€538 funding package sought for Covid costs, research investment and support for National Recovery
The IUA has published its 2021 budget submission to Government. The submission, entitled Partners in the Recovery, underpins the key role that universities will have in enabling the national recovery.
The IUA seeks a sustained investment programme from Government to enable the university sector to deal with the financial challenges of Covid and to address key national priorities including skills and talent development, research & innovation and green capital investment. The submission highlights the influential role that Irish universities have played in battling Covid-19 and seeks Exchequer support for the additional costs the sector will incur due to the pandemic in 2021. Importantly, it also appeals to the Government to take a meaningful step towards a sustainable core funding model for Ireland’s seven universities.
The overall investment package required for the sector is €538 million of which €318 million is recurrent spending and €220 million in capital expenditure.
The constituent parts are:
- €102 million for additional and unavoidable Covid-related costs next year.
- €246 million for initiatives designed to boost the national recovery including a Flexi-skills programme and a Green Campus Infrastructure fund.
- €140 million for research and innovation investment to underpin the development of the knowledge economy.
- €50 million to address the core funding deficit.
“Our universities have pivotal role to play in responding to the pandemic and in contributing to the national recovery,” says Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA “The variety and effectiveness of the roles that people within the sector have played to date is well recognised across so many disciplines.”
He continues: “We have framed our submission to Government to re-enforce and sustain the educational, research and pandemic response and to invest in this generation of students and researchers. In establishing the new Department, the Government has demonstrated a determination to ensure that the third level sector will play an ever more important role in society and in the economy. The IUA submission is pitched to respond to and support that determination.
“A key element in the submission focuses on greater investment in student welfare. The Minister committed welcome additional funding in this area in July but given the circumstances that so many students find themselves in, we have got to ensure that there are more substantial well-being initiatives and supports in place to help students deal with the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in due to consequences of the pandemic.”
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