Ireland Focused on Foreign Graduates and Scholars

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Posted on January 18, 2024


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In an effort to attract talent from around the world, Ireland has set out plans to become a “first choice” location for researchers and students from other countries. The Irish government has made it clear that it wants to draw in more students and keep graduates with a “global perspective” while governments in some of the most popular locations move to restrict the number of international students visiting their nations. 

The government states that “Today’s international learners are tomorrow’s leaders, employees, researchers, social champions, climate advocates, entrepreneurs, and investors” in its new Global Citizens 2030, International Talent and Innovation Strategy, which was unveiled on January 15.

“It is crucial that their time spent studying and living in Ireland is welcoming and top-notch, creating lifelong bonds that continue long after they graduate.”

Ireland describes its growth as “moderate,” aiming to balance the need for more global talent with practical limitations like housing availability, environmental sustainability, and cost of living concerns. By 2030, the country wants to welcome 10% more international students, researchers, and innovators. 

National goals for foreign hiring will be “better aligned” with institutional planning frameworks in order to facilitate this, and the International Education Mark a statutory quality mark that was initially envisioned following a wave of language school closures in the 2010s will be fully implemented. 

In order to promote development and international relations, the government will also designate six Talent and Innovation Attachés in Irish embassies and consulates in priority regions by 2030. The priority regions have been reduced by the authorities to the US and UK coasts, the major EU capitals, Asia, the Middle East, and London.

Simon Harris, Ireland’s minister for research, innovation, and science as well as further and higher education, stated during the strategy’s introduction that the plan was “about more than just attracting international students.”  

“Recruiting hundreds of exceptional PhD students to address national and international issues like cyber-security, water poverty, pandemics, and climate change is also about collaborating with industry,” he stated. 

Through internationalization at home and mobility opportunities, Ireland will also concentrate on enhancing the global mindsets of domestic researchers and students, fostering their capacity “to work in multinational, multicultural, and diverse workforces, at home and abroad.”

Increased cooperation with the UK, including Northern Ireland, will also be a priority, particularly through the creation of new student and researcher exchange and mobility programs. 

Dublin fulfilled its promise to guarantee Northern Ireland’s students’ access to the Erasmus+ exchange program last year, even after the UK withdrew from the EU’s initiative.

Performance indicators, such as mobility rates, employer satisfaction with graduates’ international competencies, and retention and satisfaction of international students, will be used to track progress toward the strategy. 

Harris stated, “I hope this strategy sends a clear message of Ireland’s commitment to continue to be a global, diverse society and, for some, a beacon of hope and educational opportunity at a time when countries are starting to look inward. Our goal is to draw to Ireland the brightest generation of foreign scholars, researchers, and innovators. That has a major positive impact on both our society and economy. By diversifying our educational communities, it not only helps us meet our skill needs but also creates new opportunities.”