Universities Welcome Historic Breakthrough in Basic Research Funding

Dr. Danny O’Hare, Chairman, C.H.I.U.
Thursday, 19th November, 1998 @ 10.00 a.m.

Dr. Danny O’Hare, Chairman, C.H.I.U., speaking on behalf of University Heads today welcomed the £180m investment initiative for basic research, announced by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Education and Science.

C.H.I.U. considers this programme to be an historic breakthrough and the single most important initiative undertaken by any Irish government in investing in the country’s research infrastructure.

The announcement represents a quantum leap in Government investment strategy, recognising the importance of investment in intellectual infrastructure as a key means of underpinning our economic and social development.

The initiative, which is a clear endorsement by Government of the expertise and international reputation of Irish university research, provides a boost and will support Irish researchers across a full range of disciplines in their efforts to be at the leading edge in research methodologies.

Dr. O’ Hare pointed out, that despite inadequate facilities, university researchers have competed aggressively and successfully for contract research from the EU and other sources and earned substantial sums from research projects. Investment in state-of-the-art facilities and training under this initiative will enhance the universities’ capacity to compete for research contracts and collaborate with industry.

Dr. O’Hare recalled that Minister Martin, on taking up office, stressed the need for the state and universities to work in partnership in the interest of the country’s economic and social development. The initiative is a practical and potent expression of how government, universities and the private sector can work together in a progressive and productive partnership.

Dr. O’Hare said: “This initiative delivers on a key C.H.I.U. priority – to achieve a significant increase in state funding of basic research”. He also noted that universities have more than delivered on their part of the previous £60m, 50:50 public/private partnership capital programme with Government and will equally rise to meet the challenge created by this new initiative.

C.H.I.U. is also happy to play its part in this latest initiative to build Ireland’s research base and is anxious that delivery of new research facilities is fast-tracked. To this end, C.H.I.U. will co-operate fully with the Department of Education and Science and the HEA to ensure speedy approval of these and other public/private funded projects. Dr. O’Hare also acknowledged the important contributions made by officers of the Departments of Education and Science and Finance and the HEA in putting the package together.

Concluding, Dr. O’Hare said: “The Taoiseach and Ministers Martin and Treacy and their colleagues, have clearly demonstrated the visionary leadership and political commitment necessary for Ireland to become a world leader in research in the next millennium”.

For information, contact:
Michael McGrath,
Tel: (01) 676 4948