The Education Minister Richard Bruton has announced changes to the way funding for third level education is divided up between colleges and disciplines.
It will see extra money for those that offer more STEM subjects.
It also includes a financial penalty for breaches of governance at institutions, following questions about financial practices at the University of Limerick.
Minister Richard Bruton said: "This will ensure the skill gaps we need to address will be a high priority...We will be promoting innovation (and) research.
"We will (also) be making sure additional money goes to colleges that are supporting people with a disadvantage."