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Ireland is counting on India

The following article appeared in today’s online publication of The New Indian Express and with their permission we are re-producing the article here (with thanks to Gerry Ennis of Ulster Bank)

The numbers

“Over a thousand technology companies, half of the world’s financial  institutions, nine out of 10 global pharmaceutical corporations and 17 out of the top 25 medical device companies — with these attractions, the Republic of Ireland wants to double the number of Indian students by 2015. To add to this, Irish higher education institutions are trying to rope in Indian students into specific courses in the spaces of engineering, computer science and biomedicine. For instance, the National University of Ireland, Galway, gives away fully-funded scholarships to three Indian students undertaking taught master’s in the fields of biomedical science and innovation or software engineering and informatics, plus €10,000 (approx `9 lakh) towards cost of living for a year. “Europe’s premier cluster of device companies is based in the Galway region. In fact, 80 per cent of global stent (a device used in angioplasty to remove blockages in the heart) production is carried out by companies in Galway,” says Anna Cunningham, director of International Affairs, NUI Galway.

Why Ireland is attractive for Indian students

Twenty-six-year-old Sriranga Gopinath Koganti from Hyderabad studied a master’s in embedded systems from Cork Institute of Technology. He now plays a key role in firmware development in ODG Technologies, a company that develops products for critical communication. “I work as a senior developer and write programs for speakers with noise-cancellations for police cars and fire tenders. Initially, Ireland was not in my list of study options at all,” he says. What brought Sriranga and close to 1,000 other Indian students to Ireland is the fact that all of them get to stay back after their studies for a year, in which time they can get jobs in the booming Irish IT and biomedical sector. “There are anywhere between 5,000-6,000 vacancies in the IT sector here and there’s a lot of demand for skills. We find that Indian students come in with very strong fundamentals in computer science and engineering disciplines,” says Jimmy McGibney, lecturer, Department of Computing, Mathematics and Physics, Waterford Institute of Technology. “The presence of an industry hub in Ireland is able to attract Indian students in large numbers, thanks to a large number of engineers India is producing each year. The medical device industry, for example, will require people who have studied components of engineering, which most Indian students have,” says Lokesh Joshi, vice-president of research at NUI Galway. A lion share of Irish higher education is funded by the government. The universities and institute of technology are state-run and many receive funds from European Union projects.


Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology, University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Maynooth, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University are some of the institutions offering scholarships specifically to Indian students. Further, the India Strategy Group at the University College, Cork has planned to bring out exclusive scholarships for Indian students. Most of the state-run institutions, especially Trinity College, Dublin, University College, Dublin and University College, Cork are well-ranked in global higher education rankings. In all, there are 10 fully-funded scholarships offered by the Irish government for Indian students. Enterprise Ireland, which is the Irish government agency tasked with outreach programmes, is optimistic. “When compared to China, we think India is a more positive market for us right now. The biggest advantage is the proficiency Indian students have with English as a language, which makes it easy for us to work with them,” says James Mackrill, manager of Education in Ireland brand under Enterprise Ireland.


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