The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) will protest outside the Dáil today alongside the PhDs’ Collective Action Union (PCAU) at 1pm.
In their stand for “research excellence through equity”, the USI has backed PhD student collectives in a call for an urgent increase of annual postgraduate stipends, demanding a minimum annual stipend of €28,000 for all current postgraduate researchers.
The USI and the PCAU have both stated that the current PhD stipend is insufficient, with the situation made worse by the current cost-of-living crisis and inflation levels.
The PCAU issued an open letter requesting a meeting between the group’s Acting President and the various PhD funding agencies to discuss how the situation can be resolved.
The letter addressed the increased inflation rates, stating that “the current (average) stipend of €18,500 has the same purchasing power as a €17,000 stipend pre-inflation, when current first-year PhD students accepted their roles.”
USI Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs, Waqar Ahmed, addressed the announcement from the Minister for Further and Higher Education in which 400 doctoral students will be recruited through a public-private partnership on a 28,000 annual stipend.
Ahmed called it “completely inequitable and unfair”, as it fails to increase the pay for the 10, 000 existing postgraduate research students.
The calls for action and protests of the USI and PCAU demonstrates PhD students’ determination to be recognized for their “important role in the advancement of Irish society and the economy”, as described by Ahmed.