UCD will be provided with €8,273,620 of a €47 million euro fund for research contractors and research students whose work has been heavily impacted by Covid-19, Simon Harris has announced.
The funding comes secured as part of a €168 million package for further and higher education in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the government’s press release, Simon Harris highlighted how the funding will reignite research activities which were affected by the pandemic: “COVID-19 has caused major disruption to Irish higher education institutions. Basic and applied research, alongside teaching & 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.”
He also stated, “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.”
The Knowledge Transfers Ireland’s latest Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey (2019) confirms the positive impact on society and the economy of research and innovative work carried out in the sector, including against the fight of Covid-19. From spin-out companies of research, over 1,000 jobs have been created in 2019, as well as 26 new products and services launched, according the 2019 report. As a result, this funding seeks to protect this research, by supporting researchers and research students seriously disrupted by the pandemic.
According to the Department of Further and Higher Education Research, in the utilisation of the funds, the institutions will prioritise the researchers and research students in the greatest need, for example those coming to the end of a contract in 2020. The institutions are expected to pursue all avenues for project completion as well, including the re-allocation of the current budget in order to more effectively reach the research demands.
The 47 Million will be divided out amongst a number of different institutions, including UCD, UCC, TCD, and more. Of the institutions, DCU received the highest level of funding.
The funding, says the Department, 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 (the successor to Innovation 2020) and the next European funding programme (Horizon Europe).
Adam Doyle – Reporter