates for election to support three key objectives:

  1. Push for the expansion of FP10, the next EU Research Fund (2027+). The FP10 fund should be ring-fenced, with a particular focus on underpinning the Pillar 1 programme that funds discovery research.
  2. Secure a significant increase in Erasmus+ programme funding, to enable more Irish students to study abroad as part of their degree.
  3. Step up competitive funding for the European Universities Initiative which enables Irish universities to develop pan-European teaching and research alliances.

Pledge support for a larger, ring-fenced FP10, the next EU Research Fund

The current €95bn EU Research and Innovation Fund, Horizon Europe, finishes in 2027. The incoming European Parliament will approve the successor fund, FP10. This Fund is hugely important to Ireland, especially the Pillar 1 Programme that funds ground-breaking, bottom-up research. Ireland is second in Europe in its drawdown per capita under the key Pillar 1 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) which funds young talent and researchers. It is essential that the EU budget for programmes like this is extended under the next EU Research Fund to enable Ireland to nurture the research talent pipeline. We also propose that the FP10 fund is ring-fenced.

Euro Election ’24 candidates are asked to pledge their support to securing an enhanced FP10 Fund, and in particular, the key Pillar 1 programme. Ring-fencing the fund must also a key priority for Ireland.

Expand Erasmus+ for Irish students

In 2022, almost 5,000 higher education students availed of Erasmus grant funding. However, since 2021/22, demand from Irish students has exceeded the available EU funding allocated to Ireland. This has resulted in the Erasmus grant to each student being diluted, and, in some cases, students being turned down, with particular impact on students from less advantaged backgrounds. Significant additional funding for Ireland is needed from the EU each year, to enable the benefits of Erasmus student mobility for significantly larger numbers of Irish students.

We urge all candidates, and their parties, for Euro Election ’24, to pledge their support for increased Erasmus+ funding and, if elected, to work to secure the necessary funding.

Step up competitive funding for the European Universities Initiative

12 Irish higher education institutions are members of a European University Initiative (EUI), the flagship vehicle through which universities form pan-European alliances on teaching and research programmes. The EUI enables universities to expand student and staff mobility with the ultimate aim of providing joint degree programmes by participating universities. The current funding basis for these alliances is unsustainable, relying on a combination of unpredictable EU and member state funding, which in turn holds back these alliances from reaching their potential. The key to sustainability is the provision of guaranteed, multi-annual EU funding, through a competitive process for participating universities, backed by solid commitments by each member state to provide financial support for their own universities.

We seek the support of Euro Election ’24 candidates and parties to actively campaign for a sustainable, competitive EUI funding regime that will open opportunities for Irish students and staff.