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Ulster University has secured almost £500,000 in funding from the UK Government's Turing Scheme. The Northern Ireland Higher Education sector received a total of £1.1m in funding for 2022/23. Ulster University’s award represents almost half of this allocation. The funding will support over 200 students to take part in international activities across 63 countries globally. Importantly, over 40% of these students are from widening participation backgrounds.

The Turing Scheme is the UK Government’s scheme to provide funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world. It provides an opportunity for UK organisations from the higher education,  further education, vocational education and training, and schools sectors to offer their students, learners and pupils life-changing experiences to study or work abroad.

In the 2022/23 academic year, students who received Turing funding took part in a diverse range of opportunities from traditional full year study or work placements, to creative and diverse short-term projects. These have included playground projects in Uganda, sustainability initiatives in Fiji, politics summer school in USA and short language courses across Europe.

Mehvish Ashfaq, Assistant Director and Head of Global Opportunities and Experience at Ulster University commented:

"Since 2018, we’ve supported over 1,800 students in gaining international experiences by studying, working or volunteering abroad. We recognise the importance of offering a wide-range of global opportunities for different types of learners and know how transformational student mobility can be. We’re excited by the potential that this funding will unlock for our students."

In addition to this, after a period of development and consultation with universities in Northern Ireland, the Irish Minster for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has allocated €2m to support international student mobility for higher education students in Northern Ireland.

This is delivering on an Irish Government commitment to ensure students in Northern Ireland can avail of international opportunities after Brexit.

Speaking about it, Minister Harris said:

“I am delighted to allocate funding of €2 million to higher education institutions in Northern Ireland, which will help support student mobilities across Europe.

“We know that students’ higher education experiences are enriched by undertaking a mobility in another country.  It is not just about learning in a partner university – it is also about building relationships with other students, and increasing cultural awareness and understanding.

“During my many engagements in Northern Ireland, including with the universities’ Vice-Chancellors, the loss of access to Erasmus + programme was constantly being raised. I understand that. However, it is more than that. Many students in Northern Ireland choose to pursue internships in Ireland in key employment sectors such as financial services and technology. This experience is vital, and aligns skills development with the island economy.”

Professor Paul Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University welcomed the funding:

"Ulster University is committed to providing our students with opportunities to engage in a life changing experiences. This funding from the Irish Government, alongside the Turing scheme and our other mobility initiatives, provide our students with the help needed to participate in such career-enhancing activities.

“The University works with a range of partners to create an inclusive portfolio of opportunities that suit students’ current circumstances and future career goals, and builds their resilience, perseverance and confidence, as well as nurturing their global citizenship. These skills are particularly relevant in the current climate and will prepare students for the future workplace.”

Minister Harris added:

"Fulfilling this promise will deliver on the Irish Government’s commitment made during the UK withdrawal from the EU. This funding will bolster the financial capacity of the institutions to meet the mobility needs of their students.

"This is a permanent commitment, and will be in place for as long as students in Northern Ireland wish to avail of this option or an alternative mobility model emerges.

“It is a cost of around €2 million a year based on based on the current numbers of students in Northern Ireland, accessing Erasmus. This is an investment. It is an investment in relationships between institutions North and South. It is an investment in our island’s next generation, and I think it's a really practical sensible way of continuing to cooperate post-Brexit.”

Officials of DFHERIS will finalise arrangements with the Northern Ireland higher education institutions in the coming weeks to ensure supports are in place for their students for the forthcoming academic year.

Further information about Ulster University’s Global Opportunities can be found here: