Universities endorse EU role in education

THE seven university presidents have given their approval to Ireland’s continued engagement at the heart of the EU and have highlighted the positive part Europe has played in third-level education.

Although not specifically calling for a Yes vote in next week’s referendum, a joint statement pointed to the key role of the EU in campus development, student mobility and research.

“It is now more vital than ever to secure the effective functioning of the union and Ireland’s place within it,” they said in a statement released through the Irish Universities Association (IUA).

“EU policy has been instrumental in driving and supporting the expansion and modernisation of the higher education system and enhancing its impact on the economy and society.”

The presidents said EU structural funds and the resources of the European Investment Bank were very important in supporting additional student intake and necessary infrastructure at a time when Ireland could not have made these investments on its own.

Schemes such as the Erasmus initiative help to broaden student experience in the European context. More than 35,000 Irish students have benefited from the scheme while 50,000 EU students have studied here as part of the programme.

The IUA statement went on to reveal that Ireland secured more than €200 million under the latest research framework programme and is on its way to bringing the figure to €600m in the next round of funding.


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