Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Research and Development

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin Bay North, Labour)
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218. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the serious disruption to research activity due to Covid-19; if his attention has further been drawn to the requirement for additional investment to allow research programmes to be extended; if his attention has been drawn to the proposal for a research and innovation fund with €80 million per year extra to support investment in third-level research, researchers and renewal of outdated research equipment and infrastructure; and his views on the need for such a fund. [6008/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I understand that many researchers in response to the changes arising from the closure of campuses and laboratories, were able to pivot their research work programmes, where possible to try to minimise the impact of the crisis on their research.

Researchers across higher education have also mobilised to re-direct research activity toward the national response to COVID-19 and these are adding significantly to the national effort to combat the virus and assist us on the path to recovery.

The research funding agencies are committed to work individually and on a collective basis when appropriate to ensure a coherent, flexible and pragmatic approach regarding research projects which have been impacted.

The projected financial impact of Covid19 on Higher Education and the Tertiary Education system as a whole is being assessed by my Department as part of its ongoing analysis of the impact of Covid19 on the education sector overall.  The provision of additional financial support to support Tertiary Education to ensure that it can contribute fully to economic recovery including through the higher education research system and to meeting priority skill needs will be examined in the context of overall expenditure management and budgetary policy. The Department will continue to engage with key stakeholders to safeguard the recovery of the tertiary education sector.


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