During his visit to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan today (20th June) signed major education and research agreements with two Brazilian State agencies on behalf of the Higher Education Authority and Science Foundation Ireland.
These agreements will allow Ireland to access Brazil’s Science without Borders Programme (Ciência sem Fronteiras), and could see up to 1,500 scholarship students from Brazil come to Ireland over the next four years to study and undertake research in Irish higher education institutions, with a particular focus on science and technology.
Speaking about the agreements, Minister Hogan 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.”
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 higher education 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.
Science without Borders aims to place 100,000 Brazilians in overseas higher education institutions over the next four years. The programme was launched by President Dilma Rousseff in April 2011 as 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.
Ireland joins a small number of countries who are participating in the Brazilian programme. Existing participants include the United States, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Australia and Belgium.
Enterprise Ireland will work closely with the Irish higher education 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.
It is hoped the first scholars will begin arriving in Ireland in the autumn.