Protecting higher education during a crisis

One country that often gets mentioned in Ireland as being a rival in seeking foreign direct investment and promoting indigenous innovation is Singapore. Although like us an island state, and having a population of roughly the same size as ours, in terms of land mass it is one of the smallest countries in the world. To put that in perspective, it is about one-third of the size of County Westmeath.

In terms of its pirorities and ambitions, there are however similarities with Ireland. Singapore has positioned itself as a global financial services centre, and has developed a strong performance in the biopharmaceutical area. It has prioritised the strategy for a knowledge society and economy, and has placed great emphasis on R&D.

And now, most recently, it has taken steps to protect universities in the event of future economic crises: it has set up the ‘Singapore Universities Trust’, through which $4 billion will be provided to secure universities into the future.

Ireland is frequently bidding against Singapore when attracting high value investments. If we are seen to be less serious about universities than they are, it may hurt us considerably. It may be timely therefore to look at this initiative to see whether it could or should be replicated here.

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5 Comments on “Protecting higher education during a crisis”

  1. Vincent Says:

    No one knows where Westmeath is beyond thataway, doing a one handed jazz-hands in the general direction. And as to the size of the place, it’s bigger that Louth and smaller that Cork. It’s Iowa.

  2. Al Says:

    Looking at recent events, we havent got a great reputation for looking after money.
    If we had the trust fund in operation, how many hotels would it have owned, and would it have been in NAMA by now…

  3. Mark Dowling Says:

    Singapore is an outlier on many indices, not least because of its political structure which is a smidgen short of outright authoritarian. Parliamentary dictatorship is one way to get things done, to be sure. Also, when your country is the size of Westmeath, you don’t have to worry about diluting your education structures with third level colleges in places as rural as… Westmeath.

  4. Kevin O'Brien Says:

    Ireland should probably try and follow the example of the Silicon Fen in Cambridge, or the Research Triangle in the USA.


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