Written Answers. - Research Funding.

Denis Naughten

Question:

171 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the midland region receives only 0.8% of higher education research and development funding, even though it makes up 5.67% of the population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22099/02]

Under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 the Government is providing a total of €698 million to support research, technology, development and innovation in the third level education sector, RTDI. Within the overall framework of the programme, it is intended to provide support for outstandingly talented individuals and teams of researchers within institutions, and to encourage co-operation both within the institutions and between institutions.

Research funding provided under the RTDI sub-measure of the NDP is not allocated on a regional basis. All funding of projects is based on a competitive process involving adjudication panels comprising national and international experts. The selection process is based on a number of criteria, including the academic excellence of the individual researcher project and the quality, relevance and technical merit of the project. These criteria therefore do not allow for funding to be allocated on an individual institution or regional basis. All awards are based entirely on the outcome of results of a competitive process, thereby ensuring that funding is allocated on the basis of excellence. Deviation from this approach would undermine the application of quality assurance and value for money criteria.