Minister Harris to seek €100 million in funding

Harris is also expected to set out how the public health advice is to work in universities and colleges across the country

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris is expected to seek government approval for over  €100 million in additional funding to help the third-level sector recover from the Covid-19 crisis. 

According to the Irish Times this morning, Harris is also expected to set out how the public health advice is to work in universities and colleges across the country. 

The advice is understood to set out a minimum 2 metre social distancing rule for all third-level institutions.

Harris was appointed to the new role in June, with legislation to establish the new department expected to be passed by the Oireachtas this week.

Last week, Harris was involved in the launch of a five year further education strategy that will see the end of vocationally focused programmes, replacing them with a new Level 5 and Level 6 proposition, and consolidate existing FET provision within a single integrated college structure.

In the beginning of July, Harris announced funding of 4.6 million in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). This funding is to facilitate the immunology research of Covid-19 at Trinity.

According to the Irish Times, this extra funding Harris hopes to receive from government will not extend to giving money for accumulated deficits or losses beyond those related to Covid-19.

The higher education sector has previously stated that they expect a 500 million shortfall this year, as many Irish students are expected to defer, while less international students are expected to study in Ireland following the global pandemic. 

Last week, universities expressed their “disappointment” with scaled back EU funding proposals. The League of European Research Universities (LERU) called for an “ambitious” long-term EU budget for research, innovation and education, calling on the EU for a larger budget for the sector. 

LERU stated before the beginning of the Covid 19 crisis that €120 billion would be necessary to address their needs for the programme. 

LERU represents over 800 universities across Europe, including Trinity. 

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the News Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Fresh English and Philosophy student.