IUA Statement: Covid package will stabilise the higher education and research system

The €168 million funding package and the practical guidance offered as part of the Further and Higher Education Roadmap announced by Minister Simon Harris today (22.07.20) is warmly welcomed by the IUA and its member universities. The fund provides much-needed stability for higher education arising from the Covid-induced financial shocks.

In addition to reimbursing costs already incurred on supporting the front-line response to the health crisis and the emergency shift to remote teaching, the fund provides essential supports for reopening campuses and for research projects. The provision of funds for student supports, including mental well-being and laptops is particularly welcome.

Commenting on the announcement, Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said:

“Today’s announcement by Minister Harris is tangible evidence of the government’s recognition of the key role that higher education and research has in helping to reboot the economy. It follows through on the commitment to the sector as represented by the establishment of a separate government Department.

The Covid fund provides universities with the immediate resources to plan and implement teaching and research programmes for the new academic year and ensure that the quality of those programmes is underpinned to deliver the best student experience possible.”


For more information contact: Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, IUA lia.osullivan@iua.ie 085 7141414

Note for Editors:

The campuses of the universities represented by the IUA are continuing to reopen in phased ways. Below is a summary of revised plans for the start of the next academic year (2020/21), following the announcement by the Department of Education & Skills that Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades will be released on 7 September, for processing through the CAO.

Commencement of new term:

  • In order to minimise disruption to the academic cycle and student experience, Semester 1 2020/21 starting dates of teaching are at most slightly later than in previous years. They have been announced as follows:
    • DCU: 5 October;
    • MU: 28 September;
    • NUI Galway: 28 September;
    • TCD: 28 September;
    • UCC: 28 September;
    • UCD: 21 September;
    • UL: 28 September.
  • There are a small number of disciplines/ programmes that traditionally have earlier starts and these will be maintained where possible.

Arrangements for first year undergraduate students:

  • It had been hoped by all universities that all students would start Semester 1 2020/21 together. However, revised plans for first year students are now as follows:
    • DCU: First year students will begin a week or so earlier to allow for an orientation period on campus – to be confirmed by end of July;
    • MU: Same teaching start date, with Welcome Week for incoming first year students in the week commencing 21 September;
    • NUI Galway: Same teaching start date, with orientation on 21-25 September;
    • TCD: First year teaching will start on 5 October, with Orientation Week, also known as Freshers’ Week, beginning on 28 September;
    • UCC: Same teaching start date, with online orientation beginning on 16 September;
    • UCD: The start date for first years is currently being considered.
    • UL: Same teaching start date, with the first years scheduled to be on campus that first week for orientation.

Modes of delivery:

  • Academic planning for 2020/21 is continuing in each university, with modelling and scheduling for a blended learning/ hybrid approach ongoing.
  • All universities are working towards prioritising as much on campus, face-to-face teaching & learning as is safe, complemented by as much online teaching & learning and guided independent study as is therefore necessary.
  • The universities will ensure that students receive the same quality of learning and have the opportunity for meaningful engagement despite restrictions in place.