This afternoon, Irish Universities Association (IUA) and Trinity announced the acquisition of new government-backed funding for two separate academic initiatives.
IUA has announced €12.3 million in funding a new, innovative ECTS-weighted micro-credentials scheme, offering more short course options delivered through variable methods.
Welcoming the boost of government funding, a spokesperson for IUA stated: “Through the Micro-Credentials (MC2) project, the IUA universities will establish a coherent national framework for ECTS-bearing micro-credentials, a system of certified qualifications in short courses delivered in flexile formats.”
They continued: “This first-of-its-kind project will increase Irish University capacity to adapt high-demand modules and develop tailored courses to suit the needs of enterprise and learners.”
The IUA’s MC2 Project will be rolled out through the deployment of four separate strands over the next five years.
Strand 1 of the project consists of developing the necessary architecture for the system, while Strand 2 of the project will implement a “structured process for meaningful and ongoing collaboration with enterprise”.
Strand 3 will generate an online portal for learners, including information on the aforementioned micro-credentials, while Strand 4 seeks to provide for the “rapid development of capacity”.
An estimated 5,000 new and additional student places will be created across the universities under this phase.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Miley, IUA’s Director General added: “[This funding] will enable Ireland to become the first country in Europe to establish a coherent, fully accredited programme of quality-assured micro-credentials across the network of universities.”
The IUA also revealed they had been accredited an extra €6.9 million in funding for another project in partnership with Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) and Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), “realizing the potential of Recognition of Prior Learning(RPL)” as contributing to a dynamic workforce.
In a separate press release, Trinity was “delighted” to unveil the additional €21 million in funding it received from the Higher Education Authority’s(HEA) Human Capital Initiative.
Speaking on the announcement, Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer Professor Jürgen Barkhoff explained: “This is a fantastic achievement for Trinity and testimony to the enormous appetite for teaching and innovation across our Schools and Faculties.”
The Vice-Provost concluded: “It will provide the means for a significant step-change in our approach to areas such as digitally enhanced education and flexible, lifelong learning.”