This is an area that is becoming increasingly important for the higher education sector in the context of a growing international labour market, the demand from employers for skills in operating in a global environment and increased competition for international students worldwide. The Department's Higher Education Strategy ‘Graduating to Success’ has a section devoted to internationalisation.
Aims of the strategy, amongst others, include increasing the number of international students studying at NI higher education institutions, encouraging mobility of home students and staff and developing international institutional partnerships. As part of the out-workings of the Strategy there are also project teams focused on maximising international mobility and facilitating cross border co-operation and student flows.
Improving the skill base and ultimately the employability of our graduates is vital in the very competitive and global workplace especially in attracting inward investment from international companies which is particularly relevant in the context of the potential devolution of Corporation Tax and the NI Executive aim to grow and re-balance the NI economy.
HE mobility branch currently funds and/or manages the Department’s involvement in a range of international HE programmes and scholarships including:
- Turing Scheme
- The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Expertise (IAESTE)
- Study USA
- UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI)
- Study China
- Generation UK China
We work with partners in the UK government, ROI government, devolved administrations and the higher education sector to influence international policy and mobility issues affecting Northern Ireland. The HE mobility team participates in a number of relevant steering groups including:
- the Outward Student Mobility Advisory Board and the International Strategic Advisory Board (Universities UK International provides secretariat support for both)
- the UK Bologna Stakeholders Group, the UK Erasmus HE Sectoral Group
- the Erasmus NI Advisory Group
- the UKIERI Board.
We also work closely with the Centre for Cross Border Studies and provide funding for Universities Ireland.