The annual Higher Education and Research conference took place this past weekend with the British Irish Chamber of Commerce calling on policymakers to pursue and strengthen their relationship with universities in the United Kingdom.
Such a move would be hugely beneficial in realising Ireland’s potential in becoming a global research centre after Brexit has been finalised.
Leading policymakers, researchers and educators from both Ireland and the UK were brought together by the ‘UK-Ireland Higher Education and Research Partnership: The Next Steps’. Other stakeholders involved in the conference were the Higher Education Authority, Mazars and Science Foundation Ireland.
The Patron of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, Niall Fitzgerald addressed the crowd of just over 150 attendees saying, “Today’s discussions give a unique opportunity to demonstrate clearly the vital role of our higher education and research sector in the UK and Ireland, and to make the case to government and to industry for much greater commitment to its future sustainability. Regardless of any wider context, it is in both Ireland’s and the UK’s interests to find initiatives and mechanisms that can proactively support further practical collaborations between and across the two islands.”
The event was opened by Mary Mitchell O’Connor, the Minister of State for Higher Education. Speaking at the event, she said: “Despite the UK leaving the EU before the end of January, Ireland will continue to cultivate stronger ties with world-leading universities in the UK.”
This relationship would benefit both countries and would act as a catalyst in developing research and strengthening the investment within Irish third-level institutions. O’Connor went on to say, “I commend the British Irish Chamber of Commerce for their pioneering efforts to incentivise greater collaboration in higher education and research across the Irish Sea.”
Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ciarán Seoighe said: “UK Ireland relations are an important focus for Science Foundation Ireland. We look forward to building on this excellent foundation, strengthening our research relations and together, leveraging opportunities to develop shared areas of expertise.”
Mazars, an internationally acclaimed firm was represented by Dr Graham Love. He said: “Irrespective of the final Brexit outcome, Ireland must maintain a strong relationship with the UK. By supporting today’s conference, Mazars is helping to support policymakers in Ireland and the UK to strengthen our research relationships and position us to tackle the pressing challenges of our times.”
Image Credit: British Irish Chamber of Commerce