Launch of the Irish Universities Study

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The President of UCD and IUA, Dr. Hugh Brady, today launched the Irish Universities Study. Using advanced internet survey techniques the longitudinal study will capture key information from undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in our universities. Areas covered include the education experience, economic expectations, personal development and health. The sector-wide survey is a major innovation providing the universities with the ability to formulate policy for students and researchers based on sound evidence. Ultimately the results will play an important role in improving the standard of living for students in Irish universities and contributing to the development of university education in Ireland.

The project will run for three years and is funded equally by the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund [SIF] and the seven universities. Speaking about the study Dr. Hugh Brady says: "This pioneering research programme will enable the universities to make strategic policy decisions and will inform the development of key resources including teaching and learning, quality assurance and students services, informed by student feedback".

The study is being carried out by the Geary Institute in UCD on behalf of the Irish Universities Association [IUA]. Speaking today at the launch the Director of the UCD Geary Institute, Professor Colm Harmon said "The study is a particularly important and timely one. It will produce a fine set of academic publications, will be the foundation for creating a new higher education research capacity at UCD, but will also be firmly embedded into the planning process for the Irish higher education system".

The keynote address was given by Professor Ronald Ehrenberg of Cornell University, one of the most prolific and well regarded labour economists of the last 30 years. Professor Ehrenberg stressed the economic and social value of education, the need to nurture this belief in secondary school, and the critical need to avoid underinvestment in fourth level areas. He emphasized the importance of carrying out research to gather information of the type the Irish Universities Study (IUS) will capture. This study will play a central role for the future development of higher education policy in Ireland.

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