University of Limerick is to receive more than €800,000 for campus upgrades and infrastructure.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has confirmed that an additional €15 million is to be given to higher education institutions for capital works and equipment, bringing the minor works capital allocation for this academic year to its highest point in a decade.
Of this, UL will receive €809,000 – on top of the €2,165,000 already allocated by the Minister in August.
Minister Harris said: “I am very pleased to announce a significant additional capital grant for the higher education sector.
“The semester has been mainly online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but we are looking to the new year and how we can give our students and staff the best chance of being back on campus as much as is safely possible.
“This additional funding will help our colleges invest in additional works to help protect students and staff as we continue to fight this pandemic. It will also support institutions in upgrading their campuses and equipment for the long term.
“I want to thank the higher education institutions and students for all they have done. The beginning to their academic year has been difficult to say the least but I hope this additional funding will help with planning and delivering a more positive experience in 2021 and beyond.”
The announcement is in addition to the allocation of €25 million in August, and brings the total Devolved Capital Grant for the 2020-21 academic year to €40 million, a significant increase from the €10 million annually provided in recent years.
The additional funding will support higher education institutions to invest in campus upgrades, as well as further developing the infrastructure necessary to support blended and online learning.
The funding is expected to advance development of high-end skills in the technological sector, as well as facilitating building improvements to support access for all, health and safety works, ICT and equipment renewal, and energy-related upgrades.
The funding forms part of ongoing capital investment in the higher education sector under Project Ireland 2040.
The 2021 allocation for infrastructure development in the higher and further education sectors (excluding research) is €224.4 million – representing an increase of 53% on the €147 million allocated for 2020.
This flexible funding provided through the Devolved Capital Grant complements other large-scale capital investments in the sector that will help expand availability of student places and transform campus infrastructure over the coming years.
Funding will be provided by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science through the Higher Education Authority.