The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Studies (IRCHSS) announced their plans to establish the Graduate Research Education Programmes (GREP).
Initially, funding of between €6-10m will be provided for the GREP programme, supplied jointly by the two national research councils, both of which are funded under the National Development Plan (NDP).
It is hoped that through GREP postgraduate education and research will be more formally structured, along the lines of an American graduate school model.
This move, the Government hopes, will fulfill the aim of doubling the number of postgraduate qualifications in Ireland by 2013.
Professor Jane Grimson, the chair of IRCSET, said: “Graduate Research Education Programmes will bring together groupings of expertise focused on high-quality research. They will provide a more formalised and structured approach to research education and career formation for doctoral and masters scholars.
“This initiative will equip Ireland’s higher education institutions and researchers to participate in the type of world-class programmes which Ireland requires to compete even more successfully in the international research and enterprise environments.”
All higher educations institutes have been invited to apply for this funding and it is available for programmes lasting up to five years.
There are a number of different categories in which grants will be allocated, including course development and delivery for research students and recruitment of research students into programmes.
The GREP initiative came about following extensive consultation throughout 2005 and 2006 between IRCSET, IRCHSS and the higher education research community.
The number of students pursuing postgraduate studies in Ireland has been increasing over the past few years. In 2000-2001 there were 17,218, and that figure rose to 22,316 in the 2005-2006 period.
However, only 4,500 of these were involved in PhD studies.
By Marie Boran