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Universities and colleges get funding boost to beef up health and safety measures on campus

Minister Simon Harris said it is important that students have a positive campus experience.

Image: Shutterstock/4H4 Photography

UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES are getting a funding boost of €25 million to help with capital works which will include beefing up health and safety measures on campus.

Third-level institutions – like the country’s schools – closed on foot of guidance from the government in March as Covid-19 cases were beginning to increase sharply in the country. 

Some third-level institutions will continue with online tuition for some courses, or a blend of in-class and online teaching for the upcoming year, however the focus is on ensuring a safe return for students to classes.

The funding will allow institutions address small-scale capital investment and equipment needs, including health and safety works, infrastructure upgrades, ICT and equipment renewal, and energy-related upgrades.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said the allocation represents a significant increase from the €10 million provided in recent years, and is being extended to the university sector for the first time since 2011.

The minister said it is essential that higher education institutions reinvest in their campuses and equipment, stating that more funding was needed to roll out online and blended learning during the pandemic.

Harris said it is important that students have a positive campus experience, adding that the additional money will help transform campus infrastructure over the coming years.

“It also comes at an important time as the sector begins to prepare for the return of students next month,” he said.

Today’s announcement is in addition to the €168 million package of Covid 19-related supports for further and higher education institutions announced last month.

The funding will see UCD getting €2.5 million, UCC getting over €1.9 million, NUIG reciving over 1.75 million and Trinity College getting over €1.75 million. Maynooth University will get over €1.1 million, while University Limerick will get €1.75 million.

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DCU is to get €1.482 million, Mary Immaculate College will receive €443,000 and the National College of Art and Design will receive €179,000
Technology Institutes will also get over €12 million.

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