Dr. Tom Mitchell, Chairman C.H.I.U

Monday, 24 July, 2000 @ 10.00 a.m

Announcement of funding for research proposals under Cycle 2 of the Programme for Research In Third-Level Institutions [PRTLI]

Research investment to result in radical reduction in the brain drain from Irish Universities

Dr. Tom Mitchell, Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Irish Universities warmly welcomed the announcement of allocations to successful projects under Cycle 2 of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions [PRTLI].

He said that this groundbreaking research programme represented emphatic recognition that extending knowledge and understanding across the range of disciplines was an integral part of to role of universities and was essential to good teaching, to maintaining international standards and to building the knowledge society on which Ireland’s prosperity is so crucially dependent.

Dr. Mitchell continued : “For too long we have seen Ireland’s best graduates lured to foreign universities for their research training and the great bulk of them never returned because the facilities and supports did not exist to enable them to achieve their academic potential. The Irish Universities hope that we can now see a radical reduction in this most serious form of brain drain, so there is good reason to celebrate these further announcements in the PRTL1 and to congratulate Minister Woods and Minister Treacy, and also to congratulate the HEA for its strong commitment to this programme and its management of it.”

He added “There is also reason for encouragement in that the Government’s National Development Plan has also given recognition to the importance of university research and has provided the means to ensure that what has been so well begun will be extended and will be sustainable.”

Dr. Mitchell pointed out that in responding to the HEA PRTI Programme the universities had demonstrated new potential for inter-disciplinarity and inter-institutional collaboration offering real opportunities for creating critical masses of world-class research in selected areas.

The universities further consider that the Government’s Technology Foresight initiative provides a fortunate convergence with the work of the PRTL1 that will enable the rapidly growing research resources of the Irish Universities to make a major contribution to the achievement of the Foresight objectives. We hope that this expanding capacity will be fully exploited.

Dr. Mitchell recalled that the PRTLI was underpinned by a solid partnership between the third level institutions and the Government manifested in the commitment to funding PRTLI projects on a 50:50 basis. The universities looked forward with confidence to working in partnership with the Government in developing and implementing the various RTDI programmes provided for under the National Development Plan.

Michael McGrath
Tel: 087 2837687