Following a special meeting of the Universities Ireland Council held yesterday (12 May 2020), the Presidents and Vice-Chancellors of the universities in both Northern Ireland and Ireland agreed to intensify North-South collaboration to maximise the contribution of the Higher Education sector across the island of Ireland to the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the urgent process of socio-economic recovery.
While the Vice-Chancellors and Presidents committed to sharing relevant information and, where possible, resources between Universities in order to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality teaching within a safe environment, they also expressed their readiness to work with the two Governments to adopt all-island approaches to the recovery where appropriate.
The members of the Universities Ireland Council recognised the need to fully exploit opportunities for North-South collaboration in research and innovation, and particularly the need to collaborate in equipping the populations of Ireland and Northern Ireland with the skills that will lead to recovery. Universities Ireland will now seek to engage with the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to bring this agenda for collaboration forward.
Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University commented
“Never before has the role of Higher Education been so important – from using our research expertise to support advances in science tackling COVID 19, to supporting those sectors of our economy most impacted by the pandemic. We know that economic and societal recovery will require extensive investment, collaboration and innovation and it is important that Universities across the island of Ireland work together to maximise our contribution as we emerge from this global crisis”.
The Provost of Trinity College Dublin and Chair of the Irish Universities Association stated
“Our universities have shown their flexibility and capacity to support the national response to the Covid-19 crisis. They are equally ready to play an active role as partners in the recovery across the island of Ireland”.