Irish Government gives boost to graduate research education
Two national research councils, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Studies (IRCHSS), have announced a major new funding initiative for the establishment of graduate research education programmes in Ireland. The initiative is expected to help Irish researchers perform better both nationally and in the European Research Area and beyond. In 2007 alone, the initiative will award €6-10 million to proposals from consortia of higher education institutes that wish to set up a graduate research education programme. Its aim is to provide a more structured approach to postgraduate training in Ireland, along the lines of graduate schools, bringing together groupings of expertise focused on high quality research. To be eligible, programmes must include funding for PhD student recruitment, and course development for, and delivery to, research students. Initiatives designed to assist in the administration of the programme, in the development of graduate education networks, and in the recruitment of well-qualified students, are also eligible for funding. The new initiative is funded by the Irish Government as part of its strategy to double the number of postgraduates by 2013, so that there are 1,000 PhDs awarded every year. Graduate Research Education Programmes are seen to play a pivotal role in reaching this goal and positioning Irish expertise at the forefront of global research developments. With a focus on excellence, these programmes are expected to help better equip Irish research teams to compete for State research funding, as well as for European funding, through such structures as the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and the European Research Council (ERC), which is part of FP7. 'They will serve to foster our indigenous research base, attracting new research funding and talent to our shores and enhancing Ireland's international reputation as a world centre of research excellence,' reads a joint statement from the IRCSET and IRCHSS.