The North

There are two universities in Northern Ireland:

Whether the Open University in Ireland should also count as an Irish university for this purpose may be a matter of semantics; it is certainly a university with a significant presence. There are also two university colleges, St Mary’s (Website¦Wikipedia) and Stranmillis (Website¦Wikipedia).

The legal and funding framework for the North differs somewhat from the Irish position. Both QUB and UU have statutes. There is no “binary line” between universities and ITs/polytechnics. Government funding and oversight are conducted by the Department for Employment and Learning, though that Department is currently under threat of abolition. Funding is strongly influenced by the Research Assessment Exercise, which is a cross-UK metric.

An umbrella organisation, Universities Ireland, exists to promote co-operation and collaboration among the nine universities on the island.