Colleges to get €10.5m EU funding

Date Uploaded: 03/10/2016

University College Cork is among the Irish higher-level institutions that have been awarded €10.5m to take part in global projects.


The grants, which have been awarded through the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme, will allow universities and institutes of technologies to carry out project work in a number of areas around the world including the western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and the south Mediterranean.


Welcoming the funding, Education Minister Richard Bruton said: “The Erasmus+ programme prepares students, academics and staff to be active and engaged participants in an interconnected global world.


“The internationalisation of our Irish higher education system is vital. Engagement in Erasmus+ will help institutions become more relevant and responsive, and will enhance their diversity and distinctiveness.”


DIT will receive almost €1m in funding which they will use to work on a project to strengthen Europe’s software innovation capacity.


Five institutions and one company will receive a share of almost €9.5m in funding.


UL will take charge of a structural project, chosen from 93 applications, focused on the western Balkans region, while LIT will co-ordinate a joint project that links with countries in Asia and Central Asia, as well as the Russian Federation.


UCC, DCU, DIT, UCD and Maynooth will also benefit from grants.


Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has announced the start of the winter fuel scheme from today.


Anyone who qualified for the payment towards additional heating expenses last year will automatically be included again this year, if they still fulfill the eligibility requirements. But other households can apply through their local social welfare office.


“The fuel season begins next week and the fuel allowance will be paid at a rate of €22.50 per week. The rate was increased by €2.50 this year. This is an important support for almost half a million low-income households across Ireland for whom the cost of heating oil, electricity or solid fuel can be a real worry,” Mr Varadkar said.


A total of 400,000 households benefited from the payment last winter at a cost of €244m. The benefit was given to 170,000 pensioners last year, while 93,000 long-term unemployed people and 39,000 one-parent families received the fuel allowance.


Another 76,000 people in receipt of an illness payment such as disability allowance or invalidity pension received the payment.


Journalist: Elaine Loughlin

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