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€1.9billion NTF surplus unconscionable in time of failing research infrastructure

4 May 2023

Statement on The Future of the National Training Fund (NTF)


€1.9billion NTF surplus unconscionable in time of failing research infrastructure


AMBER calling for Ministers Harris & Donohoe to allocate NTF Surplus to research and research Infrastructure


AMBER, the SFI Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research welcomes the discussions at the Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the ‘The Future of the National Training Fund’ on Wednesday 3rd May. The National Training Fund Act 2000 states the levy on employers is for the purpose of funding the development of and raising of skills amongst those in, or seeking, employment. There is currently a significant surplus in the National Training Fund (NTF) that by 2025, is projected to rise to between €1.4 billion and €1.9 billion.


Prof. Mick Morris, Director of SFI Research Centre AMBER said of the debate, “The economy is currently in a time of full employment and simultaneously experiencing a period of under investment in research and research infrastructure which is vital for raising the skills of postdoctoral researchers and PhDs and ensuring the supply of high-quality researchers needed to meet the demands of Ireland’s high tech industries. AMBER is calling on both Ministers Simon Harris and Paschal Donohoe to make a commitment to allocate a percentage of the surplus fundings to investment in research and research infrastructure in 2023. Such an allocation of the NTF surplus would greatly improve development of employees and in turn the quality of research outputs in the sector, research with a focus on improving planet, people and prosperity.  This allocation would go some way to addressing Ireland’s low level of research spend when compared to our competitors.”


Whilst the current exchequer surplus has not yet been earmarked and debates continue regarding reserving that surplus for a rainy-day fund, in contrast as per the 2000 Act, the National Training Fund has a clearly defined purpose to support development and raising of skills. The 1% employers contribute from their payroll (increased several times via the Budget between 2018 – 2020) which has led to the surplus should be strategically allocated with a focus on upskilling through infrastructure investment.

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AMBER has a strong emphasis on collaboration. Central to AMBER’s research remit are collaborative projects performed with industry partners, and working with academic, industry and wider stakeholder on international and national research programmes.

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