Minister extends funding for STEM Masters Courses
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has announced additional funding for Masters Courses at the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast.
The Minister said, “This investment in economically relevant Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) postgraduate courses will help improve the skills of our graduates to meet the needs of local employers and support economic growth.
“I am committed to the continuing expansion of higher education to give Northern Ireland the skills profile required to compete globally. This commitment is reflected in my Department’s Skills Strategy, ‘Success Through Skills – Transforming Futures’.
“One of the strategic goals of the Strategy is to increase the proportion of those leaving from our Higher Education Institutions with graduate and post graduate level qualifications in STEM subjects.”
The University of Ulster has received 70 additional places, up to 40 of which, the University has indicated, will be allocated to a new MSc in Computational Intelligence at its Magee campus. The remaining places will enhance existing provision in MSc Advanced Composites and Polymers and MSc Biomedical Engineering.
Queen’s University is to increase recruitment by some 30 students on economically relevant MSc courses, including Biological Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Professor Richard Millar, Dean of the Faculty of Computing & Engineering at the University of Ulster said, “We are delighted to receive funding from DEL for these 70 places on our Masters degrees in subjects so important to the Northern Ireland economy.
“These postgraduate Master of Science degrees develop advanced and specialist skills in areas such as artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering, composites and polymers. They have been developed with industry to produce graduates who will be able to take the lead in a wide range of sectors including bioinformatics, financial market prediction, aerospace, transport and nanotechnology.
“The courses draw extensively from the Faculty’s internationally-recognised research in computer science and engineering to ensure that the students are equipped with highly sought-after expertise.
He added, “These valuable scholarships will cover the university’s fees for these one-year Masters degrees. This announcement is good news for the student and good news for the local computing and engineering industries.”
Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, Alliance South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke said the news was a positive step forward in creating home grown talent, securing the future economic growth of Northern Ireland.
Clarke said: “This is fantastic news which will benefit the next generation of industry leaders in Northern Ireland. It is even more welcome to hear these places will go to STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – postgraduate courses.
“STEM subjects are extremely important to Northern Ireland’s future economic growth and it is vital we continue to encourage study in these areas. Not only are STEM subjects important to the research and development sector, but also for our construction sector which has been badly hit over the past few years.”
Clarke added, “These newly funded postgraduate places will ensure we continue to create home grown industry leaders, rather than watching as future talent travels outside of Northern Ireland for training, never to return.”