Universities launch Charter urging Government to make Irish education best in Europe

Posted 17 September, 2018

  • Six-point plan to achieve a Irish university system that can compete with Europe’s top-performing colleges. 
  • Universities are seeking more autonomy, greater hiring flexibility, and more state investment.
  • The Irish Universities Association has facilitated the Charter, which is the first of its kind for Ireland.

University College Dublin has joined with six other universities in calling on the Government “to step up” and make Irish education the best in Europe.

Irish universities are seeking more autonomy, greater hiring flexibility, and more state investment so they can compete with Europe’s top-performing colleges.

The joint campaign – Ireland’s Future Talent: A Charter for Irish Universitieshas identified six key objectives to achieve this goal by 2026.



These include improving digital experience, investment in research and innovation, expanded student access, staff development programmes, greater independence, and increasing state investment.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has facilitated the Charter, which is the first of its kind in third level education history in Ireland.

The body represents Ireland’s seven universities: Dublin City University, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick.

Speaking at the its launch, Professor Patrick O’Shea, President of UCC and Chair of the Irish Universities Association said: “Ireland has long extoled the virtue of our indigenous talent, nurtured by our education system. 

“However, a decade of under-investment by the State, the demographic bulge and a dynamic, competitive international education environment forces us all to confront stark realities. 

“It is incumbent on the State, on universities and on society to implement initiatives to develop and fully realise our national talent. The time for talking is over. The time for change has come.”            

He added: “The importance of the Charter is that it underpins a commitment to substantial change. It calls out the challenges. It identifies solutions. It puts meat on the bones of the Government’s ambition. 

“This Charter captures our commitment and it is now incumbent on the Government to meet the challenge.”   

Jim Miley, Director General of the Irish Universities Association said: “The political community now needs to step up to the challenge and match the ambition and commitment demonstrated by the universities.”

He added: “We require a transformation of how university education is controlled including freeing universities from the grinding levers of State to allow them innovate and grow. This requires more flexible structures combined with strong governance and accountability.”

“Every politician is aware of the major funding deficit for third level, yet no progress has been made on re-vamping the overall structure, despite clear options proposed by the Government-appointed expert group.”

Full details of Ireland’s Future Talent: A Charter for Irish Universities are available here.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations