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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One Response to “Where are the Irish Research Students?”

  1. tibo says:

    You’re probably right.

    See it this way: as a graduate, do you want to get a job now and get xk/year or go and do more studies (that may lead you to nowhere), getting paid an amount of money that can only help you ‘survive’ (I’m not saying that this is the norm or that it’s should not be this way) and get a job 3 years later (at least) getting paid x+5k if you’re lucky, not necessarily research-related ?

    It’s very good to try to push students to study science, get a PhD […] but at the end of the day if when you come out of the academic system there’s no job, what’s the point ? Currently there are many more relatively well paid jobs at the graduate level. Why bother studying longer if it’s only to get stuck looking for almost the same jobs ? Sure they can go abroad and look for more interesting jobs … but maybe they’d like to settle down (like the Asian students that go back to Asia with their Irish postgraduate degree)