The National University of Ireland, Galway has been awarded £29 million (€36.57m) from the Higher Education Authority under the National Development Plan. The University plans to use this allocation of funds to advance key research and development projects. Two main beneficiaries of the funding are the marine research facility and a proposed Centre for Innovation and Structural Change.
President of NUI, Galway Dr. Iognáid Ó'Muircheartaigh commented "This funding award from the HEA is highly significant for NUI, Galway. Firstly it allows the University to become a major international centre for marine research and establishes us as the main source of marine knowledge in Ireland and secondly, the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change will be central to in-depth analysis of the Irish economy in a way that has not been widely researched in the past."
As well as these projects, the HEA funding will also fund substantial research into three additional areas: biomedical engineering science, human settlement and historical and environmental change. According to NUI Galway's Dean of Research, Professor Ger Hurley, the five projects, when combined, will transform the university. "We will become a research-led institution," he says. "All of this will put us into a different league."
The HEA funding will allow for the radical expansion of the university's marine research resources, which will be allocated £15.1 million (€19.17m) of the overall award. When combined with the imminent relocation of the national Marine Institute from Dublin to Galway, it makes for exciting times in marine circles.
"It's spectacular," says Professor Michael Guiry, director of NUI Galway's existing marine facility, the Martin Ryan Institute. "It will give our work an amazing dimension and depth and we're more than ready for it. We have a very enthusiastic and aggressive research agenda."
Centre for Innovation and Structural Change The university also plans to use £2.2 million (€2.79m) of its HEA allocation to establish a Centre for Innovation and Structural Change – a place where the vagaries and patterns of Irish economic behaviour will be explored and analysed, and the results made publicly available. Resident innovation policy guru, Professor Roy Green says that this data could offer an understanding of the Irish economy that has never before been available to policymakers. It could even reveal the aspects of economic behaviour that need to be in place for prosperity.
"To what extent is knowledge-based activity now sustainable within the Irish economy? How do we measure the extent to which it has become part of the landscape? What are the ingredients for growth? Does the slowdown mean that we're back to square one? That's what this centre is designed to research," says Professor Green.
Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418