The research, innovation and graduate studies team at Waterford IT
Researchers in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have welcomed the recent announcement by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris of almost €1 million to support contract researchers and research students whose work has been seriously disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding was secured by Minister Harris as part of the €168 million package for further and higher education in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, of which €47 million will be provided to the higher education institutions by the Higher Education Authority.
WIT vice president of research, innovation and graduate studies Dr Mark White has welcomed the funding as a means of supporting the researchers and research students in greatest need, in particular those researchers who are coming to the end of their contracts before the end of 2020.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of research and innovation. The ecosystem of multidisciplinary research in WIT has afforded us the opportunity to become pioneers in various fields and this additional funding from Government will allow us to continue our research and nurture researchers of the future," Dr White said.
WIR president Prof Willie Donnelly has thanked the research community for its valued commitment and dedication in recent months. “I would like to recognise and thank our research community for their continued support to our postgraduate students and stakeholders throughout this difficult period. They continue to work with our international partnerships to deliver world class research and innovation to underpin the economic and social wellbeing of the region. We are delighted to see our research and innovation being recognised by the region," Prof Donnelly said.
"The funding provides a level of continued security for our research community who otherwise may have had to seek alternative opportunities outside of the region and Ireland," he added.
Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s latest Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey (2019) confirms the positive impact on society and the economy of research and innovation work carried out in the sector, including in the fight against Covid-19.
The funding will help to protect both people and projects at a critical moment for Ireland’s national research system as higher education institutions look towards the next national research and innovation strategy (the successor to Innovation 2020) and the next European funding programme (Horizon Europe).
The funding will allow researchers to continue to pursue all other avenues for project completion, for example, in the form of budget re-allocations , and will begin engaging with relevant funders to agree the extension of appropriate activities.