Right now, Irish excellence in scientific research and education is diminishing. The current government seems intent on dismantling the university system– where the vast majority of the scientific research and higher education is conducted.
The country is brimming with young, talented, driven people that are drawn to the rewards that a career in research and/or teaching can offer: making new discoveries; educating the public; embodying the ‘smart’ in Ireland’s smart society. Unfortunately, a career in science will be short-lived for the majority of new postgraduates in today’s Ireland. Openings for permanent jobs are few and far between; even the prospects for postdoctoral (temporary) work are becoming slimmer and less sustainable.
Compare the goals of the Researchers Careers and Mobility Conference between 2005: “To explore the role of the postdoctoral researcher, and its place in the development of a research career” and 2013: “Preparing Doctoral Candidates for the Future … Experience from schemes that train doctoral candidates entirely/partly in industry … Getting doctoral graduates into employment in industry or other employment sectors.”
Has Ireland given up on research as a career?
Furthermore, postgraduate research degrees are being combined with business studies and scientific research proposals are required to have a direct impact on industry. Let industry perform its own product feasibility studies! University research is for exploring new realms of thought, and for expanding the boundaries of what is considered physically possible. The pursuit of science can unite people, inspire them, and improve quality of life.
Let us maintain our universities’ positive influence on society, and save Irish science excellence.
Visit http://defendtheuniversity.ie/ and sign the petition to maintain the Irish university as a bastion for excellent scientific education and research.
-Paul A. Higgins