Taoiseach Micheal Martin TD and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD have announced €40 million for a North-South Research programme.
This significant investment, provided through the Shared Island Fund, will support the deepening of links between higher education institutions, researchers and research communities on the island of Ireland.
Speaking today, the Taoiseach said "All island research cooperation is one of my Government’s top priorities and the allocation of €40m from the Shared Island Fund to the new North-South Research Programme sends a clear signal of our commitment to foster new North-South research collaborations. 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 continued "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."
Minister Harris added "This is a really exciting opportunity for an all-Island approach to research and innovation. This is about co-operation on the issues that matter to all of us. 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.
"This funding will support individual researchers based in an Irish higher education institution (HEI) to collaborate with a researcher in a HEI in Northern Ireland on an identified research project, or research teams to collaborate on an agreed work programme."
In the Year 1 call, Strand I projects may receive a maximum of €100,000 per annum for up to two years, while Strands II and III projects may receive up to €1 million per annum for up to four years. A maximum of 50% of any award may be allocated to NI partners.
At the end of Year 2, a review will be undertaken of the projects funded thus far in order to inform the format of the second call.
CEO of the Higher Education Authority Dr. Alan Wall commented "I greatly welcome this funding from the Shared Island Fund which will 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."
Investment in research is a key priority in the Programme for Government, which contains commitments to "develop and deepen all aspects of north-south cooperation" and to "support a north-south programme of research and innovation".
This announcement is the single largest allocation to date from the €500m Shared Island Fund, further highlighting the importance that the Government is placing on high quality, comprehensive research, while complementing other Shared Island investments, which have focused on long standing infrastructure projects like the Ulster Canal and Narrow Water Bridge.