IFUT has welcomed the publication of the Government’s “Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy”. Speaking following the launch, IFUT Deputy General Secretary, Miriam Hamilton, said “Researchers in Ireland have legitimate scepticism when it comes to announcements involving research careers. For too long, Ireland’s impressive global record in terms of research and innovation was driven at the expense of early years researchers whose careers were mired by precarious employment typically resulting in termination following numerous fixed term contracts. Researchers spend significant amounts of time looking for the next job, applying for grant funding for the next project, instead of focusing on their career and their research. However, the research strategy launched by Minister Simon Harris today makes certain commitments to researchers and their careers which are to be welcomed. This report, which is announced days after Minister Harris announced plans for the future funding of higher education including aspiring to end precarious employment, provides a great opportunity for all stakeholders to explore real, tangible improvements for researchers in Ireland.
According to the Strategy document, “Ireland must be a great place to be a researcher and innovator”. For researchers who are still on fixed-term contracts, with no job security into their 40s and beyond, many IFUT members would say that Ireland is currently not a great place to be a researcher. However IFUT, as the union representing researchers across Higher Education Institutions, would welcome the opportunity, together with IFUT members of the Irish Research Staff Association, to engage with the department on the implementation of this new strategy. IFUT are adamant that these welcome announcements both for the Research Strategy and Future Funding must include worker’s Trade Union representatives in discussions on implementation if they are to succeed in delivering real change for workers in the sector.”