The new name better represents the objectives of the organisation and its work on behalf of the seven universities. The IUA provides a forum for the Presidents and senior officers of the universities to identify the strategic challenges facing the university system and to agree on the policies and plans for tackling them and developing the sector.
As well as representing the universities, the IUA has undertaken substantive work on behalf of the universities in areas such as the following –
- Establishing expertiseireland.com with the financial assistance of InterTradeIreland which now has online profiles of over 3,700 experts from the nine universities north and south, and a growing number from the Institutes of Technology.
- Operating the National Office for the Marie Curie Scheme –the most successful programme for Irish Research under the EU6th Framework Programme with funding of €42m already secured
- Setting up the Irish Researchers' Mobility Office & Portal with financial support from the European Commission and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Speaking at the launch, Prof. Ferdinand von Prondzynski, President of DCU said: "The change of name is timely, and will allow us to focus our efforts more effectively. We know that Ireland's growth and competitiveness depends on the universities being effective and coherent in acting together. We know that universities are critical in securing a succesful economy, a vibrant cultural life and a stable society. The universities must improve the international ranking of the system, but also exercise leadership within Ireland during these challenging times."
Professor von Prondzynski used this opportunity to call on action by the government to deal with the critical issue of university funding as recommended by the OECD Report published over a year ago. He stated: "The present financial position of the sector is totally unsustainable. It's a problem that can be solved, but it needs to be solved right now, not next year, not some time in the future". He said that the IUA will continue to work in partnership with the government, its departments and agencies, the European Commission and other stakeholders. He said: "The objective is to make Ireland a leading knowledge society. It cannot be done without us. We are here to help."