The announcement of some additional funding for capital infrastructure in higher education in the revised National Development Plan today is welcomed. However, the overall envelope of funding of €500m, rising to €652m in 2025, is considerably less than what is required by a sector that has been under-funded for many years.
The IUA and its member universities looks forward to engaging further with Minister Harris and his Department to get clarification on the NDP funding plans for the sector and to continue to push for additional funding for both capital and current spending needs.
Prof. Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, IUA Chairman and President of NUI Galway, said:
“The escalating investment needs of our sector, given the background of under-funding and the continued expansion of numbers, are well recognised in the NDP Plan. We now need to see the details of the funding finalised for key provisions in the NDP such as the commitment to increased investment in research through a re-invigorated PRTLI research infrastructure programme. This programme was originally created in An Taoiseach’s time as Minister for Education and we are grateful for his continued support and that of Minister Simon Harris”
He continued: “We therefore eagerly await the funding proposals for the sector in Budget 2022 next week. We are encouraged by the call last week from the Oireachtas Education Committee for a sustainable funding model for the sector. This is now accepted as a critical need for society and our economy, investing in future generations of students through flourishing, well-supported higher education institutions.”
The Oireachtas Education Committee in the very first of its recommendations to the Minister last week on the reform of the HEA legislation said that: “It is widely recognised that legislative reform will be of limited value unless it is accompanied by a sustainable funding model.”
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