Using Erasmus resources to their potential in third level science programs

Scott, Maeve (2014) Using Erasmus resources to their potential in third level science programs. In: The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). May 29th and 30th, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.


Significant funding for Erasmus research placements is available for undergraduate science students in ITTDublin. Bilateral agreements between the ITTDublin and European universities have been established and promoted to undergraduate science students. ITTDublin students completing a degree in Pharmaceutical Science must complete an industry or research placement as part of semester 6. Research placements for undergraduate scientists require a student to work with postgraduate students and research staff fulltime for a minimum of four months. Science academics in ITTdublin have encouraged uptake and provided guidance on available research areas. The advantages these research placements offer when applying for a postgraduate position or a position in industry has been highlighted to students. However, the majority of science research placements remain unoccupied every year. The recently revised Erasmus+ programme offers increased participation rates at more levels. The strategy of the Irish government has been to create a knowledge based economy and is now focused on establishing Ireland as a prime location for scientific research and development and investment. A key element of this is having suitably qualified scientists educated to level 9 and 10. A semester working with postgraduate scientists in Academia offer undergraduate scientists a first step to a career in research. Erasmus exchanges could also lead to Academic collaboration with EU universities and aligns closely with Ireland's higher education strategies. This paper summarises the Erasmus research placements available to science ITTDublin students and the potential learning and career outcomes in line with Irish education and economic objectives. Suggestions are made, with student input, as to the possible reasons why students do not avail of these research roles. Proposals are made on how to improve participation of science undergraduates in the Erasmus programs and use the Erasmus resources to meet Irish Scientific enterprise and education goals.

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