Minister Harris announces approval for €100 million capital investment under Project Ireland 2040 for four higher education universities

By Amber Flynn

Posted: 19 April, 2023

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced approval in principle of €100 million under the second round of Higher Education Strategic Investment Fund.

As part of ongoing investment in the sector through Project Ireland 2040, the funding provided under HESIF 2 has the objective of delivering high quality higher education infrastructure and delivering a major strategic impact for Ireland’s future skills needs.

Each of the four successful projects have secured approval in principle for €25million through the co-funded Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund Round two (HESIF II).

The four projects are:

  • University College Cork’s redevelopment of the Kane Science Building;
  • Trinity College Dublin’s South Renewal Project;
  • University College Dublin ‘s Phase III of the O’Brien Centre for Science;
  • And the Future UL Education (FULE) for University of Limerick

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Today we continue our significant investment into higher education. Over the course of the last two and a half years, capital funding for higher education has been provided in the amount of €430m.

“Today we take another step forward with a €100 million investment into four institutions and re-affirming our commitment to the growth and expansion of our higher education sector. The co-funded approach in this fund maximises the potential for exchequer funding to attract other sources of capital investment in the sector.

“Alongside this Government investment, I am pleased to note that Non-Exchequer investment is a major element of HESIF II. This collaborative approach recognises the importance of a co-funded approach in the delivery of infrastructure in the sector.

“These projects will help support the creation of approximately 21,000 square metres of new build and over 51,000 meters of reimagined and refurbished space They will also assist the creation of enhanced capacity to support over 8,500 whole time equivalent student places in higher education institutions, across STEM, Social Sciences, Science and multi-disciplinary areas.

“These projects reflect the ambition of my Department, the Higher Education Authority and the higher education sector. They will contribute to Ireland becoming recognised internationally as a leading knowledge economy.

“I want to sincerely thank the HEA for the enormous work in rolling out this programme. The HEA in advancing these capital proposals, is playing a crucial leading role in rolling out the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund ensuring a pipeline of key strategic projects delivers for our learner, economic and societal needs. Approval in principle for this exchequer funding will allow these projects to move forward to the next stage of the project lifecycle.”

Minister of State Niall Collins said: “Today is a further signal of Government investment in higher education and a determination to equip our students and staff with the infrastructure they need to deliver on their undoubted potential.

“The Government has shown real commitment to investing in third level, investing in students and investing in the next generation.”

Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the HEA, added: “We welcome today’s announcement of approval in principle for these four transformative capital investment projects in the higher education sector, which are being funded under the second round of the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

“These projects will be an enabler of the vision for, and ambitions of, the higher education sector and will aid the sector in meeting the demand for education and research.

“This investment is key to supporting regional development, through the creation of a skills pipeline including life-long learning, research and innovation as well as contributing to climate action targets.”

Figure 1 – UCC HESIF II Project – Kane Science Building – Artists Impression

Figure 2 – UL HESIF II Project – FULE (Future UL Education) – Artists Impression

Figure 3 – TCD HESIF II Project – Trinity South Renewal Project – Architects Impression

Figure 4 – UCD HESIF II Project –  O’Brien Science Centre – Artists Impression

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