Nov 19 2008

Where are the Irish Research Students?

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 23:26

I was talking with a friend of mine who is a senior computer science lecturer in one of the universities in Dublin. He was telling me that he recently advertised two new post-graduate studentships, and that the recruitment process was significantly more difficult than he expected!

Each studentship was for three years, and it included a stipend of up to 20,000€ per annum (this is tax-free) and an allowance for travel and equipment. The studentships were advertised online, and in the relevant journals.

My friend received a large double-digit number of applications. The majority of these applications were from applicants in Asia, and not a single application was from an Irish applicant!

So why are Irish graduates not interested in pursuing post-graduate research? Perhaps it is due to the falling calibre of Irish students in technical professions. Alternatively, perhaps it is because Irish students prefer to pursue lucrative jobs after graduating. I wonder will this change as the economy deteriorates.

This is not the first time that I have come across this situation. In fact, I believe that Irish students are in a minority in most of the research labs in the universities in Dublin. The worrying thing about this trend is that it will make it increasingly difficult to attract multinational companies to establish research centres in Ireland. Additionally, there is little benefit in the Irish tax-payer providing educational benefits to Asian students!

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