Today’s announcement of extra Government funding to increase the postgraduate stipends of Irish Research Council researchers is welcomed by the Union of Students in Ireland as one of the steps needed to address the unacceptable precarious working conditions of postgraduates in Ireland.
USI has campaigned for several years for a necessary increase to stipends for postgraduates – which were cut severely in 2012 – to bring them in line with the Living Wage.
Many postgraduates are not being fairly compensated for their teaching and USI has been campaigning for the stipend for postgraduate students to be brought up to at least the Living Wage – many stipends are currently below the minimum wage.
While the Irish Research Council’s postgraduate stipend will increase from €16,000 to €18,500 per annum and funding for its postdoctoral researchers will also increase there is still much to be done to ensure fair terms and conditions for postgraduates.
USI Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs, Adam Clarke said: “This is a much-needed step towards improved conditions for postgraduates. However, it fails to address the other important issues that would provide decent working standards for our postgrads, who play a hugely important role in the advancement of Irish society and the economy.”