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Last month, Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, announced a significant increase in his Department’s funding for the Queen’s University, Belfast, and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. They will receive a block grant of GBP 203 million covering teaching, learning and research for the academic year 2009-10. Research funding has increased by 7.7 percent, thus on par with the highest level of increase for research in the UK.
This funding announcement complements measures that the Department had taken last year, when it committed to increase the number of PhD students at Northern Irish universities by 300, by the year 2010. Capital funding of GBP 73 million had been provided for the universities for the period from 2008 to 2011.