NUI Galway Awarded €7.5 Million for Next Generation Graduates Project

Oct 08 2020 Posted: 12:28 CDT

NUI Galway has been awarded €7.5 million in funding this week for its ‘ASPIRE: Next Generation Graduates’ project as part of the Human Capital Initiative funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The goal of ASPIRE is to enable every student to succeed in the future world of work. ASPIRE will ultimately empower every student to design their personalised skills development pathway, and to have their transversal skills achievements recognised on graduation alongside their degree. This approach, if more widely adopted, could position Ireland as a leader in innovative, student-centred and enterprise-engaged education in Europe. ASPIRE will initially transform undergraduate Arts and Science programmes and then building out to all students.

Innovative methods of teaching and delivery will be promoted in this project, so that learners will benefit from improved quality and more engaging ways of learning on enterprise-focused courses, providing lifelong learning and upskilling opportunities for all.

Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3, Innovation and Agility is the final pillar to be announced of this initiative and commands a total budget of €197 million over the 5-year period, 2020 to 2024. Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3 will deliver 22 projects in higher education institutions, 17 of which involve collaborations between institutions.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the broad range of projects that will be funded under the HCI Pillar 3. These projects will develop and change teaching and learning. This global pandemic has reinforced the need for us all to be agile and diverse. Crucially though it requires us to develop new skills and equip the next generation with the critical importance to the economy and the workplace of the future.”

Caroline Loughnane, Secretary for Governance and Academic Affairs, NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding and endorsement of our approach for a student-centred skills development programme. ASPIRE will establish education partnerships with enterprise, address education gaps identified by student union officers and staff alike, and adopt best practise from leading universities abroad. We look forward to collaborating with our campus community and in our region to make this happen.”

Higher Education Authority CEO, Dr Alan Wall, has congratulated all of the higher education institutions receiving funding under the HCI scheme: “It is great to see the culmination of this process as it represents hundreds of hours of work by the Higher Education Authority working with the higher education institutions and our international panel.”

The ASPIRE: Next Generation Graduates project is led by NUI Galway, partnered by a consortium of large and small enterprises, and draws on best practice in design thinking and trans-disciplinary learning pioneered by Stanford University and Georgia Institute of Technology in the US and the University of Strathclyde in Europe.

ASPIRE is strategically aligned with NUI Galway’s ambition to transform undergraduate education, starting with Arts and Science. All of the West of Ireland’s key industry clusters are represented in this project including Medtronic and Boston Scientific, Aerogen, Veryan Medical, Mbryonics, SAP and Channel Mechanics, Rent the Runway and Galway International Arts Festival.

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