Monday, October 5, 2020

More than €16m is to be allocated to University of Limerick under the Human Capital Initiative, it was announced this Monday.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced details of 22 projects to be funded under the latest round of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) programme.

The projects include the use of virtual laboratories in higher education, a new hub to upskill the building sector on green construction, and the establishment of Creative Futures Academy to support digital and screen culture, cinema, literature and broadcasting, art, design, and fashion.

Innovative methods of teaching and delivery will be promoted on these projects, so that learners will benefit from improved quality and more engaging ways of learning on enterprise-focused courses, providing lifelong learning and upskilling opportunities for all.

Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3, Innovation and Agility is the final pillar to be announced and commands a total budget of €197 million over the 5-year period, 2020 to 2024.

The UL project – UL@ WORK – will receive €16,297,375 in total and is a new initiative developed to deliver on the enterprise priority set out in UL’s strategic plan – UL@50.

UL President Professor Kerstin Mey said the project would “build a flexible, technology-enhanced learning platform that responds to digitisation and the future world of work.

“It will develop digital, industry 4.0, talent through flexible, innovative and technology-enabled, experiential learning; bringing enterprise expertise into education, and education into the workplace to form a co-designed future learning environment,” she explained.

UL@ Work proposes four unique elements:

  • A library of reusable and extendible online learning blocks to rapidly build industry relevant programmes
  • Two unique, challenge based, accelerated, engineering degrees
  • Deep Enterprise/Education collaboration (including Professors of Practice)
  • Flexible provision of skills, via five new masters programmes, two top up degrees and ten professional postgraduate diplomas, in emerging technologies to lifelong learners

“UL@ Work will deliver undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for campus and work-based learners. It will sustain, formalise and further develop UL’s institutional capability to deliver emerging technical and transversal skills in partnership with enterprise,” outlined Professor Mey.

“Specifically, UL@ Work will support the development of 19 new programmes and provide 2,325 new student places in areas of identified skills need for enterprise,” she added.

Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the broad range of projects that will be funded under the HCI Pillar 3. These projects will develop and change teaching and learning. This global pandemic has reinforced the need for us all to be agile and diverse.

“Crucially though it requires us to develop new skills and equip the next generation with the critical importance to the economy and the workplace of the future,” he added.

Higher Education Authority CEO, Dr Alan Wall, congratulated all of the higher education institutions receiving funding under the HCI scheme.

“It is great to see the culmination of this process as it represents hundreds of hours of work by the Higher Education Authority working with the higher education institutions and our international panel,” he explained.