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Minister Harris publishes OECD review of TU academic career structures and contracts

Minister for Further and Higher  Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (December 16th) published an OECD review of academic career structures, academic contracts and senior management and leadership structures in Irish technological universities (TUs).


Last year the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was asked to review relevant issues around academic career structures, academic contracts and senior management and leadership structures in Irish TUs. This was done by comparing similar benchmarked comparator institutions internationally.


The Government considered the report this week and agreed to publish it. The Department will now consider the findings in conjunction with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.


Minister Harris said: “We have now successfully achieved the commitment in the Programme for Government to deliver a network of regionally based technological universities which has brought a step-change in the Irish higher education landscape.


"However, we are now entering the critical post-establishment phase where TUs must increase their contribution in achieving national strategic objectives and their own regional missions through their legislatively prescribed functions.”


Minister Harris added: “We are progressing well in terms of appropriate TU funding, we are working on the development of a borrowing framework for TU student accommodation delivery and significant capital investment in TU campuses.


“However, perhaps the most important aspect we must now address is to ensure TU academic staff have the appropriate structures, career paths and fit for purposes contract in order for them to help unlock the vast potential within the TU agenda.


“I am pleased Cabinet has noted the insights provided by the OECD setting out the strengths and differences evident between Irish TUs and comparator institutions internationally.


"We are presented with a challenge to ensure that our TUs attain the highest international standards. Now with Government noting the report, more detailed engagement will take place between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which will be followed by engagement with the relevant sectoral stakeholders including TU managements and staff representatives.


“Both TUs and staff representatives in the Teachers’ Union of Ireland, have fed into the OECD work to date, and been briefed by the OECD. Upon conclusion of this engagement I intend returning to Government with recommendations to effect the necessary changes in our TUs, and further staff engagement will then take place.”


The OECD report is available here.