Phil Hogan (pictured), Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, signed major education and research agreements with two Brazilian State agencies, (CNPq and CAPES) this week, on behalf of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). It will mean up to 1,500 Brazilian students studying in Ireland over the next four years.
He said, “This deal will make a significant contribution to the government’s target of doubling international student numbers and could contribute up to €25m euro to the Irish economy in terms of fees and living expenses.” Hogan was in Brazil during his visit to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.
Ireland joins a number of countries who are participating in the scholarship programme: the USA, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Australia and Belgium.
Trade body, Enterprise Ireland, which manages the Education in Ireland brand, said it would work closely with the Irish HE sector to “ensure these strategic agreements deliver growth to the Irish economy and to further engagement with the sector to build institutional links in Brazil”.
The agreements were negotiated by a team involving the Irish Embassy in Brasilia, Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills, the HEA and SFI. Representatives of the HE sector were also involved, including the Irish Universities Association, Institutes of Technology Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
The Science without Borders programme, unveiled in April 2011, is an effort to close the skills and capacity gaps which have developed as Brazil has expanded to become the sixth largest economy in the world, with a GDP approaching US$2.5 trillion.