In a recent report conducted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Ireland was ranked 23rd out of 37 OECD countries in relation to research spending in 2018, a drastic drop of nine places since 2008. As a result, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) called for “a step change” in R&D investment.

Dr Lisa Keating, IUA director of research and innovation commented on the importance of this report to highlight “Ireland’s vibrant research ecosystem” and the urgency of reversing the drop in these rankings. Keating stated that “bringing government investment levels in research in line with Ireland’s competitors is critical”.

The newly formed Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science led by Minister Simon Harris will be vital in recognising and realising the significance of further investment in research and development. UCD Research, Innovation and Impact is in agreement that the Department “represents a key opportunity for Ireland to support the development of new knowledge, talents and innovations and will be an enabler of a more sustainable future”.

UCD welcomes increased funding to aid the development of “a strong, well-funded national research and innovation ecosystem”  which “is essential to develop our talent base, to deliver jobs and prosperity, and to generate the breakthroughs needed to respond to societal challenges”.

As a University, UCD advocates for “enhanced investment supports for PhD and research students”, as well as continued support for research interruptions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The IUA’s request for increased funding shows that investment in research and development has been long overdue and profoundly welcome by Irish Universities.

Mollie Downes – Reporter