All told, it has been a busy but rewarding year for the IUA. Among the many key highlights were:
In January we started with a bang hosting a major conference on the comparison between Irish and European Universities. A leading European expert presented data showing Ireland’s third-level sector as “a system in danger”. Our new sectoral Group on Equality & Diversity was also formed and is playing a key role in driving the equality and inclusion agenda.
In April we launched an independent Impact Report by Indecon that showed, for the first time ever, that the 7 IUA universities contribute €9billion per year to the Irish economy, a nine-fold return on the €1bn annual State funding.
In July we launched our ‘Future of Ireland’ talk series with Fianna Fail Leader, Micheal Martin, TD who pledged to set up a new Department of Higher Education and Research.
In October, the first €60m of the Human Capital Initiative was announced as part of Budget 2020. The money is from the National Training Fund reserves, but with that reserve set to grow to €1 billion by the end of 2020, we believe that a lot more needs to be done.
In November, our Enhancing Digital Teaching & Learning Project was formally launched. This first-of-a-kind project funded by the HEA has the potential to make a real difference in the learning environment in our universities.
Throughout the year, we continued to represent universities with many government departments and agencies. We also saw further expansion of the Euraxess Fast-Track visa programme for researchers, just one of the many services run from the IUA office.
While we’re looking forward to the Christmas break, we are already planning a range of activities for 2020. We think it’ll be another busy year! Thank you for your support throughout 2019. We wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year and look forward to working with you in 2020.
P.S. The office will be closed on 24th December and reopens 2nd January.