Minister Harris announces €25m grant for capital works and equipment in higher education sector

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has today (August 27) announced an allocation of €25 million for capital works and equipment in higher education institutions.

The allocation represents a significant increase from the €10 million provided in recent years. Previously limited to the technological sector, grant funding for the coming academic year is being extended to the university sector for the first time since 2011.

The funding will provide institutions with the flexibility to address small-scale capital investment and equipment needs based on their own priorities. Categories of investment that may be addressed include health and safety works, infrastructure upgrades, ICT and equipment renewal, and energy-related upgrades. 

The funding forms part of ongoing investment in the higher education sector under Project Ireland 2040.

Minister Harris said: “I am very pleased to announce a significant increase in the devolved capital grant for the higher education sector and the extension of the grant to universities for the first time in nearly a decade.

“It is essential that higher education institutions can reinvest in their existing estate, renew and update their equipment, and can make capital investments to respond to developments in online and blended learning. 

“Ongoing capital investment is essential to ensuring a high quality academic environment and a positive campus experience for students and staff. This flexible funding complements other targeted capital investments in the sector that will help expand availability of student places and transform campus infrastructure over the coming years.”

Today’s announcement is in addition to the €168 million package of Covid 19-related supports for further and higher education institutions announced on 22 July.

The grant will be allocated to individual institutions in accordance with a model based primarily on student numbers, weighted by course type and mode of student.  Funding will be provided by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Previous allocations under the Devolved Capital Grant have had a significant positive impact on campus development, facilitating initiatives such as upgrading of laboratories, replacement of obsolete ICT equipment, installation of energy efficient lighting, and repurposing of existing spaces in line with the needs of students and staff.