Institute of Technology Carlow receives €13million project funding under the Human Capital Initiative


Institute of Technology has warmly welcomed the announcement today by Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD that it is to receive more than €13million funding for projects under the Human Capital Initiative (HCI).

Institute of Technology Carlow was directly awarded funding for three projects. The first is to realise the potential of recognition of prior learning and lifelong learning in Irish higher education; the second is for the Centre for Insurance, Risk and Data Analytics Studies (CIRDAS), and the final project is for the development of a Postgraduate Certificate in Innovative Materials for Industry 4.0. Separately, the institute is a collaborator on a WIT project on additive manufacturing that is to receive €2.1million in funding. All of the projects involve collaboration with other institutions.

Speaking after the announcement was made, David Denieffe Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Institute of Technology Carlow commented, “Institute of Technology Carlow is delighted to be the lead institution for the cross-sectoral project on realising the potential of recognition of prior learning (RPL) and lifelong learning in Irish higher education. This significant project will make the commitment to RPL in the Programme for Government a reality by mobilising the entire public higher education system through the IUA and THEA to deliver RPL in a coherent and systematic way for the benefit of learners and employers”. 

Dr. Frances Hardiman, Head of the Faculty of Engineering at IT Carlow said that that the Human Capital Initiative “has provided an exciting opportunity for IT Carlow to collaborate with DCU and industry in applying new engaging techniques in the delivery of this novel programme in innovative materials for Industry 4.0.”

Welcoming the announcement, Head of Faculty of Lifelong Learning, Dr Joseph Collins said, “Flexibility, innovation and agility in responding to industry and economic needs with work-ready graduates is among Institute of Technology Carlow’s core strengths. The allocation of over €13million under the Government’s Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3 is further recognition of this".

Aidan Mahon, Business Development Manager, Insurtech Network Centre DAC, based at IT Carlow commented, “The creation of the Centre for Insurance, Risk and Data Analytics Studies (CIRDAS) will assist in developing higher value-added employment in the insurance sector CIRDAS will collaboratively develop and deliver industry focused courses in data science, business and design thinking.  Insurtech Network Centre, the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at Institute of Technology Carlow and our collaborative partner Letterkenny Institute of Technology look forward to working together to meet insurance industry identified skills needs”.

Announced as part of Budget 2019, the primary objective of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) is to underpin the provision of additional capacity across the higher education sector to meet priority skill needs for enterprise. Today’s announcement is for Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3, Innovation and Agility. The initiative will support innovative and agile proposals from institutions or groups of institutions with potential application and impact across the higher education system. The proposals will align innovation and agility with national strategic objectives, key system objectives for the higher education system, and future skills needs for society and the economy. 

Through the projects recommended under HCI Pillar 3, it is intended that innovative methods of teaching and delivery will be promoted, so that learners will benefit from improved quality and more engaging ways of learning on enterprise-focused courses. The capacity of institutions to anticipate, understand and respond to emerging skills needs of enterprise will be increased, together with the ability of institutions to provide lifelong learning and upskilling opportunities for all.  

The projects approved under HCI Pillar 3 were selected by a panel of experts with national and international expertise following a competitive tendering process.  

Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the broad range of projects that will be funded under the HCI Pillar 3. These projects will develop and change teaching and learning. This global pandemic has reinforced the need for us all to be agile and diverse. “Crucially though it requires us to develop new skills and equip the next generation with the critical importance to the economy and the workplace of the future.” 

Higher Education Authority CEO, Dr Alan Wall, congratulated all of the higher education institutions receiving funding under the HCI scheme. 

“It is great to see the culmination of this process as it represents hundreds of hours of work by the Higher Education Authority working with the Higher Education institutions and our international panel.” 

HCI Pillar 3 will deliver 22 projects in higher education institutions, 17 of which involve collaborations between institutions.