Researchers in Ireland affected by Covid-19 to get €47m funding

12 Oct 2020

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The Government said that €47.7m will be provided to support researchers across Ireland who have been seriously impacted by Covid-19.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, confirmed today (12 October) that millions of euro in funding support will be distributed to researchers across Ireland who have been affected by Covid-19.

A total of €47.7m will be made available to contract researchers and research students as part of a €168m package for further and higher education to deal with Covid-19. The funding will be provided to the higher education institutions by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The three higher education institutions to receive the most funding will be University College Dublin (€8.27m), Trinity College Dublin (€8.25m) and University College Cork (€7.8m). €200,000 of the funding has been retained for audit purposes.

“The funding will help to protect both people and projects at a critical moment for Ireland’s national research system as we look towards the next national research and innovation strategy,” Harris said.

“Covid-19 has caused major disruption to Irish higher education institutions (HEIs). Basic and applied research – alongside teaching and learning and engagement – have all been impacted. Some research activities have been paused over recent months, where laboratories have been closed, or access to archives, engagement with focus groups etc, have been curtailed.”

Prioritising funding

The institutions will be expected to prioritise the researchers and research students in greatest need, the Government said, such as those who are coming to the end of their contracts before the end of 2020. They will also continue to pursue other avenues for project completion, for example in the form of budget reallocations.

Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the HEA, said he was “delighted” with the funding news, saying that it will help “protect Ireland’s research, development and innovation sector at this time”.

“Our HEIs continue to play a pivotal role in world-class research providing access to the best talent, research and technology in a collaborative research, development and innovation environment,” he said.

Other funding totals for HEIs include:

  • Dublin City University: €2.909m
  • Maynooth University: €1.797m
  • NUI Galway: €6.18m
  • University of Limerick: €3.757m
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: €1.952m
  • Athlone Institute of Technology: €502,433
  • Cork Institute of Technology: €724,597
  • IT Carlow: €644,504
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology: €319,005
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology: €388,502
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology: €194,821
  • Limerick Institute of Technology: €479,647
  • IT Sligo: €280,269
  • Institute of Technology Tralee: €288,244
  • TU Dublin: €1.793m
  • Waterford Institute of Technology: €964,990

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic