All-Ireland Collaborative Research Partnership between TCD, UCD and QUB

Posted on: 24 April 2007

Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin Sign Up to Strategic Partnership

An all-Ireland collaborative research partnership between universities North and South – Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) – was signed today by the three university presidents at a special reception hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern TD.

Building on a new collaborative accord executed between the two Dublin institutions, TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty, and UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, each signed bilateral collaborative agreements with QUB President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson in Dublin today. These agreements will promote and consolidate cooperation in education and research between the three universities.

Welcoming these unique collaborative partnership agreements, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern TD said: “By strengthening cross-border collaboration in research and education in this way, we can help put the island at the forefront of the global knowledge economy and deliver real benefits to citizens both North and South.”

Employment and Learning Minister, Maria Eagle MP paid tribute to Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin as she witnessed the signing, on behalf of the Northern Ireland Government.

Commending them on their collaboration, the Minister said: “I believe the partnership approach being demonstrated here today by three of our leading Higher Education Institutions is an excellent example of the practical cooperation that increasingly exists between our two jurisdictions.

“Furthermore, I believe that bringing research activities more closely together in joint ventures will help to strengthen the research infrastructure and capability of the whole island, thereby enhancing our attractiveness for research-intensive investment in the future – both indigenous and foreign.”

In this strategic partnership, three of the leading research institutions on the island of Ireland have identified a number of areas in which they have complementary strengths and together intend to develop these areas to ensure maximum intellectual, educational and economic benefits of the three universities in an all-Ireland and international context.

The thrust of this collaboration between TCD, UCD and QUB concerns biomedical sciences and biomedical informatics – with a focus on experimental cancer medicine, infection and immunity; arts and human sciences, including socio-economics and Irish studies; and physical sciences, including nanoscience.

“These collaborations are an important step in developing a world class research infrastructure that brings together recognised excellence in both jurisdictions,” said the Queen’s University Belfast President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson. “The re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the developing North-South partnerships need to be further reinforced by greater co-ordination of investment in the research base of this island. Full participation by all the island’s research institutions in future programmes is now achievable.”

Under the auspices of the research partnership, Trinity College and Queen’s University will also collaborate on creative writing, high performance computing, nanoscience, drug design, medicinal chemistry and cancer research and cell biology.

“We see this as a very significant step in our pursuit of strategic partnerships in Ireland, one which brings cutting-edge research activities on the island together in an unprecedented manner across all the major disciplines: health, science, social sciences and the humanities. With such initiatives we continue to move from competition to collaboration across the entire academic spectrum,” said TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty.

Under the agreement, UCD and QUB will also collaborate on clean technologies; environment and health with particular emphasis on food and nutrition; wireless communication and biomedical informatics.

“The pooling of intellect across the universities presents us with a genuine opportunity to attain critical mass in areas where we can demonstrate centres of excellence in the international arena,” said the President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady. “Just weeks from now, Northern Ireland will enter a new phase on foot of an unprecedented coming-together of the political parties. What we, UCD, TCD and QUB, are announcing today is similarly an historic alliance of this island’s top universities. The alliance between the universities transcends geographic and cultural barriers to create world-class programmes in scholarship, research and training.”

The three institutions will also work to develop further complementary research strategies and joint postgraduate school programmes.

Minister ahern, minister eagle, ucd president dr hugh brady, qub president, prof peter gregson and tcd provost, dr john hegarty

Pictured at signing are (front  l-r) UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, QUB President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, and TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty, (back l-r) Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern and Employment and Learning Minister, Maria Eagle MP.