Programme for Research

Today – Thursday, January 8 – the Irish Government announced the Fifth Cycle of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). Well, when I say ‘announced’, I mean they published a statement declaring that the new cycle of PRTLI would now get under way, in the form of as press release that was put on the website of the Department of Education and Science some time this morning. There was no media event of any kind, and indeed no statement was made to the programme’s clients at all. However, I absolutely must not be churlish, the great thing is that the Programme is back under way; some of us had feared that this might not happen. So all credit to the Government and to the Minister; this has been a good news day, and we have precious few of these.

Of course it is clear why I think this is good news – but will that be the view of the wider population? As I have been saying on this site, the way forward for Ireland is high value innovation. That requires high value research with visible outputs, and the research in turn requires facilities and equipment that are excellent by international standards; and it is this latter need that the new Cycle of PRTLI will largely be designed to meet. If the money is allocated in an intelligent and strategic manner, and if it is well spent, it will make Ireland more attractive as a location for high value investment, and it will provide opportunities for indigenous R&D benefiting all sectors. It will also create an environment in which scholarship in the arts and humanities will create the knowledge and conditions for a stable and equitable society.

PRTLI will also encourage something else the country needs: inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration, that allows us to pool resources and create a critical mass of expertise. All universities and colleges will be looking hard over the next weeks to build or develop alliances and partnerships to meet the PRTLI conditions, and again, that is good for Ireland.

I believe this is a good news story for everyone. Sustainable jobs for the next generation will be the ultimate outcome. And Ireland’s reputation as a knowledge centre will be enhanced.

Explore posts in the same categories: higher education, politics, university

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