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Posted: 15 September 2006

University Co-operation Accord Agreed

The Heads of the seven Irish universities have agreed a Co-operation Accord. The Accord sets out the agreed grounds for a step change in the already high level of collaboration across the sector necessary for the universities to deliver on the Government’s objectives set out in the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. The Accord has been sent to the Higher Education Authority.

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IUA Co-operation Accord

The seven Irish universities have a long track record of collaboration across key areas including – admission [CAO], quality [IUQB], research, access, international activities and administrative systems.

The Irish Government have set a challenging objective in its 2006 Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation namely “to build up a sustainable system of world class research teams in terms of people and supporting infrastructure”. The IUA in a proposal to the Government of October 2005-Reform of 3rd Level and Creation of 4th Level Ireland: Securing Competitive Advantage in the 21st Century- had set forth an equally challenging vision for Irish Education and had underlined the requirement for “high activity collaborations across the Irish university sector” in implementing that vision.

We the Chief Officers of the seven Irish universities that form the IUA, commit to continue to work together in support of the Government’s objective, fully accepted by all of us, to have a world-class higher education and research system in Ireland.

The development of an international class higher education and research sector as a whole will benefit from greatly enhanced collaboration between us. Individual universities will identify where they are internationally recognised in their own right and will seek strategic, collaborative alliances with other Irish and non Irish universities so as to build the critical mass which will enable our universities to compete successfully on a global scale.

We recognise the value of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers and support and endorse the principles set down in them and wish to build on them.

Against that background we have now agreed to initiate a formal process of discussions between us to identify the areas of strategic importance to each of our Universities and to Ireland, which we believe to be the essential foundation for effective cooperation in the development of the universities and of the higher education and research sector as a whole. In that context we agree and undertake that:

  • recruitment of academic staff shall be open and transparent and on the basis of international best practice;

  • universities shall undertake to safeguard public investment in strategic research programmes through robust contractual arrangements with the senior researcher recruited to lead or drive those programmes, including where relevant minimum periods of appointment;

  • universities shall be mindful of the areas of strategic importance of each university and of the need to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of public investment in individual institutions and across the sector with a view to building up the critical mass necessary to compete at the global level; universities in seeking to develop new or existing research areas, shall, in the first instance, critically examine the potential for collaboration with other institutions currently active in these areas and Collaborate where there is distinct added value to be achieved.

    We agree to review the operation of this accord in the light of our agreement on the areas of strategic importance for our universities and of the practical experience of cooperation between us in the implementation of the Government’s Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation and we will do so on an annual basis.

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