Minister Harris announced on Monday that the Creative Futures Academy – a joint project between UCD, IADT and NCAD – would receive €10 million in funding under the Human Capital Initiative.

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, announced that the Creative Futures Academy, along with 22 other projects, would receive funding to prompt innovative methods of teaching and delivery, to provide more engaging ways of learning, and to offer lifelong, upskilling opportunities for all. 

The Department of Further and Higher and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science stated in Monday’s press release that “the projects include the use of virtual laboratories in higher education, a new hub to upskill the building sector on green construction, and the establishment of Creative Futures Academy to support digital and screen culture, cinema, literature and broadcasting, art, design, and fashion.” 

The funding has been awarded under Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 3, Innovation and Agility, which is the final pillar to be announced and commands a €197 million budget over a five year period. This government-funded initiative was announced in Budget 2019 to support the development of business, industry and labour market skills. 

Former Health Minister Simon Harris remarked that the much-needed third-level funding would change teaching and learning in a post-pandemic Ireland. “This global pandemic has reinforced the need for us all to be agile and diverse. Crucially though it requires us to develop new skills and equip the next generation with the critical importance to the economy and the workplace of the future.” 

Of the 22 innovative projects in higher education institutions delivered by HCI pillar 3, 17 will involve collaborations between institutions. The project will allow future students to mix and match modules from degree courses across the country’s seven traditional universities. It will also fund projects such as TCD’s “next-generation” teaching initiative, DCU’s radical restructuring of its undergraduate curriculum, and a project to develop the next generation of graduates for the health and life sciences industry sector in Cork. 

IADT President David Smith remarked on the significance of the funding to the alliance; “The Academy presents three established centres of excellence with a unique opportunity to accelerate the professional growth and impact of the creative and cultural sectors.”

The College Tribune reached out to UCD and the SU and for further comments on the announcement but did not receive a response at the time of publishing. Any additional comments will be added to this article accordingly.

Iseult O’Callaghan – Reporter