€10m in capital grants announced for Irish institutes of technology

30 Sep 2016

DIT Grangegorman campus. Image: William Murphy/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Irish Government has announced plans to roll out €10m in capital grants to the country’s institutes of technology in an attempt to address any critical infrastructure and ICT shortcomings.

There are currently 14 institutes of technology spread across the country that range from small populations of less than 3,500 students, to larger ones of over 7,000.

Now, under a new grant scheme announced by The Department of Education and Skills, they will receive grants starting from €590,000 per school up to €900,000 to go towards their most critical areas of need: health and safety, infrastructure and ICT.

Future Human

‘Each of the institutes of technology must ensure value for money’

The Government has said that it will be geared towards funding a range of small-scale building works and refurbishment of existing facilities.

The two largest institutes in the country – Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) – will be the only recipients of the largest €900,000 grant.

Meanwhile, seven other institutes in the country – Athlone IT, Carlow IT, Dundalk IT, Galway-Mayo IT, Limerick IT, IT Sligo and Waterford IT – will each receive a sum of €750,000.

Finally, five institutes – Blanchardstown IT, Dún Laoghaire IADT, Letterkenny IT, IT Tallaght and Tralee IT – will each receive a sum of €590,000.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD said: “The funding will allow institutes to undertake necessary improvement works, address urgent health and safety concerns, and to commence programmes of equipment renewal, including upgrade of IT facilities.

“It is a hugely important investment for the sector. In deployment of the grant, each of the institutes of technology must ensure value for money, clear prioritisation and demonstrable impact on the capacity of the institute to deliver on its strategic goals, and this must be demonstrated.”

Follows calls for greater university funding

However, the announcement comes not long after the standing of Ireland’s universities took something of a major blow earlier this month, with news that many have fallen in the two biggest university rankings.

In both the Times Higher Education rankings and the QS Global University rankings, no Irish institute made the top 200.

While these rankings are often criticised by some in academia, organisations like the Irish Universities Association (IUA) have previously spoken of a lack of funding as being a serious problem for Irish education.

IUA chief executive Ned Costello said on 6 September: “We can no longer hide from the corrosive effect which years of cutbacks are having on our higher education system. At a time when we are more dependent than ever on the talent of our people for our economic future, we simply must invest in our universities.”

DIT Grangegorman campus. Image: William Murphy/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic