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£34m funds boost for new cross-border programme

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Announcement: Micheal Martin revealed the funding for the new scheme. Credit: Julian Behal Photography

Announcement: Micheal Martin revealed the funding for the new scheme. Credit: Julian Behal Photography

Announcement: Micheal Martin revealed the funding for the new scheme. Credit: Julian Behal Photography

A new cross-border research programme is to receive €40m (£34.3) in funding from the Irish Government.

Individual researchers, research teams and higher education institutions North and South will benefit from the finance, which is being provided by the Shared Island Fund.

The first round of applications for the programme is due to open before the end of this year.

Projects between two individual researchers based in the Republic and Northern Ireland could receive up to €100,000 (£85,600) per year for up to two years, while larger projects between North-South research teams and institutions could get up to €1m (£856,000) each year for four years.

The funding is the single largest allocation from the €500m (£428) Shared Island fund to date.

Investment for long-standing cross-border infrastructure projects including the Ulster Canal and Narrow Water Bridge have already been announced as part of the project.

The latest investment was formally announced on Monday by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris.

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The Taoiseach said this was an “exciting opportunity” to bring researchers, research teams and third level institutions North and South together and build on existing relationships and cooperation.

“I have always been a strong supporter of comprehensive and well-funded research programmes – it’s an investment in knowledge and skills, but more importantly, it’s an investment in the future of this island,” the Taoiseach said.

“This is a very exciting opportunity – the programme will bring individual researchers, research teams and third level institutions North and South together, collaborating across a range of areas and work programmes.

“This work will build on the cooperation which already exists and will broaden and deepen relationships between the partner institutions.

“I am delighted to announce this funding alongside the Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris and I look forward to the first call for applications being launched later this year.”

The Taoiseach said the funding will not be matched by Northern Ireland, saying “that’s not the intention”.

However, he said it can be matched if politicians in the North decide to do that.

Mr Harris said the funding had the ability to be “transformational”, in terms of building links between researchers and institutions on both sides of the border.

“This funding is about “co-operation on the issues that matter to all of us”, he added.

“We can achieve so much when we work together and it is vitally important we work together to face the great challenges we are facing as a country and a world,” he added.

The funding will be allocated following two calls for applications, the first before the end of this year, and the second round in the third year of the programme and it will be run by the Higher Education Authority.

CEO Dr Alan Wall welcomed the funding, which he said would enable the HEA to support a range of cross-border research projects of “varying sizes and across all disciplines”

"The programme will build on our successful Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) approach, whereby we supported comprehensive capability-building across the research system," said Dr Wells.


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